The Team

Shane is an out and proud Gay Aboriginal man with family originating from Gundungurra Land. Raised in Queanbeyan and lived most of his adult life in Newcastle and Sydney. Shane is seen as a specialist in Corporate and Social responsibility with a strong social justice belief. Commencing his career in Banking and Finance, Shane realised that this did not meet his personal value set and enrolled in university. Now a qualified Counsellor with tertiary education in Community Services Management, Indigenous Leadership and Community Advocacy Shane’s career spans across a number of social services, including, health, financial counselling, disabilities, homelessness and education. Married at an early age, Shane knows firsthand the feeling of not living in your own skin and welcomes the innovation that is BlaQ and all that it will bring to the Aboriginal LGBTIQ+ community. Growing up in a loving and supportive family environment, Shane wants to deliver this same level of care and nurturing to all community, who may not have the same positive opportunities that he was provided as a young man. Allowing people to be who they are, to be able to define themselves and celebrate love the way they feel they are meant to and educating community on acceptance and care for everyone is his highest priority.
Estelle is a Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba Trans Woman or Sistergirl. She was born in Boorloo on Noongar Whadjuk but has resided in Gadigal Country since 2015. In 2014 she was the Western Australian Young Person of the Year as well as a National Young People's Human Rights Medal finalist. She now works at BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation as the Programs and Training Coordinator based at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern.
Melisa is originally from the U.S. but migrated to Australia in 1999. She has lived in over 20 different places across Greater Sydney since then, but now lives on Dharug land and has proudly called Western Sydney home for the last ten years. Melisa is a motivated individual with a passion for community projects and events management. Her administrative career spans across a variety of industries including the not-for-profit sector, education, disability and aged care, healthcare, construction, and engineering. Melisa had 15 minutes of fame doing spoken word and amateur musical theatre, but nowadays can mostly be found behind the scenes. She enjoys being part of events that raise awareness around social justice issues and mental health. She brings a strong commitment to inclusion and diversity to her work, and loves to help empower people to live their fullest, most authentic lives.
Desiree is a Birri Gubba/Wakka Wakka (Mother’s side), and Tongan woman, who was born and raised on Gadigal country in Sydney. She has a Bachelor Social Work (Hons)/Laws. With her socio-legal background, Desiree offers invaluable experience and insights from her various roles across the public, private and community sector. She's passionate about servicing and advocating for our Mob. Desiree is an ally that loves what BlaQ stands for, and looks forward to what we can collectively achieve for our LGBTQ+SB community.
Luke Pidgeon is a proud Kamilaroi man from Western Sydney, Dharug Country. Luke has recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Media and is passionate about all thing’s media. Luke has worked closely with his community especially at his Indigenous Strategy at Macquarie University as an Administrative Assistant to the faculty. He has also volunteered and participated with Aboriginal ACON’s First Nation Float ever since he has identified as a gay man. Luke is passionate about his community especially helping with the rainbow mob in any way he can. “I always wanted to give back to the community that has been so good to me in my life. They are the reason that I have achieved so much, and I am truly thankful for everything they have provided me. I came out a little later in life and the first community that was so accepting was my rainbow mob. They have treated me so well and I’m thankful to be working with BlaQ because it gives me a chance to give back to my community that has given me so much”.
Sami was born on Gadigal Country (Sydney), her late mother Cecilia Cummings was one of many Aboriginal people taken from their community to Palm Island of Queensland. Her bloodlines connect her to Warumungu/ Wombaya country. She has recently returned from Darumbul land in Rockhampton to join the BlaQ team. Sami was heavily involved in conversation of BlaQ long before it’s conception and has always advocated solid representation of LGBTQIA+ mob as a vital part of collective community wellbeing. “Knowing there is a space now where people can come and feel a sense of belonging and family is really amazing. BlaQ is a space where all are welcomed and that warms my heart.’ - Sami


BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and pay special respects to our LGBTQIA+SB mob. We honour their legacy in everything we do.