“Jeanne Cordova died this morning at 4:30 a.m.,” close friend Ivy Bottini posted on Facebook. “Our community has lost a guard at the gate of hatred and I have lost my Best Butch Bud of over 40 years. There will never be another Lesbian Activist like Jeanne. She was one of a kind. A true innovator. And a hell of a business woman. But right now I am grieving her lost presence, her laughter, her fit, and the love we both had for each other. Here’s to you, Jeanne, you will always live in my heart.”
Another close friend, Robin Tyler, posted a picture with Bottini, Jean O’Leary, Cordova and herself with the caption:
“This picture was taken in the 1980’s. Jeanne Cordova (next to me) has just passed away. Next to her, O’Leary, my other dear butch friend, passed away years ago. I am older then both of them. Loss is so hard and I am overwhelmed by sadness.”
In September, Cordova wrote a letter to her friends and followers called “A Letter About Dying” and she also made a $2 million donation to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the largest gift to the organization in it’s 25-year history.
“Being an organizer and journalist in the lesbian, gay, feminist, and women of color communities—and loving it–has been the focal point, of my life,” Cordova wrote. “It has been a wild joyous ride. I feel more than adequately thanked by the many awards I have received from all the queer communities, and through all the descriptions and quotes in history books that have documented my role as an organizer, publisher, speaker, and author. Thanks to all of you who have given me a place in our history.”
Cordova founded four lesbian conferences, the national newsmagainze The Lesbian Tide, was the human rights editor of the Los Angeles Free Press and the president of the Stonewall Democratic Club among other things. She also published an award-winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love and Revolution.
“Jeanne’s legacy lives on in the countless people she mentored along the way,” Karin Quimby wrote on the Human Rights Campaign tribute to Cordova. “Our thoughts go to Lynn Ballen, Jeanne’s spouse for over 25 years, and to the other chosen and dear family and friends that sustained Jeanne throughout her life.”
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