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social sciences

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Mixner, David (b. 1946)  
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In 2001, he and Dennis Bailey compiled a book entitled Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage, in which they introduce eight people who exemplified courage in the face of homophobia. The subjects include San Francisco lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon; Boston politician Elaine Noble; British actor Sir Ian McKellen; San Francisco-based politician Roberta Achtenberg; U. S. Air Force pilot Tracy Thorne; and Texas activist Dianne Hardy-Garcia.

An ardent supporter of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C., Mixner has helped raise more than a million dollars for the institution. Fittingly, it was there that he discovered a true story of gay and lesbian resistance fighters in The Netherlands during World War II.

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That story became the basis for a screenplay that he co-authored with Richard Burns, The Dunes of Nuveen. The script won the MTV Best New Screenplay award at the 2001 Los Angeles gay and lesbian film festival. Although the script has received stage readings featuring Chad Allen and Judith Light, it has not yet been filmed.

With Dennis Bailey, Mixner has co-authored another film script, Fire in the Soul, and a play, Jacob's Ladder, a historical drama that received a stage reading in New York in 2008.

In 2003, Mixner supported Representative Richard Gephardt's quest for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, and served as co-chair of his national campaign committee.

In 2006, Mixner relocated from Los Angeles to Turkey Hollow in rural Sullivan County, New York. In 2009, he moved to the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in New York City.

In 2008, he endorsed John Edwards in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and ultimately supported President Obama.

Mixner remains a major force in glbtq political engagement through his influential blog,

In May 2009, Mixner, frustrated by the failure of President Obama to fulfill his promises to the glbtq community, including the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, used his blog to call for a March on Washington to underline the lack of equal rights for glbtq Americans. Cleve Jones soon seconded the call, and then young activists across the country responded as well.

Hastily organized in only six weeks, initially without the support of the major gay rights organizations, the National Equality March attracted approximately 250,000 participants. Its focus was on the need for grassroots activism. This focus expressed a lack of faith in the gay and lesbian political establishment and the Democratic Party, which was seen as more interested in raising money from the glbtq constituency than in enacting laws that would promote equal rights.

Mixner captured the frustration he shared with the other marchers in these words: "When people tell me to be patient, when people tell me, oh lord, not now. All I can think about is how many more tears must be shed so some politicians in a back room can figure out when it's convenient to join us and to fight for freedom."

Later Mixner, one of the most successful fundraisers in the history of the Democratic Party, credited with having raised more than 15 million dollars over the years, joined other bloggers in urging gay men and lesbians not to contribute to the Democratic Party until action has been taken on glbtq issues, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

In addition to writing his own blog, Mixner also contributes to several other publications, including the Huffington Post, where among many other postings he wrote, on the occasion of Lady Bird Johnson's death in 2007, a moving reminiscence of a 1994 visit to the LBJ ranch.

Now a revered elder of the glbtq movement for equality, Mixner has received dozens of awards and recognitions for his distinguished contributions to public life, including a GLAAD media award and Arizona Equality's Barry Goldwater Award. But perhaps the most appropriate recognition he has received is the Point Foundation's Legend Award, which "is presented to an individual who has, through the course of their lifetime, achieved greatness in their professional career and unapologetically supported the LGBT community."

At the ceremony in April 2010, Mixner received kudos from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah and from his friend actress Judith Light, and was presented the award by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward Kennedy, who remarked, "My husband was honored to be in the fight with him."

Claude J. Summers

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social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

social sciences >> Overview:  Libraries and Archives

Libraries and archives have been the sources of information crucial to the difficult process of identity formation and have been significant repositories for the restoration and reconstruction of queer history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

literature >> Overview:  Political Blogs

The explosion of political blogs has served to multiply greatly the number of voices    participating in glbtq activism and to expedite the transmission of political information to glbtq communities.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

social sciences >> Overview:  Teachers

Historically, glbtq teachers have faced all manner of social pressures, including open hostiliy and expectations that they hide their sexuality; now, however, teacher groups and individuals are working to improve the climate for glbtq teachers.

social sciences >> Achtenberg, Roberta

American activist and politician Roberta Achtenberg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the United States Senate for a major political post.

arts >> Allen, Chad

Unlike many child stars, Chad Allen has successfully made the transition to accomplished adult actor; he has also come out as a gay man and become an advocate for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Ben-Shalom, Miriam

Long active in the glbtq community, Miriam Ben-Shalom was the first gay or lesbian servicemember to be reinstated to her position in the United States military after being discharged for her sexual orientation.

social sciences >> Bryant, Anita

Former beauty queen, popular singer, and orange juice pitchwoman, Anita Bryant became the poster-girl for homophobia in the late 1970s; her name continues to be a byword for bigotry.

social sciences >> Democratic Party (United States)

The American glbtq movement for equality has largely allied itself with the Democratic Party.

social sciences >> Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, in effect from 1993 until 2011, was a compromise intended to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the U. S. military, but it failed to halt discharges based solely on sexual orientation.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

social sciences >> GetEqual

The direct action group GetEqual has gained attention by its bold action, including civil disobedience, on behalf of equal rights for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Griffin, Chad

Chad Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights to sponsor a legal challenge to Proposition 8; in June 2012, he assumed the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

social sciences >> Hattoy, Robert

Political operative and advisor to President Clinton, Bob Hattoy was deeply concerned about glbtq rights and the environment.

social sciences >> Jennings, Kevin

Kevin Jennings transformed his anger at bullying and gay bashing in schools into founding the first national organization to address the homophobia experienced by glbtq youth in schools.

social sciences >> Jones, Cleve

Activist Cleve Jones is best known as the originator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, but his life as a gay man has always been firmly interwoven with his life as a political organizer.

social sciences >> Lyon, Phyllis, (b. 1924) and Del Martin (1921-2008)

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were among the founders of a lesbian liberation movement that developed and enlarged the very definition of lesbianism.

arts >> McKellen, Sir Ian

Arguably the finest Shakespearean actor of his generation, Ian McKellen was the first British subject to be knighted after publicly revealing his homosexuality, an event that proved more controversial within the gay community than in the mainstream.

social sciences >> Milk, Harvey

Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.

social sciences >> Noble, Elaine

A dedicated lesbian activist in the early years of the gay liberation movement, Elaine Noble made history as the first openly gay candidate elected to a state-level office when she won a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1974.

social sciences >> Perry, Troy

Troy Perry is the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Protestant denomination devoted to ministering to the spiritual needs of glbtq people.

social sciences >> The Point Foundation

The Point Foundation offers financial support and mentoring to college students who have been marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

social sciences >> Socarides, Richard

The son of a homophobic psychoanalyst, Richard Socarides became the first openly gay man to serve in a prominent White House staff position.

arts >> Waddell, Tom

Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell is best known for founding the Gay Games, a sports and arts event modeled on the Olympics.


Bernstein, Fred A. "Do Ask, Do Tell." New York Times (July 15, 2007):

Mixner, David, and Richard Burns. Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage. New York: Random House, 2001.

_____. "In Memoriam: Lady Bird Johnson." Huffington Post (July 13, 2007):

_____. Live from Hell's Kitchen (2009):

_____. Stranger among Friends. New York: Random House, 1996.

Ocamb, Karen. "British Prime Minister Honors David Mixner at Point Foundation Awards." LGBT POV (April 21, 2010):

Shulman, Randy. "David Mixner: Politically Speaking." Metro Weekly (July 29, 2004):


    Citation Information
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Mixner, David  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2010  
    Date Last Updated October 4, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2010 glbtq, Inc.  


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