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Pioneering lesbian activist dies
Regina Shavers was an outspoken advocate for LGBT elders

by David Stout . Q-Notes Staff

Regina Shavers was celebrated for championing LGBT rights and the peace and labor movements.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Regina Shavers, a trailblazing lesbian activist who was celebrated for championing LGBT rights and the peace and labor movements, died Jan. 30 after battling cancer. She was 67.

Shavers, affectionately known by family and friends as “Gigi,” was an out lesbian in high school during the 1950s. She became a peace activist in the 1960s and later founded the first gay labor caucus in New York City. She was one of the first openly LGBT leaders in New York City’s municipal labor unions.

Throughout the ’90s, Shavers worked to combat anti-LGBT violence, particularly as a member of the Mayor’s Police Council on Gay & Lesbian Concerns.

In ’95, she founded GRIOT Circle, an intergenerational and culturally diverse social service group for older LGBT and Two Spirit people of color. In 2005, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) awarded Shavers its first annual Allan Morrow Community Service Award.
The proudly self-proclaimed butch also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Senior Action in A Gay Environment (SAGE) for her outspoken advocacy for LGBT elders.

Katina Parker, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) Media Strategist for Communities of African Descent, memorialized, “Regina is a bold, dynamic force and a lover of all people. I speak in the present tense because her compassion and commitment to bringing visibility to underrepresented people will live on in all of us who take up her pioneering torch. She will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

Shavers is survived by her partner, Rev. Janyce Jackson, pastor of Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church in Newark, N.J., and their children and grandchildren.

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