Entrepreneur, publisher and activist Silke Bader brings a passion for change and a fierce desire to create role models to the first New Zealand LGBTI Awards.
Arriving in Australia aged 21, Silke has gone on to own and run travel agencies, charities and magazines, and has been working in the LGBTI Community in Australia for over 25 years, devoted to continuing to champion the fight for equality and inclusiveness for the LGBTI community at home and overseas.
Silke’s career in publishing began after purchasing Australian lesbian magazine LOTL (Lesbians in the Loose) in 1999, and continued with the purchase of American lesbian magazine Curve in 2010.
She has also run a Sydney-based lesbian travel agency, and was Founding Director of the Zambi Wildlife Retreat, a charity devoted to housing and caring for retired circus animals.
After her London-based business partner Linda Riley co-founded the British LGBTI Awards, she offered Silke a chance to partner up to create the Australian LGBTI Awards. After several successful years behind the scenes at the Awards, Silke set her sights on bringing the LGBTI Awards to New Zealand.
“Now that both New Zealand and Australia have achieved marriage equality, with same-sex couple now legally able to marry in both countries, a lot of people have asked “what comes next?” Silke says.
“The finalists and winners of the LGBTI Awards create role models in all aspects of our everyday life, in things that we love, like music, sports, business and so on.”
Silke says the Awards are all about creating role models, which is something she firmly believes in and is passionate about.
“We also want to do everything we can to help with suicide prevention, there is still a high rate of suicide within the LGBTI community, and if you have a role model to look up to as an LGBTI person, coming out is much easier than if you feel alone.”
Silke has also just been announced as one of the 2018 Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, in the Diversity and Inclusion Category.
“I was surprised, but I’m really excited about it. In all the 100 women that have been named, I am the only one that represents the LGBTI community, so I feel that helps bring our community to a more mainstream level. And I love that, because it all comes back to creating role models. It also helps create visibility, for an LGBT member to be included speaks a thousand words, and I’m very proud to be among that group of women.”
Silke says she has been delighted by the enthusiastic response to the New Zealand LGBTI Awards within the Kiwi community.
“We’ve sold over 200 tickets, and had more than 2000 votes for our finalists. What really has taken us by surprise is the comparison to the Australian LGBTI Awards – New Zealand has already participated in the Awards more than Australia did in it’s first year, and we’ve still got a few months left to go.”
Silke currently lives with her partner Tanya, who she met in 1999.
“We fostered 2 children in 2003, which motivated us to get involved with the parliamentary Inquiry in 2010, which resulted in the change of the NSW Adoption Act, allowing same sex couples to adopt.”
Silke says she hopes the Awards will continue, both home in New Zealand and overseas, for the foreseeable future.
Contact New Zealand LGBTI Awards:
Phone: +61 2 8097 0054
Phone: 0274 587 724