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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 30, 2006

Activist and author
Eric Rofes dies at 51

Provincetown, Mass.--Eric Rofes, a longtime LGBT advocate and organizer on both the East and West Coasts, died on June 26, apparently from a heart attack.

Rofes, 51, first made a name for himself in the mid-1970s, founding Boston�s first group for LGBT educators, the Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Schoolworkers.

During that time, he also founded two of the first groups for LGBT youth in the nation, Out Here for Gay youth and the Committee for Gay Youth.

Rofes was also at the center of Boston�s first queer political organization, the Gay and Lesbian Political Alliance.

The following decade, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he became the executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, opening California�s first testing site for HIV.

In 1989, four years after being hired as the director of the gay and lesbian center, he moved over to heading Shanti Project in San Francisco, then the country�s largest HIV and AIDS housing services provider.

Active in the growing gay men�s health movement, he helped organize three summits, as well as founding the National LGBTI Health Summit, which started in 2000 in Boulder, Colorado.

An associate professor of education at Humboldt State University for the last seven years, Rofes wrote a dozen books on LGBT issues, including Opposite Sex: Gay Men on Lesbians and Lesbians on Gay Men with Sara Miles, Reviving the Tribe: Regenerating Gay Men�s Sexuality and Cultures in an Ongoing Epidemic and Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures.

He was in Provincetown on a sabbatical to write when he died.

He was also a founding member of www.perfectunion.net, an on-line pro-marriage advocacy organization.

�We have lost one of the true leaders in our movement for sexual freedom and equality for LGBT people,� said Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation in Detroit. �It will be impossible to fill the void left by the absence of our dear friend Eric Rofes.�

A memorial service was held on June 28 in Provincetown, and another was planned for July 15 at the Metropolitan Community Church in the Castro district of San Francisco.

 

 

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