Wednesday, April 17, 2024

David Mixner, a prominent advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, passed away at the age of 77

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David Mixner, a long-standing advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, has passed away, according to Annise Parker, the President and CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund.

“David was a brave and determined force for change during a time when our community faced a lot of discrimination and the HIV/AIDS crisis was being ignored by politicians in Washington, DC,” Parker said.

“In 1987, David participated in one of the earliest protests against HIV/AIDS outside the White House during Reagan’s presidency. Back then, there was a lot of fear and misunderstanding about HIV/AIDS, and police even wore special gloves. David was arrested along with 64 others, attracting national attention. This was a time when being open about one’s sexual orientation could lead to harassment or violence, but David didn’t let that stop him.”

Mixner co-founded the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund in 1991, a group dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ political candidates, Parker explained.

“He pushed for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign to be more inclusive of gay people and was invited to join the campaign’s National Executive Committee. This was the first time an openly LGBTQ+ person had such a prominent role in a presidential campaign,” Parker said.

“After President Clinton’s victory, David started Victory’s Presidential Appointments Program, urging the administration to appoint LGBTQ+ individuals to important political positions. This work is still ongoing today.”

Mixner recounted in a 2021 interview how he persuaded Ronald Reagan, a conservative, to oppose Proposition 6, a 1978 initiative to ban gay teachers in public schools. Reagan publicly opposed the initiative in a newspaper column three days after meeting with Mixner, according to Mixner.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy described Mixner as an “icon.”

“David Mixner was a pioneer for the LGBTQIA+ community, hailing from Salem County. He spent his life working towards a fairer world for all Americans. He was an icon, a true advocate for justice, and a dear friend. We will miss him greatly.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, the President and CEO of GLAAD, also paid tribute to Mixner in a statement.

“David had a lasting impact on the world, and we wouldn’t be where we are today in terms of equality without his leadership, dedication, and his big heart and sense of humor,” Ellis said.

“He devoted his life to our community, and now it’s up to us to carry on his legacy.”

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