Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Remembering pioneering activist Amber Hollibaugh

Amber Hollibaugh, 77, activist, organizer, author (My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home), self-educated leading public intellectual in the LGBTQ, feminist, sexual liberation, and economic justice movements, died suddenly of complications of diabetes in her home in Brooklyn October 20, 2023. She is survived by her life partner, award-winning novelist Jenifer Levin and stepsons Mak Levin and Van De Laurier.

Amber’s legacy is an integral part of the history of the modern LGBTQ+ and feminist movements. Her contributions were always visionary, as she worked at the intersections of sexual and economic inequality, LGBTQ and women’s health disparities. Her legacy and long-term impact in progressive movements is inestimable, and her loss will be widely and deeply mourned throughout queer communities, and beyond.

Her funeral was held in NYC on Sunday October 29.  A memorial service, open to the friends, family and community is being planning in coming weeks. 

Born on June 20,1946 in Bakersfield CA, Hollibaugh was largely self-educated and resided in Bakersfield, San Francisco CA, Las Vegas, Mississippi, Chicago, and Canada. Her primary residence from 1981 was in Brooklyn, New York up until the time of her death. 

Barbara Satin, past Faith Work Director and current consultant for the National LGBTQ Task Force, issued the following statement on her passing: “My early activism had focused on trans inclusion plus the affirmation of queer folks within faith settings – then I met Amber who introduced me to the beautiful, old LGBT community – my peer group.

“These pioneers, on whose shoulders we have built a burgeoning progressive movement, had hopes, expectations, fears and concerns around aging that were seriously overlooked by the broader community. Through her work on LGBTQ aging at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, including the publication of Outing Age, the seminal work on the issue, Amber spotlighted the needs and expectations that our elders had and offered practical and appropriate responses to their difficult situations. 

“Amber added an important element to my activism and the applause I have received over the years for my work on aging are directly connected to her influence on my life. As I approach my 90th birthday, Amber Hollibaugh still is my role model for doing activism with grace and style.”

Amber Hollibaugh delivered the 2018 Kessler Award Lecture entitled “Hope and Power of Desire: Our Vision for Changing World.” Watch that presentation in her memory here.

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