Robert Simms to stand for Adelaide City Council
Local human rights activist Robert Simms has announced he’ll stand as a candidate for Area Councillor in the upcoming Adelaide City Council election.
"I think it's important that Council reflects Adelaide's diversity. As a gay man and a proud member of the LGBTI community, if elected I’ll work hard to ensure the views of the LGBTI people of Adelaide are considered at the Council table. Adelaide has the highest population of LGBTI people in the state, so it's really vital our voice is heard," Simms told blaze.
"It's critical that Adelaide supports LGBTI culture and community because in doing so we create a more open and inclusive city. Obviously continuing to support the great work of the Feast Festival is part of that, along with other community events as well."
Simms said he had a hard time coming out, but that just makes him admire gay activists of the 70s and 80s. “That would have taken enormous bravery and the social changes of recent years so many of us today have benefited from, were only made possible because of their courage."
Part of Simms’ motivation is to continue with that struggle to erase homophobia.
"I know that things are improving and hopefully it's getting a little easier for younger people today,” he said. “But despite the positive changes we've seen in recent years, we should never forget homophobia is still a powerful force in Australian society. We can't take anything for granted. It's still present, it still creates a lot of unhappiness and we still need to keep on fighting to overcome it.
“Part of that means continuing to campaign to abolish discrimination within the law. And part of that also means fostering a strong sense of LGBTI culture, community and identity.”
A lawyer by training, Simms has worked for the Youth Affairs Council and at separate times Senators Natasha Stott Despoja, Scott Ludlam and Sarah Hanson-Young and is committed to social justice.
"For me the personal is political,” Simms said. “As a young person coming to terms with my sexuality, I didn't have the easiest time at school. I guess that maybe gave me a bit of an insight into other forms of discrimination and a passion to change things – to try to make things better for other people who feel like they don't fit in. That's always been the foundation of my belief in social justice." Ron Hughes
[Top image] Robert Simms. Photo: Supplied