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5 Questions with Neil Pharaoh

Between running his own consulting firm and growing veggies in Kyneton, Neil Pharaoh takes a minute to look back on his political career and answer our 5 Questions...

Our LGBTI community is made up of a plethora of smaller communities and intersectionalities, how do you identify within these?

I have most certainly been gay my entire life, but I came out and identified with it openly when I was 15 years old.

What motivated you to get involved with Thorne Harbour Health?

I admired the mix of service and activism that sits at the heart of Thorne Harbour Health - service towards the LGBTIQ community through health and wellbeing alongside the core activism that keeps championing equality and rights for the community. Plus, the organisation is controlled by the community for the benefit of the community. 

There is not another organisation like Thorne Harbour Health in Australia that has both activism and support for the community at its core.

Is there any aspect of Thorne Harbour’s work that you’re particularly passionate about?

I love Thorne Harbour Country, and some of our world-leading projects like DALE, our health promotion campaigns, and the Sexually Adventurous Men’s project.

When you’re not serving on the Board of Thorne Harbour Health – what do you get up to? 

I balance my work life between my own consulting firm, where the seven of us work with largely social purpose organisations to help them engage and work with government, and being the Director of Corporate Affairs for a disability service organisation. Plus, I volunteer and am involved in a few community boards and local groups.

Outside work though, I'll be pottering on my little piece of land near Kyneton, usually growing plants, seeds and vegetables, or playing with my two dogs, Milo and Otis. 

You’ve spent quite a bit of time navigating Australia’s political circles - what advice do you have for people from our LGBTIQ communities hoping to do the same?

I was very lucky to have been co-chair of Rainbow Labor nationally over a period of almost 7 years. During that time a huge raft of changes were made to benefit the community. I was also lucky enough to have the chance to run for Prahran at the state level - twice.

My advice to those wanting to get more involved is to do it - but with eyes wide open. We need more LGBTIQ people in Parliament. Victoria has the lowest number and percentage of LGBTIQ MPs of any state or territory in Australia. So reach out to LGBTIQ people that have run for (or are) MPs. There is an informal LGBTIQ network that crosses party lines that can offer advice, support, and insights.


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