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Gay Latina leader
Yolanda Retter Vargas dies

Gay Latina leader
Yolanda Retter Vargas dies

Yolanda Retter Vargas, a pioneer of gay and Latino causes, succumbed to cancer at her Los Angeles home Saturday.

Vargas was an activist and scholar who advocated for lesbians of color. Born in Connecticut and raised in El Salvador, Vargas was a founding member of Lesbianas LatinaAmericas in 1974. She was integral to the creation of many other groups that fought for gay women of color.

For the past four years Vargas worked as head librarian and archivist at the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also was an editor and contributor on numerous gay history books, including 1997's Lambda Literary Award-winner Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance. In the late '80s and early '90s, Vargas ran the Los Angeles Public Library Chicano Resource Collection.

A memorial to her life is planned for September 29 at West Hollywood's Metropolitan Community Church. (The Advocate)

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