Phoebe Hooper has won a prestigious award for his dedication to creating awareness for the LGBTQIA community in Katherine.
From a strong field of nominees, Mr Hooper won the Somerville Community Service Award in the 2018 Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards.
The winners were announced earlier this month at Skycity Darwin.
“I was sitting at the table with my mum and Sandra Nelson, and they both started screaming when my name was called out so I didn’t even know what was happening,” he said.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win the award. I hadn’t even written a speech.”
Attending the awards the previous year as a member of the Youth Round Table, Mr Hooper has achieved a considerable amount since.
“Being on the Youth Round Table was a big catalyst for the big year I’ve had.
“When I got back from studying in Canada for five months, I could really see the changes I wanted to make here in Katherine.
“Being on the round table made it seem possible,” he said.
Mr Hooper developed ‘connectiveness workshops’ to create awareness about the LGBTQIA community and help people build connections.
Katherine’s first pride event, last year, was a huge success, raising about $1000 for the new headspace.
“I wanted to raise money for headspace because it’s based in Katherine and it directly affects lives in a positive way.
“We’re talking about how to use the money now, I’d like it to go to a LGBTQIA support group and they can do what they want - buy resources, organise sensitivity meetings or fund events,” he said.
Mr Hooper, in his last year of school, will be applying to the University of Melbourne in September to study International relations and Linguistics, but is concerned the progress in Katherine will suffer.
“I am worried (Katherine) will go back to what it was before I started advocating for the LGBTQIA community.
“It was a pretty negative environment before.
“Within the student co-hort, if you come-out there is a fear that you will be ostracised.
“I hope the work I’ve been doing will be enough to make and hold a change.
“We already see a noticeable difference in people standing up for themselves and the support from the community,” he said.
Mr Hooper said the award has given him more confidence in his mission, and being recognised for the many hours put in is a huge motivation to achieve more for the LGBTQIA community.
Mr Hooper will be taking his organisation Keep Talking NT to Melbourne with big plans of providing much more for the community.
This years Rural Pride is happening from June 23 to July 8.
With events including art workshops, concerts, a masquerade party and more, Phoebe says it’s going to be a big event for Katherine.