Sally Rugg

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Sally Rugg is a Sydney-based LGBTIQ activist and Executive Director of Rugg was the GetUp creative and campaigns director between 2013 – 2018. Rugg has been a public face of the "Yes" campaign in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey[1] and also campaigns for Safe Schools.[2]

Rugg is a regular media spokesperson and written commentator.

Early life[edit]

During her early years Rugg was involved in volunteering with disadvantaged young people. She then started working at the organisation GetUp, while doing her Masters degree. She joined as GetUp were focusing on refugee rights and mental health. She attended events in the ACT when marriage for LGBT people was made legal for six days, which she says informed her views.[3] Rugg was questioned on her early life in an interview with Benjamin Law.[3]

"When I realised I was gay, I was about 19. It was honestly like this penny-drop moment, where all of a sudden everything made sense. All this information about myself – all these memories and feelings – suddenly crystallised. Retrospectively, it’s like, “Oh my god, of course.”"

Awards and recognition[edit]

Rugg has won numerous awards due to her campaigning.[4]

There is a room named after Rugg in Oxford Street, Sydney named "The Sally Rugg LGBTIQ Pride Room", which has:

"rainbow and trans pride flag wall graphics, YES pillows, rainbow dress up scarves for vouge inspired selfies and Oxford St people watching couch."[5]

In 2018, Rugg was awarded the Fbi Radio SMAC of the Year award[6] and Strayan of the Year by[7], and was a finalist for Hero of the Year at the Australian LGBTI Awards[8]. In 2017, Sally was named among Harper’s Bazaar’s 5 Women of The Year, by Cosmopolitan magazine as one of Australia’s Most Influential LGBTIQ people, ranked first in Mammamia’s Most Powerful LGBTIQ Women list, by Amnesty International’s Top 15 Women Championing Human Rights In Australia. Sally was awarded the Young Achiever Award at the 2016 Honour Awards.

Rugg was a finalist for the Honour Awards Young Achiever Award in 2015, was named among the 23 LGBT Australians to Watch in 2016 by SX Magazine and the Top 40 Under Forty by TimeOut,[9] and won the New South Wales Honour Awards Young Achiever Award in 2016.[10]



Rugg writes regularly on activism and feminism, as well as LGBTIQ and human rights. Rugg's work has been published in media including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, Vice, Pedestrian as well as Junkee. Rugg was a contributing author for books including The Full Catastrophe, (2019) as well as Growing Up Queer in Australia, (2019).[11][12][13]

Her first book, How Powerful We Are: Behind the scenes with one of Australia's leading activists, is a story of dirty politics, sophisticated campaigning, raw personal story and the historic social movement that achieved marriage equality.[14][15]

Radio, speaking events[edit]

Rugg is a regular spokesperson at media events,[16] and is also involved with radio, including Triple J's Hack. Her work has been described by Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Mamamia, and Elle Magazine.[17] She speaks regularly at public events and volunteers as a youth worker at youth LGBTIQ service Twenty10. [18]She was a leader in the marriage equality debate in Australia. She regularly speaks at events including literary events at the Sydney Opera House, as well as at the Nelson Mandela Lecture at the University of Adelaide.[19]


Rugg was a panellist on the ABC's television show Q&A. While discussing someone who plays football and was sacked due to breaching their contract, Rugg looked sideways at her guest in what has since been described in multiple media sources, as 'judging in lesbian'.[20][21][22]

The media reported that she 'patiently endured bigoted men talking on Q&A' and 'we salute her strength'.[22]


  1. ^ Street, Andrew P. (9 November 2017). "When Marriage Equality Becomes Law, It Will Be Because of People Like Sally Rugg". Rolling Stone Australia. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  2. ^ zanottcf. "2019 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b Law, Benjamin; Rugg, Sally (5 August 2019). "Sally Rugg: 'As queer people, we open up the most intimate parts of ourselves to the majority'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Sally Rugg Books". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  5. ^ "The Sally Rugg LGBTIQ Pride Room". Song Hotel Sydney Australia. 13 May 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  6. ^ "'YES' campaigner takes out FBi Radio SMAC top gong". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Here's The Full List Of Winners From Oz's First Ever Pop Culture Awards". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Hero". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  9. ^ "GetUp! MEDIA ROOM". Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  10. ^ "LGBTI Heroes Honoured At Community Service Awards". Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Sally Rugg | Speaking Out Agency | Book Sally to speak at your event". Speaking Out. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  12. ^ Convenor, Gender Institute; "She Leads In-Coversation with Sally Rugg". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Shelf Reflection: Sally Rugg". Kill Your Darlings. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Sally Rugg". Q&A. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  15. ^ Rugg, Sally. How powerful we are : behind the scenes with one of Australia's leading activists. Sydney, NSW. ISBN 9780733642227. OCLC 1103918151.
  16. ^ "Sally Rugg". Kill Your Darlings. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Sally Rugg | Speaking Out Agency | Book Sally to speak at your event". Speaking Out. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Sally Rugg". Q&A. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  19. ^ zanottcf. "2019 UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  20. ^ Admin (25 June 2019). "'Judging in lesbian' – change.Org exec's eye-rolling moment on Q A | NewsMIM". News Details. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  21. ^ "'Judging in lesbian': exec's eye-rolling moment on Q&A". PressFrom - AU. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Sally Rugg Patiently Endured Bigoted Men Speaking On 'Q&A' Last Night, And We Salute Her". Junkee. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.