Author and Activist David Mixner attends The Point Foundation's Annual Point Honors New York Gala at New York Public Library on April 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Point Foundation)

Gay Rights Firebrand David Mixner Dies at 77

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

A gay rights legend has left us. The New York Times reported that David B. Mixner, a political strategist who famously protested Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, has died at 77.

According to the Times, Mixner died Monday at his home in Midtown Manhattan, due to complications from long-term Covid, according to a close friend. However, Mixner leaves behind a legacy and reputation as a fighter for gay rights that has preceded him many times over.

When Clinton was running for president in 1992, Mixner famously arranged for him to make a public address to a gay and lesbian audience, he became the first presidential candidate to do so.

He also coaxed the conservative Ronald Reagan, who was famously apathetic to the gay community, to oppose a 1978 state ban on gay schoolteachers in California. He also spoke out against the Vietnam war and drew attention the HIV/AIDS crisis of the '80s. In short, Mixner proved himself to be a giant among the influential.

"When I met him when he was young," Clinton about Mr. Mixner in 1999, NYT reports. He was addressing an LGBTQ audience at the time. "I thought I'd never met a person whose heart burned with the fire of social justice so strong," he added.

Tributes to Mixner's legacy also rolled in from several LGBTQ organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign.

"A champion for equality, longtime activist David Mixner's unwavering voice spanned decades," wrote Kelley Robinson, HRC's president, on X. "From challenging discriminatory policies to influencing presidential campaigns, his work paved the way for a new political reality and will inspire generations."

Read NYT's full Mixner obituary and account of his impactful life.

by Emell Adolphus

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