HIV activist Robbie Lawlor awarded UCD's Foy-Zappone Award

UCD LGBTQ+ have awarded the Foy-Zappone Award to the outstanding activist, Robbie Lawlor, for his work towards ending the stigma around HIV in Ireland.

HIV activist Robbie Lawlor standing in front of a podium, speaking. He has just won the Foy-Zappone Award.

HIV activist and co-founder of Access To Medicines Ireland, Robbie Lawlor, has been awarded this year’s Foy-Zappone Award by UCD LGBTQ+.

Since its launch in 2014, UCD LGBTQ+ has awarded the Foy-Zappone Award to leading activists and community leaders who have contributed towards the advancement of equality across Ireland. This year’s recipient is the phenomenal Robbie Lawlor, one of the driving forces behind numerous campaigns for accessible sexual health services.

On Twitter, Lawlor responded to the announcement with, “I am absolutely gobsmacked that UCD LGBTQ+ society are honouring me with this year’s Foy-Zappone award. I have always been inspired by the past and ongoing work of past recipients and I hope to live up to this award’s legacy. Super proud of Ireland’s HIV grassroots movement.”

During the Awards debut year, the first recipients were Dr Lydia Foy and Senator Katherine Zappone for their incredible work during the marriage equality referendum and advancement of changes to gender recognition legislation. Previous winners have included the first openly gay Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, Irish Times journalist, Una Mullally, former chair of the NXF, Ailbhe Smyth, and founding editor of GCN, Tonie Walsh. 

The award is recognition of Lawlor’s diligent activist work towards ending the stigma around HIV in Ireland. Throughout the years, he has openly shared his story and helped others to speak out. He has previously worked alongside Shaun Dunne to develop the theatre project Rapids, which brought to the stage personal stories about living with a positive status and perceptions around it. 

In 2016, ACT UP Dublin staged a protest outside the Department of Health in order to bring about action in implementing effective HIV prevention treatment. Lawlor said, “All the great LGBT movements have been when we all come together under a common cause, saying we need to face these issues, face these inequalities together. ACT UP want to push the message out to the LGBT community that HIV is rapidly becoming one of the biggest issues in our community, and we need everyone to lend their voices to this cause.”

Honouring years of dedicated advocacy towards creating a more inclusive Ireland, Robbie Lawlor will be receiving the Foy-Zappone Award tonight in UCD’s Student Centre.

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