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Prominent LGBTQ Rights Lawyer, Activist Ends His Life in Protest

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Prominent LGBTQ Rights Lawyer, Activist Ends His Life in Protest

A fierce fighter of LGBTQ rights ended his life by setting himself on fire in a Brooklyn park.

60-year-old David S. Buckel died Saturday in a protest suicide, after warning major news outlets of his intentions. His messages to major media powerhouses, such as The New York Times, detailed his dissatisfaction with the world’s use of fossil fuels that harm the environment. “Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result – my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves,””Buckel wrote in his email to the Times. “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather A life of privilege requires actions to balance the harm caused, and the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility. For if one does not leave behind a world better for having lived in it, all that remains are selfish ends, sometimes wrapped in family or nation.”

Buckel died in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, prompting condolences from across the country. Buckel was well known for serving as the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson. Buckel successfully argued that a county sheriff had failed to properly protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was viciously murdered. The case gained national recognition following the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry.” Actress Hillary Swank won an Oscar for her portrayal of Teena.

Following that case, Buckel went on to work for Lambda Legal, a major LGBT rights organization that expressed its sadness over his death on its website.

“The news of David’s death is heartbreaking. This is a tremendous loss for our Lambda Legal family, but also for the entire movement for social justice,” the group said in a statement. “David was an indefatigable attorney and advocate, and also a dedicated and loving friend to so many. He will be remembered for his kindness, devotion, and vision for justice.”

Read the full statement HERE.

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