Browsing: In Memoriam

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Memorial programs were held in both Boston and New York City this past fall to celebrate the life of activist Urvashi Vaid (1958–2022), who passed away last May. Her longtime friend and “co-conspirator” Richard Burns delivered the first of many eulogies at both programs. What follows is based on the Boston speech, which was delivered on September 28th at Northeastern University. A few items have been included from Richard’s remarks in New York (November 3rd), which began with the following prefatory statement:

 You can see in your program that there’s a campaign to put Urvashi on a United States postage stamp. Stamps are planned three years in advance, and the time is long overdue for us to have an activist lesbian leader on our mail. You’ll be shocked to know that this will be a very political process, and the people in this room could make it happen.

 The New York program was streamed live by the American LGBTQ+ Museum and can still be viewed on their website (americanlgbtqmuseum.org).

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IN KEEPING WITH our annual tradition, we remember here some of the people who left us over the past year—the writers, artists, performers, and activists who made a significant contribution to LGBT culture and community. All dates are in 2022 unless otherwise indicated.

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LARS EIGHNER, gay novelist, memoirist, and chronicler of the lives of the homeless, passed away on December 23 in Austin, Texas. He was 73. Born in Corpus Christi in…More

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            Stephen Sondheim died in Jeff Romley’s arms on November 26, 2022. The cause was cardiovascular disease. He left us just days before the release of the film tick, tick…BOOM!, which memorializes Jonathan Larson’s deep debt to Sondheim. The aforementioned revival of Company is set to run on Broadway through the end of this year. It is far from the last revival of his many great musicals that we can anticipate as the years roll merrily along.

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            No words of mine can capture Louise’s art and righteous wrath and vigor. There are few artists among contemporary creatives as impressive, knowledgeable, and capable of making universalizing statements as Louise Fishman. The depth of her compassion and kindness defy description, and I am dumbfounded as I face her body of work and the legacy that she has left us.

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IN KEEPING WITH our annual custom, we remember some people who left us during the past year—activists, writers, performers, educators, and artists who made a significant contribution to the LGBT community. They left this mortal coil at ages ranging from 28 to 94. All dates are in 2021 unless otherwise indicated.

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THREE AMERICAN LESBIANS whose importance to activism and literature cannot be overstated died within a few months of each other this year. Each was responsible for a remarkable…More

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WRITER Jamie James died in Indonesia on February 9, 2020, at the age of 68. His most recent nonfiction books were Pagan Light: Dreams of Freedom and Beauty in Capri (2019), The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic (2016), and Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage (2011). He also wrote two novels, Andrew & Joey: A Tale of Bali and The Java Man. The 2014 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, James contributed criticism, travel reportage, and essays to many publications including Harper’s, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Atlantic, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, among other publications.

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IN KEEPING WITH our annual custom, we remember some of the LGBT activists, writers, performers, educators, and artists who made a difference in their lives and who died last year from a range of causes, including the Covid-19 pandemic. All dates are in 2020 unless otherwise indicated.

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