Felicity Marlowe

A tireless campaigner for the rights of diverse families and the LGBTIQ community

Change Agent

When Felicity Marlowe and her partner Sarah decided to start a family, they realised they had very few options for creating their family, and would not have equal legal recognition as parents.

Instead of resigning themselves to the status quo, they set about changing it.

In 2004, the ‘Love Makes A Family’ campaign was launched with Felicity as coordinator. She has been working for the rights and wellbeing of rainbow families ever since. Felicity co-founded Rainbow Families Victoria in 2006 and became Executive Director of the organisation in 2017. Her commitment to achieving recognition of diverse families and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities has been a driving force for change, and instrumental in achieving key legal reforms and increased social equality. These reforms include legal equality for same- sex parented families, the right to record two mothers on birth certificates, access to fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples, a legal framework for altruistic surrogacy and equal access to adoption. These outcomes have changed the lives of thousands of LGBTIQ Victorians and their families. Felicity has also improved practices within health services and early childhood education through training and resource development.

During the marriage equality debate, Felicity’s leadership increased the visibility of, and awareness about, rainbow families. She coordinated the successful Rainbow Families campaign to stop the proposed plebiscite in 2016, and was a litigant in the High Court challenges to the subsequent postal survey. Felicity then focused on the wellbeing of rainbow families by creating resources for community-building and self-advocacy throughout the survey period, while also campaigning for ‘Yes’.

By driving reforms that grant legal and social recognition to diverse families, Felicity’s work continues to reduce the discrimination and stigma faced by LGBTIQ people and their children. Greater inclusion of diverse families – and of gender, sex and sexual diversity – has long-term benefits including improved mental health outcomes.