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Longtime Gay Activist Bruce Friedman Dies

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Bruce Friedman, a leader in LGBTQ political groups in New York as well as in the synagogue serving the city’s queer community, died September 24 after a long battle with leukemia. He was 70.

A native of the Bronx, Friedman joined Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST) in 1975 and was elected to its Board of Trustees the following year. His close friend there, the late Arthur Strickler, an out gay Democratic district leader and activist, got Friedman involved in politics and Friedman became a vice president of the Village Independent Democrats.

A Queen resident since 1984, Friedman served as an officer of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens from 1997, acting as president from 2004 to 2012 before taking on the post of vice president.

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, a co-founder of the Queens club, said, “Bruce’s work led to the election of numerous LGBT-supportive public officials around the Borough of Queens. His knowledge of and love for American history and politics gave him an innate ability to vet local candidates. His contributions to the LGBT movement in Queens are numerous. His strength and spirit will be sorely missed by LGBT and non-LGBT people alike.”

New York Law School Professor Arthur Leonard, a Gay City News contributor, wrote on Facebook that Friedman “was one of the first people I met at CBST when I started attending services back in the fall of 1977, and he was instrumental in getting me involved with the leadership of the congregation by persuading the board to appoint me as co-counsel when he found out I was a lawyer!”

Friedman is survived by his sister, Margot Johnson, of Florida.

Updated 11:54 am, September 27, 2018
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