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PASSAGES Gay-rights pioneer Dick Leitsch dies at 83
2018-06-27

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Gay-rights icon Dick Leitsch, who led so-called "sip-in" protests during the 1960s, died in New York City on June 24, according to NBC News. He was 83.

Born in Kentucky, Leitsch became a cornerstone of the movement after moving to New York City and leading protests that pre-dated the Stonewall Inn uprising. He eventually led that city's branch of the Mattachine Society, one of the oldest gay-rights groups in the country.

In February 2018, Leitsch learned he had terminal liver cancer. Following his diagnosis, he received letters from admirers, including President Barack Obama, who thanked Leitsch for "decades of work to help drive our nation forward on the path toward L.G.B.T. equality."

Leitsch's partner, Timothy Scoffielddied, died in 1989 from AIDS-related complications.

In 2015, Windy City Times ran a profile that the LGBT History Project's Perry Brass wrote ( during LGBT History Month ). In part, Brass wrote, "[H]istory is unavoidable. We are now starting to see what huge courage and sacrifices these gay pioneers went through—Frank Kameny, who was jobless after a federal witchhunt deprived him of a position as an astronomer; Nick Nichols, whose own father, an FBI agent, plotted to have him murdered as a teenager; and Dick Leitsch, who took his role in it with such gallantry, never trying to re-invent history to try to concoct a place himself. He went from being America's most famous, if only, homosexual, to almost forgotten."

The NBC News item is at www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/gay-rights-pioneer-dick-leitsch-who-held-sip-protest-dies-n885996. The Windy City Times profile is at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/LGBT-HISTORY-MONTH-Dick-Leitsch-History-is-unavoidable/53225.html.


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