Irish queer community mourns beloved activist maken

She was highly esteemed for her selfless work and devotion to the LGBTQ+ community over the course of her lifetime.

Close up of Dr Aintzane maken Legarreta Mentxaka smiling in front of a wooden door

Dr Aintzane ‘maken’ Legarreta Mentxaka sadly passed away yesterday, February 10, 2022, in the care of the Mater Hospital, Dublin.

Leaving behind her partner Kitty, her brother Jagoba, her sister Gurendane as well as many friends and family, the loss of maken has left the Irish LGBTQ+ community grieving. She was well-known for her extensive work with groups such as Film Qlub, The Full Moon Club and Running Amach and last year she was recognised as Volunteer of the Year at the GALAS, Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Awards.

She was also an academic, beloved by her students, as she documented and promoted trailblazing women who may otherwise have gone unnoticed. She also ran the ‘Gay Trekkies’ group, which is Outhouse’s second longest-running group.

“She was an amazing lecturer and mentor to me in college,” one of her students wrote on Instagram. “She really believed in me and my work. She was truly an incredible human. RIP.”

“Words will not describe what she has done for this Community from Arts, Film to Literature and more,” read a tribute post to maken by Street 66. “We will miss her lovely kind soul and gentle being.”


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To honour maken, Street 66 are holding a memorial gathering this Friday at 5:30, open to all who want to pay their respects.

“We are shocked, devastated and saddened to lose ‘our very own’ maken, who passed away yesterday. She was lovely, gentle and a ‘shining star’ in our community!” Maureen Looney, a friend to maken and founder of Running Amach, told GCN.

“She gave so much to us, encouraged us, supported us, lead us, shared her intelligence and creativity with us, smiled and laughed with us… the list could go on and on! Her intelligence was mesmerising, and this was reflected in her career and academic accomplishments…

“As an outstanding and committed Event Host for Running Amach, maken hosted and created so so many dynamic, diverse and eclectic events for us. She brought so many women together and encouraged them to ‘stretch’ themselves and share their talents, knowledge and experiences with us. Maken had a ‘loyal’ following due to her ability to bring people together … When I say that you would do anything for maken, I mean it!

“maken was unassuming and humble in all that she created and gave us. She gave us spaces to be ourselves and to make friends. Her list of accomplishments is inspiring… You could bump into maken on the streets of Dublin and she would warm you with her smile and meaningful connection.

“Our condolences to Kitty, her siblings, maken’s many many friends and her extended family. Goodbye, our friend… you will be sorely missed.”

The funeral will take place tomorrow, Saturday, February 12 in The Victorian Chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium at 3 PM. The service will also be available to watch here.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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