Partner Michael Kirby

Johan van Vloten (born April 23, 1939), who migrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 1963, has lived with Michael Kirby since 1969.

While it was well-known in legal and social circles that Kirby lived with a male companion for three decades (even taking him to High Court functions), it wasn't until after the death of Kirby's mother in the winter of 1998 that he listed van Vloten as his "partner" in his listing in the 1999 edition of "Who's Who in Australia". This "self-outing" occurred in such a discreet manner that the mainstream media did not even pick up on the story until mid-April 1999, thereby adding greatly to Kirby's profile as one of the few prominent people outside of the arts to come out as gay.

Van Vloten helped people living with HIV and Kirby became involved in the issue both within Australia and internationally.[42]

Little is known of Kirby's private life except that he lives with van Vloten, a retired newsagent who enjoys book-reading, in Rose Bay in Sydney's Eastern suburbs.


  1. https://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Kirby,_Michael