LGBTI advocate wins COTA Senior Achiever Award

Transgender Victoria volunteer Brenda Appleton, 67, was one of the COTA Senior Achiever Award recipients at the 2018 Victorian Seniors of the Year awards hosted by the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC at Government House (pictured together).

Brenda was nominated by the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) for her advocacy, education and research participation on care services for older members of the LGBTI community, particularly transgender people.

COTA Victoria has been one of the fortunate partners of Brenda’s insight through the Safeguarding the End of the Rainbow, a guide done in conjunction with Transgender Victoria to help LGBTI people plan an end of life of their choice taking into account their life experiences. Seniors Rights Victoria has also benefited from insights into Brenda’s work and lived experiences, through her participation in regular meetings of the Elder Abuse Roundtable, a collegiate group of collaborating professionals working in that field.

“I volunteer because my life has been difficult. It’s difficult when you don’t meet society’s expectations of gender, when you’re different and, I’m trying to make it easier for those coming behind. We need society to be much more accepting of difference,” Brenda said in an interview about the award.

“I know many have struggled with mental health issues, not because they are mentally ill, but because of the stigma and discrimination they face in our very judgemental world….I have a vision that society accepts difference, whatever that might mean”.

Brenda said she enjoyed being an advocate and contributing to her community by volunteering.

For more information about the 2018 Victorian Senior of the Year awards and a list of winners visit seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/awards