Advocate Lois Bates, a beloved figure in Chicago's LGBT community, died November 17 after a long illness. She was 41.
Bates, who was transgender, was known for her work with Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, where she helped create support groups for transgender youth and adults, and also worked to boost HIV prevention. She was the lead facilitator of the country's first Centers for Disease Control and Prevention AIDS awareness program that was created specifically for transgender women of color, the Chicago Tribune reports. Her career in health advocacy and as a licensed minister took place after she served in the Persian Gulf in the Navy, prior to transitioning.
Despite enduring kidney failure for 15 years, Bates was described by former colleagues as optimistic, religious, and "one of the funniest
people you would ever meet."
"She was a sister to thousands of trans men and women," friend June LaTrobe told the Tribune. "She was there to listen, to advise. She was a fierce advocate for the fair, equal and inclusive representation of trans people."
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