Task Force mourns death of D.C. activist Cheryl Ann Spector

September 05, 2007

Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the loss of D.C. activist Cheryl Ann Spector, 49, who died yesterday of leukemia.

Statement by Rea Carey, Deputy Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is deeply saddened by the death of Cheryl Ann Spector. She was an equal opportunity activist; whatever tactic, whatever group could get the job done, Cheryl was either part of it or recorded it. Like so many in this city, I was honored to have worked alongside Cheryl as an activist in OUT (Oppression Under Target) and ACT UP in the late ’80s and ’90s. Cheryl was not only a legendary witness to AIDS and queer activism in D.C. through her videotapes or photos of every AIDS or LGBT direct action, event and gathering, she was also a street activist, a strategist, a provocateur, a motivator. With the number of times in just one week Cheryl has been spotted at this event or that protest, I know that I am not the first to suggest that Cheryl succeeded in cloning herself.

“Activists in the D.C. metro area now hold the collective and heavy responsibility to keep the history of our AIDS activism, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activism, our drag performances and our political persistence alive. It will take hundreds of us to hold this history, these memories and the witness that Cheryl once singularly held. 

“Cheryl made Washington, D.C., a more dynamic, richer city. We will not only miss Cheryl and the record of events she held, but also her role in the political change she surely would have helped to fulfill. Thank you, Cheryl, for living the life you did.”

Learn more about Cheryl Ann Spector's legacy and plans for an upcoming memorial service.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.