Community leader and activist Jim Hyde has passed away over the weekend, leaving an indelible and important legacy in his wake.

As both a life member of Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council) and its general manager in the early nineties, Hyde guided the organisation in its relocation to South Yarra, where it remained for 23 years.

He was also at the helm when the first Positive Living Centre opened in St Kilda, and was a founding member of the AIDS Council of South Australia and the South Australian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

Thorne Harbour Health President, Chad Hughes, said Hyde’s almost 30-year involvement with the organisation was characterised by passion, intelligence, strategic insight, and a fierce commitment to the HIV and AIDS sector.

“He was a great strategic thinker, a skilled negotiator and policy expert, and a generous elder of our community,” he said.

“Whenever we came across complex issues related to the organisation, Jim was always ready with sage advice and critical insights that I personally, and the organisation as a whole, benefitted from.

“From the sale of our previous premises in South Yarra to our recent rebrand and countless other matters, his legacy is significant.”

Hyde also held senior positions in both the New South Wales and Victorian departments of health, including serving as Victoria’s Director of Public Health, and was awarded the inaugural Rainbow Award for Leadership in the Gay Community in 1993.

Chief Executive of Thorne Harbour Health, Simon Ruth, said Hyde’s insights were always informed by a keen sense of where the organisation had been historically, what it needed in the present, and how it could develop for future sustainability.

“He brought to our organisation, and LGBTI people more generally, a deep community knowledge informed by passion and determination,” he said.

“He will be missed.”

Other community leaders have taken to social media to champion Hyde’s lasting legacy.

Victoria’s gender and sexuality commissioner, Ro Allen, said they were sad to hear of Hyde’s passing.

“Jim was a larger than life character who spent his entire career advocating for LGBTI rights,” they posted on Facebook.

“His legacy is enormous and will live on.”

Co-founder of the Institute of Many (TIM), Nic Holas, said Hyde was “bloody pushy, loved a rant, and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind”.

“We owe so much to our HIV elders,” he wrote.

“We stand upon their shoulders, they who put their bodies on the line at protests, and in laboratories, so that we may be live with HIV openly and pop our daily pharma freedoms without side effects, without fear.”

Hyde is survived by his daughters, Sophie and Alice, their families, and his partner Glenn.

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