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WASHINGTON – On June 27 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced the death of Eric Rofes, whom the NGLTF release described as, “a leader, activist, visionary, former board member and dear friend to the Task Force.” According to the release, Rofes died on June 26 from a heart attack.
According to a brief biography published in the White Crane Journal, Rofes was the convener of the first three national Gay Men’s Health Summits and served on the Advisory Board for White Crane Institute. He was a long-time activist and community organizer and published over a dozen books, most recently “A Radical Rethinking of Sexuality and Schooling: Status Quo or Status Queer” (Rowman & Littlefield). He was a professor of education at Humboldt State University.
According to donshewey.com, “Eric Rofes is one of the undersung heroes of contemporary gay American culture. He is an educator by profession – he received his Ph.D in social and cultural studies from the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education – and is an assistant professor in education at Humboldt State University in Northern California. Additionally, he is a lifelong community activist. Founder of the Boston Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance, he’s served as executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center and San Francisco’s Shanti Project.”
“Words cannot express the loss we all feel. For more than 30 years, Eric was our movement’s visionary. He pushed us to be better, to never lose sight of what our movement for liberation is all about, and to love each other, fight for each other and celebrate our community. He was an organizer without par, a brilliant thinker and writer, and above all else, a wonderful person and friend. Our hearts go out to his partner Crispin Hollings and all the members of his extended family,” said NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman.
“Eric fought fiercely and organized tirelessly for our freedoms to love, to live and to thrive. His leadership and energy guided much early organizing in Boston,” said Sue Hyde, director of the Task Force’s Creating Change conference. “I met Eric at Gay Community News in 1983 when, as a greenhorn from the Midwest, I was honored to learn and grow in his political light and determination to change the social and political space we queerfolk occupy. Eric’s circles of friends go far beyond Boston, and he will always be remembered as a world changer who showed us the way. No better memorial can be built to him than to walk his path to freedom, to liberation and to democracy.”