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It is an honor, albeit a sad one, to be invited to write this Essay in commemoration of Tom Stoddard and as commentary on his final publication.

I first met Tom in the late 1970s, when we both joined the Board of Directors of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Both of us were American Civil Liberties Union staff attorneys, Tom for the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and I for the Reproducfive Freedom Project in the national office. Later, for the last half of the 1980s, Tom was the Executive Director of Lambda during the same period that I was Director of the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights and AIDS Projects. Much of my professional life has been spent in tandem with Tom's, and his absence creates a giant gap in that world.

Not many of us are pioneers, but Tom Stoddard was. He fought for equality for lesbian and gay Americans before it was respectable; he was proudly out as a gay man before it was professionally safe to be out; and he taught one of the first courses centering on the rights of lesbians and gay men in any American law school. He lived to see the lesbian and gay civil rights struggle take its place with others as a campaign for human dignity and justice.

Publication Citation

72 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1009