Murdoch University student, Skye Lockyer is a queer First Nations woman and one of nine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the running to be crowned Miss NAIDOC for 2021.
Miss NAIDOC Perth is an annual 6-week leadership and empowerment program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
The program aims to strengthen their cultural connections, family and extended networks, develop their leadership skills and self-confidence to speak in public to progress their future goals.
The title would be a fitting achievement for this community leader, who is in her second semester of completing her Masters of Community Development – a degree that teaches explores creative solutions to get communities together and involved.
“Through my studies at Murdoch University, I have learned about the importance of leadership and advocacy when working in community,” Skye said.
“To be a leader is to possess the ability to empower and encourage others to achieve a collective set of goals for a better future. Leadership isn’t about being at the front and leading the way, it’s about helping others - it’s about being able to work with others to create positive change in your communities.”
Skye hopes her studies at Murdoch University is only the first step of her mission to develop leadership and mentoring projects for young First Nations people and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being a First Nations woman means being connected to country, culture, and art – it means being part of an amazing and wonderful community and sharing similar stories of resilience to overcome the many obstacles we face in society.”
“Having strong role models is crucial for a continued sense of belonging and community. Having a sense of belonging and identity is an essential step to self-acceptance and self-love, and I am a huge advocate for people to embrace and express their authentic selves.”
As a queer First Nations woman, Skye has committed her life to advocating for equity and fairness and fighting for social justice.
“It is innate, and something learned from my elders; it’s in our bloodline too,” Skye said.
As a storyteller, Skye has always embraced other people’s stories and sees storytelling as the key to empowerment and healing.
“As a queer woman, I spent many years feeling shame about my identity. Through meeting other queer First Nations people and having them share their stories with me, I was able to start feeling proud about my identity,” Skye said.
“Growing up, I didn’t see many queer women of colour because many people in the LGBTQIA+ community were made to suppress or hide their sexuality and gender identity to survive after colonisation and Christianisation.
“I want to break the cycle of shame and show and share positive stories about queer First Nations people in Australia."
“It would mean the world to my younger self to see how much I have overcome to get this far and be seen as a leader,” Skye said.
“Although I have had incredible First Nations women in my life as mentors and role models, it would have been so beneficial to have openly proud LGBTQIA+ mob in my life so that I didn’t spend so much time feeling ashamed of my identity.
“I would love to be that person for all the young LGBTQIA+ First Nations people who are struggling with their identity so they don’t feel alone or ashamed of who they are.”