Hobsons Bay Deputy Mayor Tony Briffa has been enshrined in the nation’s capital with a painted portrait mosaic, providing plenty of colour at a Canberra based not-for-profit organisation supporting intersex people.
Tony Briffa was born intersex and has not kept it secret from public life, serving the community as a Councillor for more than 10 years, and holding the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor in that time.
“When I first went public on national television about being born with a biological intersex variation almost 20 years ago, I had hoped it would help other people with intersex variations and their families,” Briffa said.
“The shame and stigma associated with being intersex is enormous for many people and the best way to combat it is through community awareness. In society, people still confuse intersex with transgender or about being about gender.”
“Additionally, hospitals around Australia are still mistreating children with intersex children the way they did me, so we still have a lot of work to do there.”
As an openly intersex public office-bearer, Tony Briffa is well-known and respected for advocacy efforts in educating the community about intersex people, as well as supporting intersex people both in Australia and around the world.
“I am very honoured that my work is recognised by many groups around the world and hope that my work and advocacy will continue to help people for many years to come,” Cr Briffa said.
Speaking on the painted portrait mosaic of Tony Briffa, which was produced by a group of young people in Canberra, Project Manager Cody Smith said the art project provided a healthy emotional outlet for the young people that were involved.
“Having role models is very important and I thought it was really cool they all recognised who Tony is and what Tony has done, and to select Tony from all the other intersex ambassadors,” Smith said.
“We had a photo of Tony and we basically cut it up and each person took a piece of the photo and then drew their interpretation using their colours and their own skills to create their bit of the portrait – a little slice of Tony!”
“One of the really cool things is that you do see such a difference between colours chosen and the left side has a bit more of an abstracted fuzzy sort of look. It’s really lovely that they were able to bring so much personality.”
“Obviously working from a photo, I still feel like they did capture a very good likeness. It’s really cool walking into the office every day and having that shot on the wall.”