Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Roundtable members

Members of the Queensland LGBTI roundtable with Clare O’Connor, Director-General, Department of Communities, Disability Services and SeniorsEleven community members with diverse skills and extensive experience volunteering and advocating for LGBTI Queenslanders and their families have been selected to work with Queensland government representatives.

The role of members will include working to advance the interests of LGBTI Queenslanders including:

  • informing government agencies on how we can consider the needs of LGBTI Queenslanders in the development of services, policies and strategies
  • attendance at Roundtable meetings for a 2 year term
  • participating in a working group(s) with departmental officers to progress the work program of the Roundtable as required.

Meet the roundtable community members

Elise Stephenson

Elise Stephenson is a youth social entrepreneur and PhD Candidate from Griffith University. From 2014 Elise worked with the Mentors in Violence Prevention/MATE organisation to help create national intimate partner violence prevention workshops specifically for LGBTI communities. She has represented LGBTI issues nationally and internationally, including for the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network and the Kaleidescope LGBTI Pacific Youth Forum. Her passion for and work with LGBTI communities led to her being awarded the United Nations Australia Association Community Award in 2016, and she is currently helping organise an international LGBTI human rights dialogue in Hong Kong later this year.

Vicki Ogilvie

Vicki Ogilvie has worked and advocated for the Brisbane LGBTIQ Community for almost 20 years and has been instrumental in advocating for changes to the domestic violence legislation to include same sex couples. This includes training Police, Community service providers and LGBTIQ community in supporting those experiencing same sex domestic violence. Vicki sat on the Department of Communities LGBT Roundtable from 2010-2012 supporting numerous Roundtable achievements. In her current professional role Vicki is invested in the ongoing wellbeing of LGBTIQ students in our Queensland schools.

Ben Bjarnesen

Ben Bjarnesen is the Coordinator of the Qld Police LGBTI Support Network. He was a founding member of a non-profit community group "Anything But Straight" in Roma and has worked extensively to enhance the lives of LGBTI people living in rural and remote Queensland. As a recipient of a fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, in 2017 he travelled to the USA, Canada, UK, Scotland and Netherlands to research ways of enhancing the police response to LGBTI domestic violence issues. In 2017 he was named as one of the most 50 influential and inspiring LGBTIQ Australians by Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Dr Lisa van Leent

Dr Lisa van Leent is a senior lecturer in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership within the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests concern teacher support in relation to sex education, particularly in regards to diverse sexualities, and the improvement in support for LGBTIQ+ students in schools. Dr van Leent is also a member of the Queensland LGBTIQ+ Action Group for Students and co-convenor of the Gender, Sexualities and Cultural Studies Special Interest Group for the Australian Association for Research in Education. She is also chair of the Queensland Queering Education Consultative Committee (QQECC).

Rebecca Johnson

Bec is a Gooreng Gooreng woman, connected to the Tarlibelang Bunda people. A member of Tekwabi Giz (meaning all of us connected) a national collaboration of people and organisations from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander communities, who are working with LGBTI people across Australia. She is the co-founder of IndigiLez Women’s Leadership & Support Group, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lesbian, Same Attracted and Bisexual women. Establishing her leadership values through a cultural lens, she was awarded the 2018 Out for Australia Award for her work and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTI communities. Rebecca advocates for the development of meaningful partnerships that recognise cultural responsibilities and values.

Chris Pickard

Chris Pickard has been a proud member of the Brisbane LGBTI+ Community for the past 11 years.  For the past 4 years Chris has been a part of the Open Doors Youth Service Team. Initially volunteering as peer support, Chris has worked with the organisation as a Youth Worker, Team Leader and most recently Acting General Manager. During his tenure, Chris has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of hundreds of young LGBTI+ people and their families. Chris is incredibly passionate about helping young LGBTI+ people within our community see their potential and achieve their goals in life.

Alex David

Alex David brings a wealth of skills and lived experience to the Qld LGBTI Roundtable. Alex is the secretary of Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA), the national organisation by and for people with intersex variations and is also Treasurer of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia (AISSGA), the oldest intersex support organisation in Australia, and is also a member of the National LGBTI Health Alliance. Alex is Co-Author of the Darlington Statement, a Statement produced by leaders of intersex organisations from Australia and New Zealand, with a focus on human rights and healthcare access for the intersex community.

Jay Wells

Jay Wells brings a wealth of lived experience to the LGBTI Roundtable. Jay is a transsexual man having started the process of transitioning at the age of 25 in 2009 when he commenced with the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) upon his discharge from the Royal Australian Navy. Jay was among the first people to transition on the job with the QAS and one of the first and few to do so in the Townsville region. He has undergone many gender affirming surgeries in order to live his authentic life, and currently lives and works in remote areas of Queensland. Jay brings a wealth of lived experience to LGBTI Roundtable.

Dallas Pitt

Dallas Pitt is a psychologist who supports LGBTIQ+ individuals, LGBTIQ+ relationships and LGBTIQ+ families. He currently works for Relationships Australia Queensland (RAQ) and Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital gender clinic and state-wide service. He has the privilege of working with people from 4 years and up. He also runs two trans and gender diverse support groups for children (6-11 years) and their parents/carers as well as an adults group. He has previously co-developed and facilitated a trans and gender diverse support group for young people on the Gold Coast and provides consultation to organisations in working with LGBTIQ+ young people.

Peter Black

Peter Black has been actively involved in the LGBTI community for many years. He has been an advocate on significant law reform including marriage equality, age of consent, expungement of historic gay sex convictions, the abolition of the gay panic defence and reform of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. Peter is currently on the board of Australian Marriage Equality, the Queensland AIDS Council and the LGBTI Legal Service and is the LGBT representative on the Inclusive Brisbane Board. He is a former President of the Brisbane Pride Festival. He was the Queensland Coordinator for the Yes Equality campaign.

Rob Nielsen

Rob Nielsen brings a wealth of skills and experience to the Qld LGBTI Roundtable. Rob Nielsen has worked for many years in rural and regional locations supporting and advancing the interest of LGBTI community members specifically gay men. Rob has been actively involved in advancing the interests of local LGBTIQ in the Toowoomba region through membership of support groups and organisations. He also delivers around Queensland the LGBTI-focused MHFA and LGBTIQ Mental Health workshops which he has developed.