Home » Podcast » Paige Horrigan on creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ people in the top end

Paige Horrigan on creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQIA+ people in the top end

In this week’s episode, Josh chats with Paige Horrigan who was the Winner of the Spirit Super Create Change Award at the 2022 Northern Territory Young Achiever of the Year.

In 2019, Paige was the victim of a hate-motivated assault while at school and no one was held accountable. This sparked their passion to highlight LGBTQIA+ issues and create positive change for queer young people in the Palmerston and surrounding communities. They have worked for organisations like Rainbow Territory to help in the fight against discriminatory legislation and advocated for the creation of safe spaces dedicated to LGBTQIA+ young people.

“People need to step up and speak up”

“I’m proud to be an LGBTQ person, and I’m proud to be an active member in the community. I wish there was things we didn’t have to fight for. I wish it was just basic human rights that we had the same as everyone else. But just because of our gender identity or our sexual identity, it means we have to work harder to be respected or have the same rights as others”

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[00:00:08] Christine

Welcome to inspirational Australians, where we share stories of Australians making

[00:00:13] Christine

a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. We at inspirational Australians acknowledge the Wurundjeri

[00:00:20] Christine

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[00:00:25] Christine

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[00:00:31] Christine

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[00:00:39] Christine

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[00:00:46] Christine

and pay homage to their rich storytelling history when we share stories on our podcast.

[00:00:58] Josh

Today I’m joined by a fantastic guest who I met over

[00:01:02] Josh

a year ago now. In Darwin for the twenty twenty two Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards,

[00:01:08] Josh

where Paige Hagen was announced as the winner of the Spirit Super Create Change

[00:01:13] Josh

Award as it was known back then,  the awards now the Spirit Super Connecting Communities Awards. So quite cool Page

[00:01:20] Josh

is actually the first and last Spirit

[00:01:22] Josh

Super Create Change Award winner for the Northern territory. I had the pleasure of meeting Paige that night and having

[00:01:29] Josh

a really great chat and could just see the energy that Page was bringing. And if I

[00:01:36] Josh

recall quick last Page directly,

[00:01:37] Josh

but pretty sure Page was then straight off that weekend to it to do some amazing

[00:01:42] Josh

things will see if I can test the memory later. But a bit about Page four,

[00:01:47] Josh

I bring it before I bring Page on in twenty nineteen Page was the victim of an LGBT

[00:01:53] Josh

IQ plus motivated assault while at school,

[00:01:56] Josh

yet No one was held accountable. This led Page on a mission to establish

[00:02:01] Josh

a greater awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ people and issues within the palmerston community and surrounds. Paige helps plan,

[00:02:10] Josh

innovative events including the first pride event eponymous in history. They also

[00:02:15] Josh

have managed spaces dedicated to supporting the Youth and LGBTQIA+ people. They

[00:02:20] Josh

worked with organisations like Rainbow Territory and helped fight against

[00:02:24] Josh

discriminatory legislation. Page has taken stage two legal studies and has written

[00:02:28] Josh

external inquiry on the rights of LGBTQ plus people. In the Australian legal system,

[00:02:35] Josh

they aim to create greater awareness and change surrounding gender and sexual diversity. So welcome to the inspirational australian’s podcast,

[00:02:43] Josh

Page Horrigan. How are you going?

[00:02:45] Paige

Hi Josh. Good. Thank you for having me.

[00:02:48] Josh

Yeah,  absolute pleasure. So some of that bio that I’ve just read out was about

[00:02:55] Josh

a year old now. Yes. Stepping back from last year. Young achiever woods.

[00:02:59] Josh

Was there

[00:02:59] Josh

anything started at the top there that stood out as being a bit out of date,

[00:03:02] Josh

or it needs a bit of refreshing?

[00:03:07] Paige

Well,  since then the Rainbow Territory discrimination has made great progress. As of December last year, we have successfully,

[00:03:18] Paige

a changes made to the Northern territory anti-discrimination act. So now it doesn’t

[00:03:23] Paige

allow people to discriminate against LGBTQ plus and plastic to see.

[00:03:29] Josh

Yeah, that’s a pretty big update.

[00:03:31] Paige

Yeah,  it was massive and the changes that were made didn’t just affect LGBTQ people,

[00:03:37] Paige

but it also helped refugees, victims of domestic violence,  indigenous people, women and so many more.

[00:03:48] Josh

That’s awesome. That’s yeah,  quite wide reaching.

[00:03:52] Paige

Absolutely. Yeah,  the day too long. I think it was over the Past twenty six years rainbow territory

[00:04:00] Paige

and other people of the community have been trying to advocate against that bill as

[00:04:05] Paige

it actively related against many people within the community. Despite it being an anti-discrimination act.

[00:04:16] Josh

Mhm. It’s funny. It’s not funny at all,  but it’s interesting how often that happens. Something was introduced for

[00:04:21] Josh

a certain reason and actually didn’t hit the Mark whatsoever.

[00:04:25] Paige

Absolutely. And specifically, one of the ones that ran for one of the sections of it,

[00:04:29] Paige

the rainbow territory’s trying to advocate against section thirty seven,

[00:04:34] Paige

which has been completely abolished. And that before, as it stood,  it allowed religious organisations to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

[00:04:46] Josh

What’s the feeling like when you get

[00:04:48] Josh

a big milestone like that you’ve been able to achieve a really big change?

[00:04:52] Josh

Are you able to have a feeling of joy in celebration,

[00:04:55] Josh

or is it purely relief or something, some other type of emotion?

[00:04:59] Paige

Even at the time, there was also quite a bit of hate towards LGBTQ people,

[00:05:05] Paige

Australia wide with the election and the change of government. And for the change of government,

[00:05:11] Paige

the Morrison government was trying to push through some last minute bills like anti religious discrimination. No, I’m sorry,

[00:05:21] Paige

I might have gotten the title of that one wrong. That bill was incredibly harmful

[00:05:26] Paige

to LGBTQ people and especially young people as well. And it tried to

[00:05:33] Paige

show these young people that they weren’t welcomed or accepted in their own

[00:05:38] Paige

communities. And they shouldn’t feel like that. Yeah.

[00:05:42] Paige

And that kind of, that,

[00:05:44] Paige

that kind of legislation can be incredibly harmful to young people,

[00:05:48] Paige

especially with the statistics of mental health issues and suicide rates in LGBTQ Youth, especially trans Youth being,

[00:05:58] Paige

I think it’s forty two per cent higher than in cisgendered,

[00:06:03] Paige

heterosexual. Those kind of statistics going up and shouldn’t be and that legislation enables those.

[00:06:13] Josh

Yeah, that’s yeah, that’s,  that’s interesting and you know, massive. Congratulations to you, Paige,

[00:06:21] Josh

for being so active in that area. I mean, you’re still such a young person. You know,

[00:06:27] Josh

it’s frustrating that you have to be doing this work at your age.

[00:06:31] Paige

I feel that

[00:06:33] Paige

people need to step up and speak up and it wasn’t just me like I can’t take credit

[00:06:39] Paige

for that fight because that was twenty five years worth of advocacy work. Done by

[00:06:45] Paige

hundreds of LGBTQ plus people in the ninety that have paved the way for so many

[00:06:51] Paige

things before me. And I’ll be forever grateful to those leaders within the community. And elders, I am just

[00:07:00] Paige

a small pebble in the ripples that are being created in the community. It

[00:07:07] Paige

doesn’t necessarily anger me that this is that we’ve had to do this. I’m,

[00:07:12] Paige

I’m proud to be an LGBTQ person,

[00:07:15] Paige

and I’m proud to be active. An active member in the community. I wish there was

[00:07:22] Paige

things we didn’t have to fight for. I wish it was just basic human rights that we

[00:07:28] Paige

we had the same as everyone else. But just because of who our gender identity or our sexual identity,

[00:07:37] Paige

it changes our scene in that way and means we have to work harder to be

[00:07:44] Paige

respected or have the same rights as others. Yeah.

[00:07:50] Josh

Yeah,  for sure. That is. Yeah, I can kind of see what you’re saying,  like even just and you know,

[00:07:54] Josh

not being directly in that community myself. Like for me being outside looking in,

[00:08:00] Josh

sometimes I can kind of get the feeling that it must get tiring,

[00:08:04] Josh

kind of constantly having to stand up for things and ask people just to be polite

[00:08:10] Josh

in how they refer to you and to so it’s just so many things that you said that you

[00:08:15] Josh

have to stand up for and other people like myself, you’re white cisgendered person,  straight person just takes absolute advantage,

[00:08:23] Josh

doesn’t even have to think about it.

[00:08:26] Paige

And like even just in our everyday lives less

[00:08:28] Paige

so on that larger scale. The huge impact small things can make some myself,

[00:08:33] Paige

I’m non-binary so I use they them pronouns and gender diverse. So every

[00:08:39] Paige

day I’m having to either correct people or just be misgendered unless they already know me,

[00:08:45] Paige

they don’t assume that because I am female presenting. They don’t just assume that

[00:08:51] Paige

I am non-binary, and the big difference makes such a huge difference as well. People, even if they’re cisgendered,

[00:09:00] Paige

even if they’re not part of the LGBTQ community. A huge thing that allies can do is starting

[00:09:05] Paige

a conversation or like even on their social media profiles or on the email,

[00:09:10] Paige

signatures is having the pronouns written, starts the conversation in

[00:09:15] Paige

a way so that someone who is gender diverse doesn’t always have to make the first

[00:09:21] Paige

move in every single moment of their lives. So I know

[00:09:25] Paige

a lot of organizations are now putting the pronouns in their signatures and

[00:09:32] Paige

social media is have now made it an option to have that there. And people finding

[00:09:37] Paige

that even in a face to face interactions, which is where it’d be most daunting for

[00:09:43] Paige

a gender diverse person, cisgender person to start in the opposition. Hey,

[00:09:47] Paige

my names age and my pronouns this, you know, it, it makes

[00:09:54] Paige

a huge difference. And also lets someone who is gender diverse in that social

[00:09:58] Paige

situation, your workplace, your friend, group know that they are accepted,

[00:10:04] Paige

they’re safe there. And they don’t need to be the one to instigate that

[00:10:09] Paige

conversation. It can be awkward for them, it can be daunting for them.

[00:10:14] Paige

As well, yet

[00:10:17] Josh

so true and like I always stepped up the interest to be honest like myself

[00:10:20] Josh

because I, I always do it. I go off script and I was like,

[00:10:24] Josh

I have my notes and I’d prepared and it’s just go for the go. Come on, Josh,

[00:10:29] Josh

but anyway, it was all fun and I think,

[00:10:30] Josh

but you’re right that it’s just practice. Doing that as you suggested,

[00:10:34] Josh

is just another way of practicing and not. You know, I think some people get

[00:10:39] Josh

a bit like intimidated almost that they’re going to get it wrong. But I think as

[00:10:44] Josh

long as you just approach it with a genuine nature, absolute integrity,  everyone gets things wrong. Every single day,

[00:10:51] Josh

every single hour we get stuff wrong. So

[00:10:53] Paige

how I’ve misgendered myself before you know?

[00:10:58] Josh

Yeah,  totally

[00:10:59] Paige

like my friends put me up on it. Paid for it. What are you doing?

[00:11:03] Josh

That’s pretty funny.

[00:11:04] Paige

Yeah, it is,  but it happens and.

[00:11:07] Paige

And as long as people are polite and respectful about it and

[00:11:09] Paige

they don’t, it’s like if someone else correct them,

[00:11:12] Paige

you don’t get all your whatever. You actually say, oh, you stop yourself,

[00:11:16] Paige

you correct yourself yet. Sorry they or she or he,  whatever their pronoun is. You correct yourself,

[00:11:23] Paige

it’s kind of just fresh possible to make a huge deal about it or thinks they did this or discussing,

[00:11:33] Paige

you know, just making a mental note, making it aware in

[00:11:37] Paige

a conversation and then continuing on. Not making this huge deal about it is when someone

[00:11:45] Paige

a lot of the times when someone does misgender someone and the person there. And

[00:11:49] Paige

then they go, oh, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. They made

[00:11:51] Paige

a big deal about it.

[00:11:52] Paige

It can make the gender diverse person feel

[00:11:55] Paige

a bit in the wrong as well if that makes sense. Like they’re just like,

[00:11:59] Paige

oh of course this awkwardness because of who I am you know and,

[00:12:04] Paige

and now and then there’s like, hey, yeah, exactly,

[00:12:08] Paige

that position. Exactly. So just not making the biggest deal of it and just going Oh

[00:12:13] Paige

yeah. And then continuing on,  correcting yourself and then moving on. Yeah. Yeah. And as long as you’re not

[00:12:19] Paige

misgendering someone maliciously as well. Like that’s,  that’s incredibly harmful. Yeah. To people. So yeah, like I’m

[00:12:30] Paige

a huge advocate for educating on gender diverse issues like that and especially to groups, peers,

[00:12:38] Paige

organizations that can utilize this knowledge to help well as well.

[00:12:43] Josh

Sorry. Yeah.

[00:12:45] Paige

And it is a constantly changing thing because it is so gender identity and sexuality is so

[00:12:52] Paige

fluid that it can be

[00:12:54] Paige

a bit difficult to keep up with things. And I understand that and trying to come

[00:13:01] Paige

at this kind of topic with an empathy and understanding rather than aggression because as you said, people can feel

[00:13:09] Paige

a bit confused or scared or concerned about getting it wrong. So approaching the topic with people in

[00:13:18] Paige

a safe and understanding and empathetic environment is key. Yeah,

[00:13:29] Josh

This episode is brought to you by Spirit Super,

[00:13:32] Josh

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[00:14:01] Josh

go to Spirit Super ABC.com. Today you consider the PBS and TMD experience Super dot

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[00:14:18] Josh

Past performance isn’t a reliable indicator of future performance. Well,

[00:14:24] Josh

that scene was talking about having conversations and you know how sometimes it’s

[00:14:28] Josh

not always easy. I was saving this question for a bit later on. It’s the,

[00:14:32] Josh

it’s part of Spirit super’s sponsorship of the Australian,

[00:14:35] Josh

strange podcast we’re interviewing the Past and current winners of their awards.  And so they’ve actually, I was really impressed,

[00:14:43] Josh

sent me specific questions for specific guests that I’d planned to bring on.

[00:14:48] Josh

So the

[00:14:48] Josh

question that Spirit took of submitted to you Page very timely of what we’re

[00:14:52] Josh

talking about. As I said, I was saving it later. What is the secret to having a courageous conversation or

[00:15:01] Paige

courageous conversation,  at least the way I interpret that, I see that as being

[00:15:07] Paige

a safe environment is key in my opinion, and that’s why,

[00:15:12] Paige

over the years I’ve advocated for safe spaces, LGBTQ people and allies,

[00:15:18] Paige

as well because having that space where people can openly have

[00:15:23] Paige

a conversation about something they might not know or something that they’re

[00:15:27] Paige

concerned to ask people, you know, because it’s, it’s, sometimes it’s gotten to

[00:15:34] Paige

a point of, you’ve been around this thing so long and not understanding it,

[00:15:37] Paige

but you’re too afraid to ask about it because it’s been so long and people should

[00:15:42] Paige

people or you should just know, but yeah,

[00:15:45] Paige

we can’t just have that assumption that everyone knows this. So when I am kind of

[00:15:51] Paige

doing these, like sort of educational talks with people,

[00:15:54] Paige

I try to also explain to them different definitions of things. While it may sound

[00:16:01] Paige

so simple like the difference between sex and gender. Because the amount of times

[00:16:05] Paige

that get confused is astronomical. I this year I’ve started University at the

[00:16:12] Paige

Australian National University and one of the courses I did last semester was

[00:16:17] Paige

gender and sexual identity. There’s a whole course about that,

[00:16:21] Paige

and I’m like out of the two hundred to three hundred people that were there. When

[00:16:28] Paige

the teacher asked the, sorry, the lecturer asked,

[00:16:31] Paige

how many of you have ever interacted with someone who is diverse and the amount of

[00:16:37] Paige

people that didn’t raise their hands?  Is quite surprising to what you might think. Because you think it’s twenty,

[00:16:44] Paige

twenty three, that people would have interacted with someone. But

[00:16:48] Paige

a lot of these people are coming from sort of rural towns that might not have had

[00:16:53] Paige

these order to this sort of topic before. They also were unaware of the difference

[00:16:58] Paige

between gender and sex yet are,

[00:17:02] Paige

it’s ensuring that these definitions are clear and concise as well so that it’s not

[00:17:08] Paige

an information overload for people. And that they can get an understanding and then

[00:17:13] Paige

be able to replicate this knowledge into their every day so that they can be more

[00:17:20] Paige

empathetic and create these safe spaces around in Massachusetts. Yeah,

[00:17:26] Paige

so I think understanding empathy and purity is key to having a courageous conversation and

[00:17:35] Josh

a good one. That’s great. Thanks for that,

[00:17:36] Josh

Paige. So you mentioned and you so are you still based in the territory?

[00:17:43] Josh

Are you in Canberra now or we’re about to you.

[00:17:46] Paige

I’ve just got back from Canberra,

[00:17:48] Paige

I did come up to Darwin in the semester break. It’s great to be back home.

[00:17:54] Paige

Definitely missing the Darwin. Warm weather for sure. But I’m loving it down here.  Definitely exposing myself to

[00:18:04] Paige

a lot of different culture and people as well as all these different

[00:18:11] Paige

people that I never would have met in Darwin, it’s great to get their experiences,

[00:18:15] Paige

their knowledge and be able to get this,

[00:18:20] Paige

expand my knowledge. So I can bring that back to the ninety and help create more

[00:18:27] Paige

change and progress up there, which would be the long run.

[00:18:32] Josh

Yeah,  for sure. So in the bio,  it mentions that you’ve taken stage to legal studies. So

[00:18:40] Paige

that was,

[00:18:41] Josh

I really know that that’s the way you are. Now. You’re in gear virtually at uni.

[00:18:45] Paige


[00:18:46] Paige

So stage three legal studies is the highest level of law related

[00:18:52] Paige

subject. You can take in high school or college,  whatever. Every state pulls something else through. And for the

[00:19:03] Paige

external inquiry that was the very large essay, it’s a lot of like

[00:19:08] Paige

a mini thesis that we had to write at the End of the course. And we got to choose

[00:19:13] Paige

what we wrote it on. We wrote our question for it and then we answered the question

[00:19:17] Paige

and did our own research and that was into it. I worked alongside some of the

[00:19:22] Paige

people from rainbow territory. They helped me with that. And by helping me conduct

[00:19:28] Paige

some surveys and collating lots of data that we’d had already recording about

[00:19:35] Paige

in regards to the Northern territory anti-discrimination act. At the time of writing this piece,

[00:19:41] Paige

the legislation hadn’t been changed yet. It would still not. So if I was going to

[00:19:46] Paige

go back and reread that currently

[00:19:47] Paige

a lot of the information would be quite outdated is great. And always glad to see

[00:19:53] Paige

change and progress being made there. So yeah,  that’s that one is

[00:20:00] Josh

maybe interesting like time capsule pace. You know,

[00:20:02] Josh

it’s down to track that can in many years to think that that was almost was such

[00:20:07] Josh

a pivotal time where you’d written it and then let you know

[00:20:10] Josh

a year later. It’s completely different situation and I wonder what, you know,

[00:20:14] Josh

hopefully there’ll be so many other positive changes in the years to come.

[00:20:18] Paige

Absolutely. With those positive changes that come,  it is still unfortunately what seems

[00:20:25] Paige

a never ending battle for it. For these changes,

[00:20:29] Paige

because one of the big things that happened after same sex marriage got legalized

[00:20:35] Paige

in Australia was it got legalized and people like who fight over. They’ve got

[00:20:40] Paige

a right to marry.

[00:20:42] Paige

It doesn’t matter anymore,

[00:20:42] Paige

but the fight doesn’t stop there and there’s so much more to it than just being

[00:20:48] Paige

able to marry. And the government tried to play it off that way of like, oh,

[00:20:53] Paige

you can marry. Now we don’t need to worry about all these other pressing issues

[00:20:57] Paige

that are occurring in the community. And that’s

[00:20:59] Josh

  1. End of it. We’re done.

[00:21:01] Paige

Yeah.  But now the voices are getting louder and they can’t silence them.

[00:21:07] Josh

Well,  sadly I’m trying to on my back,

[00:21:10] Josh

I can’t remember what year that that vote was. Do you recall what time

[00:21:13] Paige


[00:21:13] Josh

believe how old you would have been at the time.

[00:21:17] Paige

Oh geez, how old was I?  Did it have been. And of an eleven or twelve,

[00:21:22] Josh

I think at that time did it mean anything to you like or you know,  had you edgy kind of

[00:21:29] Paige

at that time I was sort of figuring out my identity a bit. Yeah. Well, it seems like so long

[00:21:38] Josh

ago. I know that’s hard,  isn’t it? Yeah.

[00:21:42] Paige

So it wasn’t the biggest thing on my mind,

[00:21:45] Paige

but I also wouldn’t have been able to convert. I couldn’t say yes or no. So yeah.

[00:21:51] Paige

And that was another thing I found that sort of, it’s sort of big Postal votes,

[00:21:55] Paige

and these decisions being made about LGBTQ plus lives is young people aren’t

[00:22:02] Paige

considered into the equation all that often. Yes. Eighteen to twenty five year old.

[00:22:08] Paige

But anyone below that is, is counted and not,

[00:22:12] Paige

not acknowledged in these changes and that is a voice that needs to be heard,

[00:22:18] Paige

but can’t be because they legally can’t vote they. And with politicians that are

[00:22:23] Paige

trying to make these changes and are advocating for or against the changes they

[00:22:29] Paige

don’t hear those voices because they mainly care about the voices that can vote for

[00:22:35] Paige

them next election. And that is a terrible mindset to have. And I know those that’s, that’s not the,

[00:22:41] Paige

that’s not the rule. And that’s not how everyone is, but it’s how a majority is. There are a few,

[00:22:48] Paige

especially at home in the anti that actually really do care about the Youth voice

[00:22:54] Paige

and are trying to make changes for young people. And I’ve worked alongside quite

[00:23:00] Paige

a few of those people and especially in regards to the apartments and Council,

[00:23:05] Paige

many of them help towards the safe spaces in palmerston,

[00:23:10] Paige

that are now there. And with what, before I started this journey of advocacy work,

[00:23:17] Paige

there was no, I would set LGBTQ plus safe space in palmerston and now there’s

[00:23:23] Paige

a Headspace with a permanent area there called PRISM. And that’s a group that meets every week,

[00:23:29] Paige

supporting LGBTQ young people.  And there’s also the concentrix centre and the library, those births and

[00:23:38] Paige

a constant supporters of things like comets and pride and pride picnic and pride

[00:23:43] Paige

Youth day as well. Because pride events regarding young people are often ignored or

[00:23:51] Paige

forgotten about with these big organisational committees. And it’s great to see

[00:23:56] Paige

that city of Homs and continuing that work to create this safe space in the

[00:24:03] Paige

community for our young people four years on after the first palmerston pride event

[00:24:08] Paige

or pride picnic in twenty. Nineteen.

[00:24:11] Paige

Sorry twenty twenty,

[00:24:12] Paige

sorry I know my use for three years on the pride picnic in twenty,  twenty, twenty, sorry,

[00:24:21] Josh

stopping. I mean we also blended together at that point.

[00:24:25] Paige

They have around the core of a time was Yeah,

[00:24:28] Paige

it was crazy. But now with city of palms and continuing to support these pride

[00:24:34] Paige

Youth events from twenty twenty. That was the first pride event bumps in history,

[00:24:40] Paige

hope and organized by myself and the other people that constantly supported me in

[00:24:45] Paige

organizing that from Amanda Stevenson, from city of palmerston,  Irish scenes from Headspace and

[00:24:54] Paige

a bunch of other Incredible allies and LGBTQ plus people in the community

[00:25:01] Paige

to help make that happen. And then going back to

[00:25:05] Paige

a couple weeks ago I was back home in Darwin and pride Youth day happened as part

[00:25:10] Paige

of the palmerston Youth festival. And even after I’d moved away,

[00:25:15] Paige

I had forgotten organising that other than when I Grew up,  I would just empty and speak at the event.

[00:25:22] Paige

And it was amazing to see how much it has grown and how it has continued to evolve. And yeah,

[00:25:32] Josh

now that’s fantastic. There’s some good crossover there between what you’re talking

[00:25:36] Josh

about with Council, with engaging with young people and,  and what you were saying about, you know,

[00:25:41] Josh

below that eighteen twenty five year limit. Eight year old with another chat I’ve had recently with in South Australia,

[00:25:48] Josh

the city of Marion has the Youth collective committee was

[00:25:50] Josh

a win NSF Australian awards. And their winning submission was really focused on what you’re talking about,

[00:25:57] Josh

engaging with young people at that age. So it’s good to see there are some examples happening of that.

[00:26:03] Paige


[00:26:04] Paige

Because the Youth voice is so crucial and important

[00:26:07] Paige

to listen to with them being literally being our future. And I couldn’t be more

[00:26:13] Paige

proud to be a young person, even though in the End,

[00:26:16] Paige

especially they don’t have the best reputation. But that is something that needs to

[00:26:20] Paige

train. Instead of just grouping all the young people into this category of trouble makers that young people, that, that,

[00:26:27] Paige

that all this stuff. Young people are an amazing the,  the things that they hear the,

[00:26:34] Paige

the ideas that they have and the passion that they have to make change and to drive

[00:26:39] Paige

forward. Things that will help other young people and help community as

[00:26:44] Paige

a whole is amazing that needs to be heard. Especially by people that can,

[00:26:50] Paige

that are higher up and can make those changes happen with the support and the

[00:26:56] Paige

knowledge that the young people bring to.

[00:26:59] Josh

Sure,  it’s why I’m so passionate about the young achiever words as well,

[00:27:03] Josh

because it gets to highlight a lot of these things and you know,

[00:27:06] Josh

a common saying people are young people are the future leaders. Or you know,

[00:27:12] Josh

future’s in good hands, but I actually,  I completely rally against that because young people are leading right now and

[00:27:17] Josh

you’re an amazing example of that, Paige.

[00:27:19] Paige

Thank you. Yeah,  I couldn’t agree more. Young people aren’t just the future leaders. They are now

[00:27:26] Paige

young people like because in the future they’re not going to be young people anymore. You know,  they are.

[00:27:32] Josh

That’s kind of how it works.

[00:27:33] Paige

Exactly. Aging wow. Grew to something that

[00:27:38] Paige

know they are leading now and they’re making changes now and the ideas and the

[00:27:43] Paige

voices that I have heard need to be heard

[00:27:49] Josh

Going back one step. You mentioned I.R.S.

[00:27:51] Josh

as a quick shout out to Ira Osborne, what’s actually in the young achiever awards?

[00:27:56] Josh

Back in twenty sixteen. I think I just quickly checked it out while we were chatting. That’s cool. Yeah.

[00:28:03] Josh


[00:28:04] Josh

Awesome to hear that too.

[00:28:06] Paige

Yeah. He’s Incredible and the work he does in the community. He works quite

[00:28:11] Paige

a lot with the prison groups and in communities in schools in everywhere to

[00:28:17] Paige

advocate better mental health and for young people for mental health as well. He’s,  he’s amazing.

[00:28:24] Josh

So speaking of the awards,

[00:28:26] Josh

quickly travel back in time to the awards night last year in April at Minto beach casino,

[00:28:34] Josh

you potentially won best dressed Page. Incredible. Thank you. Green velvet suit

[00:28:41] Josh

looked outstanding. What was your memories around that event?

[00:28:45] Josh

And I have this inkling that if you were jetting off somewhere straight after,

[00:28:50] Josh

or I don’t know if you remember that one. But I’d love to get your thoughts on that

[00:28:53] Josh

and how that

[00:28:55] Paige

event saw earlier that day. We had the first

[00:29:00] Paige

anti Youth conference run by no one left behind which is spearheaded and

[00:29:07] Paige

earned by the amazing twenty twenty two local hero with the MP

[00:29:13] Paige

Rebecca forest. Who and it happened again this year.

[00:29:18] Paige

She wants to have Youth voices

[00:29:20] Paige

heard. She wants to show the anti and all the Youth committee that she worked with,

[00:29:25] Paige

how virtual and important young people and their voices are and how amazing young

[00:29:30] Paige

people up. And she’s started this event with the support of the Youth committee,

[00:29:37] Paige

which I was on last year. And we held that event that day and it had,  I think over

[00:29:45] Paige

a thousand young people attend from schools across the nt. And it

[00:29:52] Paige

had speakers from orange sky from taboo, which is a Youth led

[00:30:00] Paige

a period poverty prevention group. And they are aiming to raise awareness and prevent period poverty. And orange sky is

[00:30:14] Paige

the, the washing machine vans that go around to help homeless people. And many,

[00:30:20] Paige

many other amazing speakers like SES or Fiona owl, Northern territory twenty,  twenty two young Australian of the year. Yeah,

[00:30:29] Paige

and that that conference was an Incredible day full of so many

[00:30:36] Paige

young voices being heard and passing on ideas and information and education

[00:30:43] Paige

to all these other young people and inspiring them to go out and make their own

[00:30:47] Paige

change. And then later that night, all of us went to the all of us, quite

[00:30:52] Paige

a few of us who were at the conference and on the committee all went to the young achiever awards.

[00:30:58] Josh

Yeah, that’s what it was on

[00:30:59] Josh


[00:30:59] Paige

few of them was nominated.

[00:31:00] Josh

It was beforehand and I remember I remember that you were saying it was a massive,

[00:31:05] Josh

massive day or weekend. Yes. That is what

[00:31:09] Paige

it was. And it was so great and

[00:31:11] Paige

on the night because I outside of my advocacy work, I work as

[00:31:16] Paige

a sound and lighting technician. And my boss was also nominated for an award Jeremy,

[00:31:21] Paige

silent day for this business award official fish. And he won his award as well,

[00:31:28] Paige

which was great to see. Yeah. And it was just an Incredible night with. And it was

[00:31:33] Paige

really great to see all the other young people as well alleged for their hard work

[00:31:38] Paige

and everything they’re doing in the community.

[00:31:41] Josh

Yeah, fish,  we love fish because he’s a real, you know, go getter like such

[00:31:46] Josh

a driven dude. And he come up to us afterwards and he’s like, I would love to,

[00:31:52] Josh

you know, to work with you moving forward.

[00:31:55] Josh

And so he did this, you

[00:31:58] Paige

know,  three productions did the production for young people awards this year,  which

[00:32:01] Josh

is that’s right. The opportunity popped up. It was last minute because we had a previous arrangement,

[00:32:07] Josh

but it just wasn’t really working. And we kind of had to make a call,

[00:32:10] Josh

and so we called him up and he’s like, yeah,

[00:32:12] Josh

I can do it. No worries. And yeah,

[00:32:15] Josh

it was stunning. So anyone holding an event in it and definitely go to E3

[00:32:19] Josh

productions, but absolutely. But yeah, so that’s,

[00:32:24] Josh

that’s awesome to hear. And so Paige and we’ve talked a lot about your work,

[00:32:29] Josh

your advocacy and a lot of this stuff. You know,  I guess one thing we kind of did skip over

[00:32:34] Josh

a little bit is how it all started. You know,

[00:32:37] Josh

I did mention at the top where you faced, you know,

[00:32:40] Josh

a pretty horrible incident. Are you comfortable to talk about that?  And I guess lay

[00:32:44] Josh

a bit of foundation as to why and how you’re just so driven.

[00:32:52] Paige

And so in twenty nineteen myself and

[00:32:55] Paige

a few of my friends were victims of homophobic attacks at school. And Despite it

[00:33:01] Paige

being reported and no one was held accountable,

[00:33:05] Paige

we knew who did it. We gave them names, there was lots of evidence of it too,

[00:33:08] Paige

but they were protected by another Youth organization that I have a lot of respect for. I won’t name,

[00:33:14] Paige

but they said that it went against their cultural beliefs.

[00:33:18] Paige

And that’s why they did which I disagree with personally,

[00:33:25] Paige

because just because your beliefs disagree with my lifestyle doesn’t mean you have

[00:33:31] Paige

the right to physically assault me or anyone else. Yeah. And at the time,

[00:33:38] Paige

my friends they, they weren’t doing too well after it. I I personally don’t take

[00:33:45] Paige

a lot of time for myself or my mental health too often I’ve made changes for now

[00:33:49] Paige

and I do acknowledge my own mental health and look after myself

[00:33:52] Paige

a bit more. By that time I just wanted to

[00:33:55] Paige

help. And I wanted that to not happen to

[00:33:58] Paige

anyone else ever again because it was an awful experience. And also as a society,

[00:34:04] Paige

a very long way away from having zero hate crimes and other hate crimes.

[00:34:11] Paige

Real progress is being made and I wanted to work towards that progress.

[00:34:19] Paige

It was an awful experience or I I started to work in the spaces,

[00:34:27] Paige

Youth spaces where I could make change. And I first I found out about PRISM

[00:34:34] Paige

and I tried to get my friends involved in that so that could help them

[00:34:37] Paige

a bit. And that worked. But at the time prison was only in city of Darwin and

[00:34:43] Paige

casuarina area. And that’s a bit far from palmerston,

[00:34:46] Paige

that we were and the transporting was just built for it. So

[00:34:53] Paige

I wanted something in palmerston and a safe space that they could go to and and

[00:34:59] Paige

a twenty nineteen start of twenty twenty.

[00:35:01] Paige

I applied for a spot on the Northern territory Youth Roundtable,

[00:35:05] Paige

which if people don’t know what that is, that is a Youth advisory board,

[00:35:12] Paige

the Northern territory government that works closely alongside the Department

[00:35:19] Paige

of Youth affairs in trying to bring attention to issues that young

[00:35:26] Paige

people are facing and that is affecting the Youth community. Are these young people

[00:35:33] Paige

from Darwin, palmerston, Nolan, Boyd, Alice Springs,

[00:35:37] Paige

Katherine everywhere in the empty and remote communities as well as people on that

[00:35:43] Paige

community on that board. It’s. It’s a great thing. It’s

[00:35:47] Paige

a year long position. There’s like four quarterly meetings and the last meeting leads up to

[00:35:53] Paige

a big presentation to stakeholders within the community and the chief

[00:36:00] Paige

minister and some other politicians of I’ll say projects or

[00:36:07] Paige

ideas that these young people have and work for. And so for me that was building an

[00:36:12] Paige

LGBTQ place in palmerston and As before, in between the third meeting and the fourth meeting, the final one,

[00:36:22] Paige

I held the first pride event in history as a consultation event. It was initially just going to be

[00:36:28] Paige

a small thing in the rec center, inviting people to come down, have a chat,

[00:36:33] Paige

fill out some surveys, and be in a space that they,

[00:36:39] Paige

they felt safe in to have these open discussions that ended up blowing up and being

[00:36:44] Paige

a lot bigger than what we anticipated,

[00:36:46] Paige

and we ended up having one hundred and thirty four people through the door on the

[00:36:50] Paige

day. So we had to expand it a lot more before because we had our interviews and stuff we had,

[00:36:56] Paige

we got drag territory on board. They came in, they did some performances,

[00:37:01] Paige

they spoke and talked with the young people as well,

[00:37:04] Paige

which was great to see interactive with them. We had the consultation station where

[00:37:10] Paige

I’ve had two people to fill out

[00:37:11] Paige

a survey about what they wanted to see in the community. How that, how,

[00:37:16] Paige

what services could we provide that could support them all, and out of one hundred,

[00:37:22] Paige

out of all the people that serve one hundred percent of them said they wanted an LGBTQ plus safe.

[00:37:29] Josh

That’s pretty resounding of

[00:37:30] Paige

them said that they wanted that.

[00:37:33] Paige

And that was one of the things that stuck out to me and so I clearly there is

[00:37:39] Paige

a want and a need for this in the community. So let’s make it happen. And two years later,

[00:37:46] Paige

the Headspace in palmerston got opened,

[00:37:49] Paige

which acts as that safe space as well as the Compton rec center and the pumps. And

[00:37:54] Paige

the library, as I said before, being a sort of unofficial safe space,

[00:37:59] Paige

but it is safe for LGBTQ people.

[00:38:02] Paige

And that continuing support of the community is wonderful. Also

[00:38:09] Josh

It’s great to see. Yeah. Especially when you put lots of effort and work into something and,

[00:38:14] Josh

and you get that feedback from the community and might add how good of events for

[00:38:18] Josh

that. Because you can get surveys, you can send them out digitally, of course,

[00:38:21] Josh

but getting someone physically there in front of you and being inspired by what’s

[00:38:25] Josh

happening around them. You’re going to get such better input into a survey. So yeah,

[00:38:30] Josh

well done. That’s awesome. And so that was the first one and now it’s an annual

[00:38:34] Josh

event by the sounds of it.

[00:38:35] Paige

Yep. It was called the pride picnic,

[00:38:37] Paige

but it has been amended to the pride Youth day to more focus on the young people in

[00:38:43] Paige

the community. But it is still an event open to people of all ages. Yep.

[00:38:49] Josh

That’s yeah, that’s very cool. So,  sounds like you’re coming back to the territory pretty regularly. Have you got any,

[00:38:58] Josh

any plans for your next trips and, you know,

[00:39:01] Josh

it always seems like you are heading back in and factoring in different events. You

[00:39:06] Josh

can be part of by that.

[00:39:08] Paige

So I definitely will always be home to me

[00:39:12] Paige

and I’m very proud to be from Northern territory. And I’m enjoying being able to

[00:39:19] Paige

get this new life experience and then take back and help make further changes and

[00:39:25] Paige

evolve and spread more awareness and education. And also while I’m down here,

[00:39:30] Paige

it’s putting me in an opportunity to know about the Northern territory,

[00:39:35] Paige

and it has so much more to offer than just crocodiles and hot weather. You know,

[00:39:41] Paige

because that’s the general consensus. I get from

[00:39:43] Paige

a lot of people down here of it just have this assumption about the Northern

[00:39:48] Paige

territory, but they’re so incorrect. Oh, well Yes,

[00:39:52] Paige

we’ve that so much more to the place. Also spreading awareness of things that we

[00:39:58] Paige

don’t have there. So the lack of services and well not, not lack of services,

[00:40:04] Paige

the lack of support that the services receive. Yeah. Because of how remote we are

[00:40:10] Paige

and how we don’t have the staff or source resources to sustain the amount of people

[00:40:17] Paige

that need to access these services. And how one person

[00:40:24] Paige

can only do so much in one of those service roles. Yeah. And what needs to be changed?

[00:40:31] Paige

What other states and states with more people and resources and people who might

[00:40:38] Paige

be looking to move off University and stuff like that. What they can do to help

[00:40:43] Paige

maybe move there or provide in the Northern territory. Sure.

[00:40:48] Josh

Yeah,  I always love when I get to visit up in Darwin and I do want to visit some other

[00:40:54] Josh

spots as well in the territory, but it is just kind of logistically,

[00:40:58] Josh

it is usually Darwin and people.

[00:40:59] Josh

I often ask if I say, what’s my favorite spot to,  you know,

[00:41:02] Josh

to go visit for work for the awards or things like that. It’s hard to quantify

[00:41:06] Josh

sometimes because there is just like this really amazing vibe and atmosphere and

[00:41:12] Josh

probably just due to the people to be honest because everyone’s so friendly and I

[00:41:18] Josh

just find everyone so interesting that you get to,  to me in the territory.

[00:41:21] Paige

Absolutely. Yep. The territorians is something else. The

[00:41:25] Paige

people in the Northern territory are so welcoming and friendly and they always

[00:41:32] Paige

open to having people understand and like really get an

[00:41:38] Paige

idea of what the territory is. And it’s always great to see when people from other

[00:41:45] Paige

states come up and it is like, oh wow,  get into you so much more than I thought.

[00:41:52] Josh

Yeah,  I agree. I feel like just everyone has to go visit. Absolutely,

[00:41:58] Josh

absolutely. You have to do it. So, Paige, you know,

[00:42:02] Josh

I’ve been finding you very inspirational today and still, you know,

[00:42:08] Josh

forgetting sometimes that your invested University life. I completely forget that at the start,

[00:42:13] Josh

just the way that you carry yourself.

[00:42:15] Josh

You explained things very eloquently and your

[00:42:18] Josh

passion is outstanding. So I’m inspired by you, but I want to find out for me,  Paige,

[00:42:23] Josh

what is it that inspires you and you can interpret that any way you like.

[00:42:29] Paige

Thank you.  What I think inspires me most is seeing the effect

[00:42:36] Paige

a positive experience can have on a person and specifically

[00:42:40] Paige

a young person and and something that vividly sticks out to me is the first pride

[00:42:47] Paige

picnic that we run. A little girl of maybe about eleven or twelve came up to

[00:42:54] Paige

  1. And this was after I had done a speech on

[00:42:58] Paige

a panel and said thank you for having this. I didn’t know about it until we were

[00:43:05] Paige

walking Past and I dragged my mom in here saying we have to go,

[00:43:08] Paige

it’s my people. And then she gave me

[00:43:12] Paige

a big hug and just thanked me for the event and really resonates with

[00:43:19] Paige

  1. Resonated with me at the time and still does just to see the effect that being

[00:43:24] Paige

seen and being heard and your community being seen and being heard as on

[00:43:31] Paige

someone is astronomical. And I can’t I can’t recommend

[00:43:38] Paige

it enough to be able to have voices heard and visibility of a community.

[00:43:45] Josh

Yeah,  for sure. Great message Paige and I can only imagine that feeling that you can

[00:43:52] Josh

carry with you to know that someone and you know,

[00:43:55] Josh

they feel that they’re going to have that just that event at that age as well as

[00:43:59] Josh

that pivotal also you know, you know that maybe like your memory unlocked,

[00:44:04] Josh

like literally will be that for that person. I’m sure so, yeah,

[00:44:08] Josh

thank you for your time. If people wanting to stay in touch with you and you know,

[00:44:12] Josh

connect or follow your journey,  is there any way that you’d recommend that they could do that?

[00:44:17] Paige

You can find me on my social media is on the Page horrigan. And yeah,

[00:44:22] Paige

from there I tend to post things. I know a lot of people use LinkedIn,

[00:44:28] Paige

I can’t say I’m one of them,  but I am on that if you want to find me. Yeah.

[00:44:33] Josh

Awesome, thank you Page. Well, yeah,

[00:44:35] Josh

thank you so much for your time. Today really appreciate taking the time to come on inspirational stories podcast. Yeah,

[00:44:40] Josh

I’m looking forward to following your journey from a personal standpoint. And we’ll see see what’s next, especially in

[00:44:48] Josh

a couple of years when you finished University. Thanks,  Paige.

[00:44:51] Paige

Thank you so much.

[00:44:57] Christine

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