Sunday, September 09, 2012

Robert Navarett 
of ACT UP/LA Has Died at Age 72

My friend Peter Cashman on Friday circulated the sad news that activist Robert Navarret, pictured on the left, passed away at the end of August. I believe Navarret and I were at national demonstrations together during they heyday of ACT UP's work.

Right now, I can't place him exactly at any specific action but out of a sense of wanting to recognize his life and advocacy, I am sharing excerpts of an obituary about him. It was penned by JT Anderson, pictured on the right.

We LGBT people need to honor our comrades and colleagues when they die, whether they were high-profile names or not. They served our community well, during some truly dark and terribly deadly times, and we are wise to share obits and photos when they pass away.

A Remembrance and Celebration of Robert Navarret
by JT Anderson 

Robert Navarret, ACT UP/Los Angeles member and Radical Faerie, died at his home in Venice, California, August 30, 2012. He was born in 1940 and would have been 72 years old September 21. 

Robert was raised in Lancaster, CA, the town where Judy Garland and her family lived when her father, Frank Gumm, owned the Valley Theatre. Life in Lancaster was no Oz, however, for a gay boy in the 1940s and 50s. After graduating from high school, Robert joined the military and was stationed for a while in Turkey. 

LGBT and AIDS causes became his passion when he was arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court in 1987 and joined ACT UP/Los Angeles in the summer of 1989. Photography was his specialty and he documented many of ACT UP/LA's actions.

His compassion for people with AIDS lead him to help provide cushions for the AIDS ward at the LA County/USC hospital where many patients had been forced to endure long hours on hard benches.

He was at the historic SANOE stopping of the Rose Parade in 1990, and participated in anti-war protests, including wearing his faerie skirt at the downtown Los Angeles march against the first Gulf war. He was especially proud of his work with Clinic Defense, risking his life in many pre-dawn freeway chases to get to clinics in order to stop the domestic terrorist organization Operation Rescue from blocking women's access to legal health care. 

During his activism he also had time for the Radical Faeries, attending circles and gatherings. He was known as Mooncalf in faerie circles. He was never ashamed or afraid to wear his faerie skirt. He last wore it recently at a tribute to Harry Hay in Silver Lake. 

Robert also enjoyed photographing the physique events at Muscle Beach and photographed many of the participants in body-building competitions in California. He took classes in painting and drawing and used many of his friends as subjects. Robert was a member of the Fabulous Monsters acting troupe, providing support, building sets and acting in many productions. He loved to travel and spent extended periods of time in France, Italy, China and Tibet. 

Robert is survived by two sisters and many family members, and by countless friends and fellow activists.

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