This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
It was 1996, and President Bill Clinton was running for a second term against Bob Dole, the Republican candidate. In the gay/lesbian/bi/trans world, there was talk of boycotting the election to show displeasure with the center-right politics of compromise that characterized Mr. Clinton’s first term. But Carmen Vázquez was having none of it.
“To those who say Bill Clinton is Bob Dole,” she wrote in an essay in Gay Community News that September, “I say good luck trying to stave off radical right policies under a Republican administration over the next four years.”
The essay, classic Vázquez, was forceful in its argument for staying engaged and doing a better job of articulating an agenda and pushing it forward.
“As a ‘rights’ movement,” she wrote, “we have always mistaken access for accountability, happy for a place at the table even if the table we get to has just had the dessert dishes cleared out.”
Ms. Vázquez, a longtime force in the world of L.G.B.T.Q. rights and issues, first in San Francisco, then in New York, died on Jan. 27 in Brooklyn. She was 72. The cause was complications of Covid-19, said her longtime friends Carlie Steen and Erica Pelletreau.
The National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force was one of several organizations to post news of her death. Its executive director, Rea Carey, called Ms. Vázquez “one of our movement’s most brilliant activists.”