HIV/AIDS activist David Mixner dies at 77

HIV/AIDS activist David Mixner dies at 77 - Politics - News

Remembering the Unyielding Force for LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality: David Mixner

The heartfelt announcement by Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, marked the passing of a pivotal figure in the struggle for social change and equality – David Mixner.

David Mixner, a courageous and indomitable advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, played a significant role in challenging societal norms at a time when discrimination against the community was rampant. He bravely confronted widespread prejudice and the HIV/AIDS crisis, which was overlooked by political leaders in Washington, D.C., during the late 1980s.

In 1987, Mixner joined one of the first HIV/AIDS protests outside the Reagan White House – a bold move when being openly gay could result in harassment, violence or worse. Despite this risk, Mixner was undeterred and stood up for what he believed in. He was among the 65 protesters who were arrested, making national headlines and drawing attention to the critical issue of HIV/AIDS stigma.

David Mixner’s activism extended beyond protests; in 1991, he co-founded the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, an organization dedicated to supporting and electing openly LGBTQ+ political candidates. This crucial group has continued to make a difference in American politics by advocating for inclusive representation at all levels of government.

Mixner’s influence extended beyond community activism, as he was instrumental in pushing for LGBTQ+ inclusivity within political campaigns. He worked to secure a role for himself on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 – becoming the first openly gay person to hold a high-profile, public position within a presidential campaign.

When Clinton was elected, Mixner launched the Presidential Appointments Program, an initiative aimed at encouraging the administration to appoint qualified LGBTQ+ individuals to key positions within the government. This program set a precedent that continues to shape political representation today.

In a 2021 interview, Mixner shared a remarkable story about how he managed to persuade Ronald Reagan – a known conservative politician – to oppose Proposition 6. This 1978 California ballot initiative aimed to ban gay teachers in public schools. Mixner’s meeting with Reagan resulted in the Republican president publicly opposing Proposition 6 just three days later, marking a significant victory for LGBTQ+ rights.

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey called Mixner an “icon” and expressed his deep sadness at his passing. “David Mixner was a trailblazer for the LGBTQIA+ community, and a son of Salem County. He dedicated his life to building a more equitable world for every American. We will miss him dearly.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also paid tribute to Mixner’s invaluable contributions, saying, “David changed the world forever, and equality would not be where it is today without his leadership, passion, and immense heart and humor. He dedicated his life to our community, and now we must strive to live up to his legacy.”