‘As an Aboriginal man and a gay man myself, I’m proud of both of those things completely equally’: Celebrating WorldPride with western Sydney’s Darren Lee

Just six weeks into his new role at Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), Darren Lee already has a deep connection with the local community at Mount Druitt Hospital.

Despite living in Darwin for over a decade, Darren has returned home.

“I am born and bred in this area – All my family are here, I was born in Blacktown Hospital and went to the school just down the road; Plumpton High School, so it’s all really familiar to me,” he said.

“This community is my home. I went to school here, my friends are now teachers here, I’ve got four or five friends who are now nurses and staff at Mount Druitt Hospital. It’s home. I’ve worked in other districts and I called Darwin home for 13 years but this is my home.”

Darren is an Aboriginal Sexual Health Promotion Officer at the WSLHD Aboriginal Health Hub, located at Mount Druitt Hospital.

The Pulse interviewed Darren in the days leading up to Sydney WorldPride, and as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, Darren took this opportunity to really urge his mob to have a great time during WorldPride, but to prioritise their health by getting tested and partying safely.

“Gay, straight, green or blue, we all like to have sex. Our job is to remind people to do it safely.

“Being an Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer, it’s about promoting to my mob who we are, where we are and what our services do, and to normalise it. If you’re going for your annual health check for your blood sugar levels, what’s wrong with peeing in a cup or doing a swab or taking a blood test to check your full health.

“It’s about not stereotyping or stigmatising people for what they do in their personal lives. As an Aboriginal man and a gay man myself, I’m proud of both of those things completely equally.”

For Darren, his own story drives him to connect with the local LGBTQIA+ community and offer support and resources.

“These are conversations that we can have now. I, again a local boy at the high school down the road, didn’t have the guts to come out at high school. I think everybody knew, but it was just not something that happened 20 years ago, and there was no way those conversations would happen.

“Now there is a place we can have those conversations and they can be simple conversations rather than having to pull an army together to get the message across to people that it’s ok to be gay. Sexual health is as important as the rest of your health, and you can talk about it now.”