Activist Barrett Brick dies, at 59

Long-time global activist Barrett Brick of Washington, D.C., died Sunday morning, September 22, following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 59.

Brick was honored by many groups over the years for his contributions to secure equal rights for LGBT people on the local, national, and international levels.

He served in numerous positions with various organizations, including as president of Washington, D.C.’s historic Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) and board member of the local chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

Nationally, he served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and he was part of a team that met with the State Department to urge it to include LGBT-related concerns in its annual human rights reports on various countries.

In 1993, he delivered remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National March on Washington for LGBT Rights. According to the Rainbow History Project, Brick and activist Craig Howell were instrumental in persuading the Museum to include the history of homosexual victims of the Holocaust.

Brick was active in many Jewish organizations, serving as president of the local LGBT Jewish Congregation Bet Mishpachah and as executive director, for six years, of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations.

In 2012, Immigration Equality awarded him its Global Vision Award.

He earned both his B.A. and law degree from Columbia University, where he served leadership positions in the undergraduate gay group and founded the gay student law group.

Brick was an avid fan of astronomy, soccer, and science fiction. He was well-known and liked for not only his political activism but for his kindness and willingness to build bridges between conflicting sides. He was also known for his ready sense of humor, and once planted “gay trees” in Israel.

Brick worked as an attorney with the Federal Communications Commission until his retirement in 2010. Brick met his spouse, Antonio Ruffini of South Africa, in 1999 at World Science Fiction Convention, in Melbourne, Australia.


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