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HIV/AIDS activist David Mixner dies at 77

Longtime LGBTQ+ activist David Mixner, who was a leader in the fight for social change and equality, has died, LGBTQ+ Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker announced.

“David was a courageous, resilient and unyielding force for social change at a time when our community faced widespread discrimination and an HIV/AIDS crisis ignored by the political class in Washington, DC.,” Parker said.

“In 1987, David joined one of the first HIV/AIDS protests outside the Reagan White House, where police wore latex gloves because of the stigma and misinformation around HIV/AIDS. He was arrested, along with 64 others, and made national headlines, when being an out person could lead to harassment, violence or worse. But David was undeterred.”

Mixner cofounded the LGBTQ+ Victory fund in 1991, a group that exclusively supported LGBTQ+ political candidates, Parker said.

“He pushed the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton to be inclusive of gay people – and was asked to join the campaign’s National Executive Committee – the first time an out LGBTQ+ person held a public facing presidential campaign role,” Parker said.

“When President Clinton won, David launched Victory’s Presidential Appointments Program, pushing the administration to appoint LGBTQ+ people to key political positions. That work continues to this day.”

U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) shakes hands with LGBTQ activist David Mixner. - Reuters
U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) shakes hands with LGBTQ activist David Mixner. - Reuters

In a 2021 interview, Mixner recounted how he was able to convince conservative Ronald Reagan to oppose Proposition 6, a 1978 state initiative to ban gay school teachers in public schools. Reagan came out against the initiative in a newspaper column three days after they met with him, Mixner said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called Mixner an “icon.”

“David Mixner was a trailblazer for the LGBTQIA+ community, and a son of Salem County, who dedicated his life to building a more equitable world for every American. He was an icon, a true champion for justice, and a close personal friend. We will miss him dearly.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis echoed the outpouring of praise for Mixner in a statement.

“David changed the world forever and equality would not be where it is today without his leadership, passion, and immense heart and humor,” Ellis said.

“He dedicated his life to our community and now we must strive to live up to his legacy.”

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