Longtime LGBT activist Paula Ettelbrick dies at 56

Published: October 7, 2011

Paula Ettelbrick, a prominent LGBT activist who most recently worked as executive director of the Stonewall Community Foundation, has died five days after her 56th birthday.

Her favorite quotation, from her Facebook page, where condolences are being left:

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

— Ghandi

Here’s a news release from GMHC announcing Ettelbrick’s death:

    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."

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