In 2019, Stuart was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to the LGBTI community and sporting organisations and also for his pro bono legal work.
As a student during the 1980s, thinking about how life would be for a gay teenager and man was challenging. There were few role models, and the topic was taboo apart from the ‘grim reaper’ campaign against the AIDS pandemic, scandals in the Truth newspaper and tragic endings to Hollywood films. Homosexuality was still a mental disorder to be diagnosed according to the World Health Organisation until 1990.
While Camberwell Grammar School was relatively enlightened, at that time, there was no reference to homosexuality in class. Rather, there was derogatory comment in the schoolyard, which weighed heavily and made being honest and coming out in the school environment difficult. Stuart turned this into a challenge to be defeated, applying energy and tenacity with openness.
Whilst working as a solicitor in Melbourne for 17 years as a partner of a global firm, Stuart also spent his spare time volunteering and taking board roles in LGBTI organisations. He leveraged his positions to lead and provide pro bono legal advice to community organisations, culminating in his leadership of the Victorian Pride Centre, which will be the biggest purpose-built pride centre in the world – offering support to the Victorian and Australian LGBTI community and beyond into the Asia-Pacific region.
Stuart continued his athletics and wider sporting interests that commenced at school to become a senior lawn bowls administrator with Bowls Victoria and a four-time individual world champion for his age group in race walking.