By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Bruce Friedman, former president of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, died at age 70 on Monday after a long battle with leukemia.
Friedman, who was born and raised in the Bronx to progressive Jewish parents, always had a passion for community and politics, dedicating his time to volunteering.
From an early age, Friedman recognized the importance of politics and the U.S. presidency, which is why he served as president of the student government at Wilmington College in Delaware during his sophomore year. For his junior and senior years, Friedman transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, from where he graduated with a bachelor’s in government studies. While at John Jay, he served as the program director for the college’s law club.
As if serving in student government weren’t enough, Friedman joined Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, a synagogue in New York City that welcomes LGBT members. A year later, he was elected to the board of trustees, which he served for a total of 14 years.
As an adolescent, Friedman began doing volunteer work both for local and federal political campaigns. He continued to do so until recent years.
Friedman’s political mentor, Arthur W. Strickler, a community activist and openly gay Democratic district leader from Greenwich Village, would introduce Friedman at political dinners, meetings, parades and politician events, which led to Friedman’s serving as an elected vice president of the Village Independent Democrats in Manhattan.
Shortly after, Friedman relocated to Queens, where he was introduced to the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens through a college colleague who was a member of the club. Friedman was immediately elected as club treasurer and served until 2001, when he was elected executive vice president.
“Bruce’s leadership of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens was pioneering,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “He tirelessly fought for LGBT rights at a time when it was not popular to do so. Bruce’s work led to the election of numerous LGBT-supportive public officials around the borough of Queens. His knowledge of and love for American history and politics gave him an innate ability to vet local candidates. His contributions to the LGBT movement in Queens are numerous. His strength and spirit will be sorely missed by LGBT and non-LGBT people alike. God bless Bruce Friedman.”
Friedman is survived by his sister, Margot Johnson, who currently resides in Florida.
Funeral and burial arrangements are to be announced.