Jessica Max Stein

Paula Ettelbrick Dies at 56

Filed By Jessica Max Stein | October 09, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: gay leaders, gay rights, Lambda Legal, LGBT civil rights, obituary, Out/Look magazine, Paula Ettelbrick

paula_ettelbrick.jpgPaula Ettelbrick, longtime lesbian civil rights activist and legal advocate, has died of cancer at 56.

Ettelbrick served the community in many ways: She directed the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1988 to 1993; served as legislative counsel to New York's Empire State Pride Agenda from 1994 to 1999; briefly worked at the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and directed the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission from 2003 to 2009. Until shortly before her death, she was executive director of New York's Stonewall Community Foundation.

Ettelbrick is also known for her 1989 participation in an Out/Look magazine debate on gay marriage, in which she wrote, "Justice for gay men and lesbians will be achieved only when we are accepted and supported in this society despite our differences from the dominant culture and the choices we make regarding our relationships."

"Paula was a force to be reckoned with," said the Gay Men's Health Crisis in a recent press release. "We will miss her fierceness, eloquence and graciousness."

May her memory be for a blessing.

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