Kooncha comes from a small Koori community of Wallaga Lake, on the far south coast of NSW and identifies as a proud Koori Sistergirl (‘Sistergirl’ is the term given to Sistergirls by their communities which replaced the derogatory names that were being used in the past).
Although Kooncha previously worked in various government organisations on the south coast of NSW when she was younger, she moved to Sydney due to being supported in her transition when she was in her early 20’s. She trained as an Assistant in Nursing and worked in a few nursing homes in Sydney before being employed with ACON.
She worked in the sexual health field for over 10 years especially working in the ACON’s Aboriginal Project as the Transgender/Sistergirl project worker. Along with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sistergirls around the country, Kooncha was instrumental in ensuring that Sistergirls remained a health focus given the fact that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sistergirls were facing discrimination, marginalisation and violence from all sectors of the wider community, including our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and slipping through the gaps in health policies. It was Kooncha’s aim to ensure that Sistergirls be represented and included in all health outcomes that affect most GLBTQIA+ communities.
After working for 10 years with ACON she decided she needed a change and found employment at the Jack Walker Centre (an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s refuge) as a support worker helping homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children. Although Kooncha enjoyed the seven years she worked at the Jack Walker Centre, this soon came to and end when she decided to take on the carer role of looking after her elderly and disabled mum.
Kooncha is now studying at TAFE in a fashion design course and is looking forward to see where this course takes her in the future. She hopes to be doing her own creations once she learns the basics and hopefully expanding on her goal of becoming a fashion designer.
Kooncha has been on the board of the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern for over 12 years and still advocates for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander GLBTQIA+ communities. She feels these communities still have many health issues that affect them on a daily basis and need to be represented at all levels for health outcomes.
And that is the leader in Aboriginal health in Australia.