October 7, 2011
This morning, Paula L. Ettelbrick died of causes related to cancer. For more than a quarter of century, she was a tenacious fighter for the rights of LGBT people. Many of us at GMHC had the honor of partnering with her when she worked at the Empire State Pride Agenda, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and more recently when was the Executive Director of the Stonewall Community Foundation. Not only was she concerned about human rights in the United States, she advocated globally for the rights of LGBT people, particularly those impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
As an example of her staunch advocacy, when the Bush Administration's President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) had a lack of funding allocated for prevention programs targeting gay men and women, she stated in 2006: "The U.S. government is doing nothing to ensure that any attention is being paid to the spread of the epidemic among men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women, particularly in Africa. This negligence could sabotage the entire HIV prevention effort overseas."
Beautiful, articulate, smart and hard-hitting, Paula was a force to be reckoned with. We will miss her fierceness, eloquence and graciousness. We send our tender thoughts to all the members of her family, chosen and biological, as well as all those who have been touched by Paula's life and work.