A commitment to changing community attitudes has led Nic Steepe to become an advocate for a brighter, more tolerant future in regional Australia.
Graduating from Charles Sturt University (CSU) with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2015, the 21-year-old has been working with Headspace Dubbo to help change community attitudes surrounding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Questioning and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) individuals.
Nic’s work as a Youth Access and Awareness worker has given him the opportunity to push for LGBTIQA+ issues within the community.
“In partnership with Headspace Dubbo, we held some events last year to increase the visibility of the LGBTIQA+ community,” he said.
Nic has been instrumental in establishing support networks in Dubbo for LGBTIQA+ individuals, securing a NSW LGBTIQA+ community service young achiever award nomination last year.
“Living in a regional town, there is a lack of support for LGBTIQA+ individuals,” he said.
“So I, with the support of the community, helped to correct those mistakes.”
Of all the work Nic has achieved in the past year, being able to walk down the main street in Dubbo’s first Pride March was a highlight.
“Just to see everyone behind us and the people in the street support it and cheering it on was an exceptional moment,” he said.
“That was my proudest moment.
“But I am very proud of all the work we do in Headspace and the young people we do reach and we do help.”
Headspace Dubbo is planning to hold another Pride March this year, in October.
In working with the community, Nic has been to many local schools to speak about bullying and a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
Nic also works as the facilitator of a social support group for individuals who identify as LGBTIQA+, which is run through Headspace Dubbo.
“Social change is a slow process, but it is certainly moving forward the more people we educate and the more people we reach,” he explained.
Having only opened last year, Nic was fortunate to find a workplace he loved so quickly.
“I actually started as a Social Work student here at Headspace, so it was great that I could go into full-time work,” he said.
Looking forward, Nic seems content in continuing his success.
“I’m happy at Headspace, so I think I’ll stay here for a few more years,” he said.
“I do want to look into doing my Masters, so that’s on the agenda for myself.”
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Photo: The Daily Liberal, Brook Kellehear-Smith