From Yarrabah to Sydney: On Being Brave and Creating Change


Errol Choikee champions of change Think Local Act Local,
Errol Choikee who is a proud First Nations person from Yarrabah in North Queensland who identifies as a Sistergirl.

QC Champion of Change Errol Choikee travelled from Yarrabah for Saturday’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Rebecca Reynolds reflects on the QC Champions of Change project: Think Local,  Act Local, Repeat.

Rebecca Reynolds is Chief Executive Officer of The Queensland Council for LGBTI Health — QC.

Three years ago, three of us sat in a meeting room in Yarrabah at Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service feasting on homemade damper.  We were there as a commitment to growing the work of 2Spirits here in Queensland. We wanted to ensure that the strong and vibrant community there felt like they had a voice within the 2Spirits – QC communities also.

But we were in no way the most exciting topic of conversation that day. A number of the Sistergirls had just seen the documentary about the Tiwi Island Sistergirls travelling to Mardi Gras.

“One day we will do that,” they told us, and that dream has not left Errol Choikee since.

This year, Errol is making that dream come true.

But it doesn’t stop with Mardi Gras – even though that experience is going to be a highlight! Errol, along with his Koori sister Michelle Tobin, will come back and then through our Champions of Change project, will share his experiences and highlights with other Sistergirls, gay men and same sex attracted women in Yarrabah; and we’ll be sharing and reflecting all of this with our broader communities going forward.

Errol will also work alongside 2Spirits to conduct an Elders Forum with Yarrabah Elders and two health literacy workshops for Sistergirls, gay men and same sex attracted women in Yarrabah. The purpose of this collaboration is to increase community awareness of STIs and HIV, improve visibility and health and wellbeing.

You may have heard us mention Champions of Change here before, dear reader, and it is done deliberately.

Think Local.  Act Local. Repeat.

QC’s Champions of Change project is all about supporting individuals and locally-led groups who are community connected, show leadership in their own unique way, and are happy to collaborate and partner with QC as change-makers in their local communities, working with us to amplify and support their actions and voices.

Think local. Act Local. Repeat.

Errol is one of the many amazing humans we are walking alongside as a champion of change. He’s also a shiny excited example of someone living their best authentic life. We cannot wait to hear and be a part of this cross-pollination of ideas and people as we partner with Errol to celebrate and share his very own take on Mardi Gras.

We know we can’t be everywhere 24/7 which is part of the reason we are so blessed to have people like Errol putting in the effort to travel a new path and bring it back home. This is us amplifying the voice of Errol as the start of a very deliberate and heartfelt program to support those who are willing and able to champion change in their own lives and communities. Importantly, it’s also about sharing the insights and learnings of these experiences with those around them at home.

To keep up to date on Champions of Change visit QC Champions

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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