Lesbian Lobbyist, Activist Bettie Naylor Dies at 84

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com April 19 2012 6:06 PM ET

Bettie Naylor, a founding member of the Human Rights Campaign and the National Women's Political Caucus died Thursday. She was 84.

Naylor was a staunch LGBT and women's rights activist, with ties to several organizations like Equality Texas, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and AIDS Services of Austin. She was also a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and has been an influential figure in Texas's progressive politics for decades. Leaders for Annie's List, a fund raising organization for progressive women that launched with Naylor's help, was coincidentally planning to honor her during their annual luncheon next month.

In addition to helping establish the HRC, Naylor was a leader in starting organization's steering committee in Austin, Texas.

"Bettie was a tireless advocate and never stopped working to ensure that members of our community received the rights, dignity, and respect that all people deserve," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement Thursday. "Bettie was driven by a desire to create a future where kids never had to be ashamed of who they were, but could instead live openly and without fear. Today, we live in a country where many loving, committed same-sex couples can marry and start families, where many students can thrive in their communities without fear of violence, and where a growing number of businesses are recognizing the importance of protecting their LGBT employees--these are all part of Bettie’s lasting legacy.”

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Naylor died in her sleep. She is survived by her wife Libby Sykora.