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Oprah Winfrey posts Pride Month tribute to gay brother who died of AIDS complications

Oprah pride month message gay brother died AIDS tribute
instagram @oprahdaily

“How different his life might have been had be lived in these times,” Winfrey said of her brother, Jeffrey Lee.

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Oprah Winfrey has posted a Pride Month tribute to her gay brother, Jeffrey Lee, who died of AIDS complications in 1989.

Winfrey shared the tribute on her Oprah Daily site, which is behind a paywall, and on Instagram, which is available to all.

“It was 35 years ago that my younger brother, Jeffrey Lee, died from AIDS,” she said in an Instagram video. “He was 29 years old. The year was 1989, and the world was an extremely cruel place, not just for people suffering from AIDS, but also for LGBTQ people in general.”

“I often think if he’d lived, he’d be so amazed at how much the world has changed, that there actually is gay marriage and a Pride Month,” she noted. “How different his life might have been had he lived in these times. In a world that saw and appreciated him for who he was rather than attempting to shame him for his sexuality.”

Winfrey had previously opened up about her brother in a speech at the GLAAD Media Awards in March. “Many people don’t know this, but 35 years ago, my brother, Jeffrey Lee, passed away when he was just 29 years old from AIDS,” she said at the Beverly Hills ceremony, at which she received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award. “Growing up at the time we did, in the community we did, we didn’t have the language to understand or speak about sexuality and gender in the way we do now. At the time, I didn’t know how deeply my brother internalized the shame he felt about being gay. I wish he could have lived to witness these liberated times and be here with me tonight.”

In her Instagram Pride post, she added that everyone should have the right to “love who they want to love and be the person they most want to be.”

“I wish for you the continued freedom to rise to the truest, highest expression of yourself as a human being,” she concluded.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.