Gay activist Paul Varnell dies…

Paul Varnell, a longtime columnist for the gay press, died Dec. 9 of complications from pneumonia and a stroke. He was 70.

Varnell taught for several years at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, but because he never completed his dissertation ( his specialty was Jonathan Swift ) , he never received tenure and eventually left his post. At Northern, he headed the education committee of the Gay/Lesbian Union from 1977 to 1982.

Varnell held nontraditional jobs and began his activism in full force in Chicago. He was a board member of Parents and Friends of Gays in Chicago from 1983 to 1984; chaired the Media Committee of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force from 1983 to 1990 ( for part of that time he was also IGLTF’s research director ) ; was a member of the Chicago AIDS Task Force from 1982 to 1990; was a co-founder of CARGO, the Chicago Area Gay Republican Organization, in 1984; and helped to promote the Gay History Month founding in 1994 ( some sources list him as co-founder, but he was not a founder of the event, though he was very supportive of the efforts ) .

via Windy City Times – PASSAGES Writer, activist Paul Varnell dies – 924.

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