Legendary attorney, LGBTQ activist, and author Urvashi Vaid, known for her extensive career as an advocate for LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, anti-war efforts, immigration justice, and many other social causes, died today at age 63 in her home in New York City.
Vaid was the Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1989 to 1992 and served prior to that as Media Director.
“We are devastated at the loss of one of the most influential progressive activists of our time,” Kierra Johnson, current executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force commented. “Urvashi Vaid was a leader, a warrior, and a force to be reckoned with. She was also a beloved colleague, friend, partner, and someone we all looked up to — a brilliant, outspoken, and deeply committed activist who wanted full justice and equality for all people.”
We are deeply saddened by the loss of “one of the most influential activists of our time”.🏳️🌈
— TheTaskForce (@TheTaskForce) May 15, 2022
The statement from the National LGBTQ+ taskforce continued:
“At George H.W. Bush’s 1990 address on AIDS, Vaid, then the Executive Director of The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, made a statement with her sign: “Talk Is Cheap, AIDS Funding is Not”. Her critique made waves, disrupting the press conference, and shedding light on the failures of the Bush administration.
“Equality is a fine aspiration. It’s simply not enough”, she wrote in a 2014 piece on liberation. And it is a politics of liberation that shaped her career and informed her vision for the world. Vaid’s vision and passion for defending and promoting civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community led to a lifetime of change-making.
Fellow Activist and friend, Sarah Schulman shared a tribute to Urvashi Vaid on Twitter.
1) Collectively mourning the loss of Urvashi Vaid, after three difficult bouts with cancer. Grateful to and devestated with her loving partner Kate Clinton.
As Jim Hubbard said, Urvashi led a great and important life.
— sarah schulman (@sarahschulman3) May 14, 2022
n 2012, Urvashi Vaid launched LPAC, the first lesbian Super PAC, and it has since invested millions of dollars in candidates who are committed to social justice through legislation. Prior to that, Vaid held positions on the boards at the Ford Foundation, The Arcus Foundation (where she served as Executive Director from 2005 to 2010), and the Gill Foundation. She was a leader in the development of the currently ongoing National LGBTQ women’s community survey.
We should all be so lucky to have even 1% of the positive impact on the world that Urvashi Vaid did, and in a life cut short today.
Vision, commitment, brilliance — yes, but her relentless persistence to see it through was truly rare.
God bless you, Urv. A life so well lived.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) May 14, 2022
Vaid was the aunt of activist and performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon. She is survived by Alok Vaid-Menon as well as her longtime partner, political humorist Kate Clinton.
Rest in Power.
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