Who is Tony Briffa?
I am a third generation local resident who is extremely passionate about our community, environment, history and future. I care about the types of services and infrastructure we have in the local area and I am always prepared to strongly advocate for our community. Here are some details about me:
- Local resident (I was born and raised in Altona, still live locally and raised my foster children in the area);
- Current fourth term Councillor (elected 2008, 2012, 2016 & 2020), former Mayor and former Deputy Mayor;
- Former Chair of various council committees including the Multicultural Committee, Disability Advisory Committee, Multifaith Committee, Urban Development Advisory Group, Police Community Consultative Committee and LGBTIQ Advisory Committee;
- Public Speaker
- LGBT and Intersex Consultant & Educator
- Co-executive Director, Intersex Human Rights Australia
- President, Intersex Peer Support Australia
- Intersex Chair, ILGA World (International LGBTI Association)
- Board Secretary, ILGA World (International LGBTI Association)
- Co-Chair, Victorian Intersex Expert Advisory Committee
- Associate Member, Victorian LGBTIQ Taskforce
- Victorian Pride Centre Ambassador
- Awarded Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders 2017
- Awarded McArthur Local Government Fellowship 2009 (Human Rights)
- Justice of the Peace (2005 – present);
- Bail Justice (2007-2019);
- Foster carer (1996-2010);
- Honorary Fellow, Victoria University;
- Current Working with Children Check;
- Former member of the Department of Defence and Australian Federal Police;
- Former Convenor, Hobsons Bay Residents Association;
- Former member of the Altona Lions and Hobsons Bay Art Society;
- Honorary Life Member, Hobsons Bay Maltese Association;
- Former President of various support groups for people with genetic variations;
- NOT a member or supported by a political party; and
- NOT being supported by developers or real estate agents.
I have never accepted donations from developers or business for my election campaigns. I am a proud local independent Councillor whose focus is on representing the local community and not a political party or big business. All of my election material is self funded, and I constantly maintain a website and social media connection to residents – it’s not just at election time!
I am a passionate advocate for the communities I serve and have been a part of all my life. I have been able to achieve much in my years on the council by working with local residents, community groups, local businesses and other councillors, and it has been an honour serving our community as Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillor.
I have always believed independent councillors who represent the community first and foremost best serve the local community, rather than councillors supported by political parties. As a REAL independent councillor, I have always acted in the best interests of our local community. That is why the candidates who are developers or who are supported by political parties list me last or close to last on their how to vote cards – they don’t want me on council because I oppose their inappropriate developments and speak out in support of the community.
We have lots to be proud of in Melbourne’s west, including in Altona, Altona Meadows, Altona North, Brooklyn and Seaholme. We have a great natural environment, a diverse community, lots of active community groups and businesses, and a proud history. I am a fierce activist when it comes to protecting the health of our residents and environment and we need to do better!
Thank you for your ongoing support during my terms on our council as your representative. I have always been very aware that my number 1 role is to be your representative and the community’s voice in the council.
More about Tony Briffa…
When Tony was born at the Altona Hospital, doctors thought she was a girl, but weren’t completely sure because she had some lumps in her groin. After many medical tests to determine her complete biological sex characteristics (chromosomal, gonadal and hormonal) doctors confirmed that Tony would be raised as a girl. She was named “Antoinette” and went to an all girls school with her sister in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Despite a childhood involving much medical intervention and lies and old fashioned attitudes about what it means to be a girl, Antoinette succeeded in her professional and personal life. However, after a life changing experience she decided to go public about her true self and that she was born with biological sex characteristics that are mainly female, but with some internal male traits too; that is, she was born with an intersex variation. The impact of this decision had major consequences on her life, but still led to her being elected as the first openly intersex public official in the world.
Tony has been a public intersex human rights advocate for 25 years and has been on the board of Intersex Peer Support Australia (formerly the AIS Support Group Australia) for 20 years (including approximately 8 years as President). Tony is also one of two Co-executive Directors of Intersex Human Rights Australia and the Intersex Chair of ILGA World.
Tony’s story has featured on numerous television programs, radio programs and articles including twice on 60 Minutes (2000 and 2005). Tony has spoken at numerous conferences focusing on diversity, resilience, disability, human rights, LGBTI issues, intersex rights, trans / transgender issues, sex & gender, LBTI women, multicultural issues and local government leadership and services. Tony has also provided training and consultancy services to many government departments and other organisations, and has received numerous awards such as the “Top 50 LGBTI Leaders Award” in 2017.
Tony is married to Manja (having married in New Zealand in 2013 prior to Australia permitting marriage equality), a proud parent of an adult son, Maltese, and an aviation specialist (Engineer, auditor, consultant and instructor) in their professional life.
The National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE) created a wonderful animation about Tony’s life as an intersex person as part of their “Your Story” campaign. To see the animation, click here: – Tony Briffa’s experiences as an intersex person
To read an article by Tony about her experiences as the world’s first openly intersex mayor, click here.