Jacinta is a final year Medicine student, who is currently completing her final year at Flinders University, including a placement in Alice Springs.

“I grew up in Mount Gambier with parents who had also grown up in rural South Australia. The greatest challenge I faced in coming out was actually coping with my parents reaction.

“Growing up in rural SA, I was really without any positive gay role models in my community which was hard, but what was harder was that my parents were also without those role models, so their reaction when I came out was one of fear and misunderstanding. “

Coming out at 15 was a very scary time for Jacinta, and it caused a huge amount of damage to her relationship with her parents, which has taken a long time to restore.

“Looking back now, I can understand it came from a fear that my “choosing to be gay” was going to mean that I wasn’t going to have the life they wanted for me.

“The only lesbian my parents knew had shaved her head, dropped out of school and was at the time on the run from child services, they didn’t have anyone to look to to show them that my being gay didn’t mean that I couldn’t still have the happy, safe and successful life they wanted for me.”

“The lack of a positive role model was the hardest part about coming out for me, and it's the reason I believe it is so important that I am open about my sexuality now, to act as the role modelmy family and I personally didn't have."

Jacinta was reluctant to apply for a Pinnacle Foundation Scholarship. “I actually talked myself out of applying for a Pinnacle Foundation scholarship 3 years in a row, because I was afraid I wasn’t disadvantaged enough and especially afraid that I wasn’t queer enough.

“It wasn’t until my final year of uni that I decided I needed the help more than I was afraid to ask for it and my god how much do I regret that.”

“In becoming a scholar I was welcomed into this beautiful queer community that is the Pinnacle Foundation. A community that represents the full spectrum of queerness, including people whose queerness looked a lot like mine.

“I’ve been partnered with a mentor, someone who identifies like I do, succeeding in the field I want to be in. With no queer role models while I was growing up, I don’t think I realised how much I missed out on not having that, until Pinnacle provided it for me.”

While extremely grateful for the financial scholarship in helping her focus on her studies and long hours as a resident, Jacinta believes that being part of the Pinnacle Family goes far beyond that.

"I have been gifted with a level of support and a sense of belonging that I didn’t know I was missing. I wholeheartedly encourage every LGBT+ young person who sees this to apply."