Victoria has appointed Wiradjuri man, Todd Fernando as Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities.

Fernando was appointed to the position by Victorian Minister for Equality Martin Foley on Saturday. He is the second person to step into the ground-breaking role for the state.

The 32-year-old identifies as queer and is a descendant of the Kalarie Peoples of the Wiradjuri nation.

Fernando, believed to be the only openly queer and Aboriginal Commissioner in the nation, has a strong passion for improving the lives of LGBTIQ+ communities.

“I am honoured to work with a government that believes equality is not negotiable,” he said.

“It’s time to build on existing achievements by connecting more closely with LGBTIQ+ people, communities, and organisations, while recognising the many parts that make up who we are.”

Bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, Fernando has a strong background in delivering reform social policy and cultural safety frameworks across both the private and public sector.

He is recognised as an accomplished diversity and inclusion consultant and has worked with both First Nations and LGBTIQ+ communities.

Fernando brings both lived experience and academic knowledge to the role.

He has a unique and deep understanding of the social and cultural experiences of LGBTIQ+ Indigenous Peoples.

In collaboration with others, Fernando co-founded Koorie Pride Victoria in 2018. The organisation advocates for the social inclusion and advancement and the celebration of the state’s LGBTIQ+ Aboriginal community.

“Todd Fernando has a strong track record of standing up for LGBTIQ+ communities, and we are thrilled that he will continue to do so as the next Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ communities,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Equality Harriet Shing.

“Equality is not negotiable in Victoria – while we’re making great progress towards equality for LGBTIQ+ communities, we still have plenty of work to do, and Todd Fernando will be an important part of this,” added Minister Foley.

Fernando has already had a taste of the role, serving as Commissioner during the interim since Ro Allen was appointed as the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity and Human Rights in June.

Allen was the first person to take on the role of Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities in 2015. The position was previously known as the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality.

The Commissioner role will see Fernando muster his knowledge and expertise to support the Victorian Government develop policies, programs and services that support LGBTIQ+ communities across the state.

Fernando’s appointment is another step in the Victorian Government’s commitment to ensure the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer Victorians are heard and valued.

By Rachael Knowles