Laurie McBride, an LGBTQ pioneer whose support and work for our community goes back decades, has passed at the age of 71. It happened on Friday, December 4, nearly two months after she first suffered from a stroke. She is survived by her wife of 35 years Donna Yutzy.
“Laurie McBride left us for a new adventure beyond the stars when she died from a heart attack on Friday, December 4, 2020,” Donna wrote on Facebook after her death. “She was so proud of the culture-changing accomplishments you all worked on together and I know she cherished her friendship with each and every one of you.”
Here are five things you should know about this treasured woman from our community.
1: HIV/AIDS Trailblazer. Laurie first came to attention back in 1984 when she chaired the Community Partnership on AIDS. It was one of many organizations that she was apart of throughout her illustrious career. Others in the years to come included the Mobilization Against AIDS from 1988-1990, LIFE AIDS Lobby from 1988-1992 and The National Stonewall Democratic Club from 1990-1991.
2: Groundbreaking Gay Rights Bill. She led a successful grassroots campaigns in 1986 and 1987 called “No on 69” and “No on 84”, bills that would quarantine and limit the employment of people living with HIV/AIDS at the time. Laurie partnered with law student John Duran to draft the groundbreaking “gay rights” bill, AB 101, which prohibited private employers from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.
3: Later In Life. Laurie’s commitment to pushing legislation in support of people living with HIV/AIDS continued for many years. She wrote many columns about it in Frontiers News Magazine and kept her political activism going in the late 2000’s when she was elected northern California co-chair of the California Democratic Party’s LGBT Caucus.
4: She Will Be Missed. “Laurie was a lesbian warrior,” Duran told the Los Angeles Blade. “She fought for her brothers with AIDS. So many gay men alive today are deeply indebted to Laurie for saving their lives. My heart goes out to her wife Donna. She was one of a kind, gentle and fierce at the same time.”
5: Keeping Her Memory Alive. Donna included a link to The Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento to anyone who wished to make a donation in her honor. “This scholarship has paid for the tuition of a number of young people to help them on the road to making the world a better place,” she wrote. “She was the light of my life for 35 years and I will hold every single minute of those memories in my heart forever. We will have a big Celebration of Laurie’s life in Sacramento Post-Covid. I was proud to be Laurie McBride’s wife.”