Benjamin Graetz

LGBTIQ+ advocate, leader and performing artist

2024 NT Australian of the Year Nominee

Benjamin (Ben) Graetz is a trailblazer in the performing arts, First Nations and LGBTIQ+ communities. A multiskilled performer and leader, Ben’s work has amplified often-unheard voices – particularly those of the First Nations LGBTIQ+ community. 

As a queer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child in 1970s Darwin, life wasn’t easy. But Ben found where he belonged when he followed his creative dreams to study in Western Australia and then Sydney, where he first performed in drag as Miss Ellaneous when he was 25.  

Since those early days, Ben has become an icon of Australia’s First Nations and LGBTIQ+ arts scene. He started the First Nations arts festival ‘Garrmalang’ and drag competition ‘Miss First Nation’. He was the first Indigenous creative director of Sydney WorldPride and founded BRG Productions, a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned performance services business. 

Ben’s work has not only raised the profile of Australian First Nations queer performers around the world but has forged pathways for future talent and stories.