Deaths Hub




Gay 'Survivor' Contestant Caleb Bankston Dies in Train Accident

Caleb Bankston, who competed on Survivor: Blood vs. Water with his fiancé Colton Cumbie, died in a train derailment at Birmingham's Alabama Warrior Railway where he worked, according to People.

AL.com adds: Bankston

Cumbie's Twitter account is protected but according to The Daily Mail, he wrote, 'I just wish it was me....'

Details of the accident are not known.

Caleb, who was a Locomotive Engineer/Conductor at Alabama Warrior Railway, according to his Facebook page, finished in the top 10 when he competed with Colton on Blood vs. Water.

"Caleb was an amazing man and friend," fellow contestant Aras Baskauskas told PEOPLE. "One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I've ever come across. I am gutted by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

TMZ updates:

Bankston -- a contestant on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" last year  -- was checking on something in the small space between two of the cars when the train went off the tracks. Cops say the rear car slammed into the forward car ... with Bankston caught helplessly in between.

Since this is an industrial accident, Birmingham PD says the Federal Railroad Administration and the railway company’s safety officer will conduct separate investigations.

So far, it is unknown what caused the derailment. We're told there was one oPublishther worker on the train at the time of the crash ...  he was not injured.

Bankston was one of the kindest, most patient Survivor contestants in recent memory.

Watch a scene that displays the devotion to his fiancé Colton, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay 'Survivor' Contestant Caleb Bankston Dies in Train Accident" »


Dr. Maya Angelou Dead at 86

Angelou

Poet, author, actress, and civil rights advocate Dr. Maya Angelou has died at her home in North Carolina at the age of 86, according to Piedmont News station MyFOX8.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning. Angelou had been reportedly battling health problems. She recently canceled a scheduled appearance of a special event to be held in her honor.

Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston.

Angelou's last tweet, published five days ago:

...Angelou is famous for saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

"And Still I Rise"


Storme DeLarverie, Who Fought Police at Stonewall Riots, Dies at 93

Storme DeLarverie, a 93-year-old veteran activist who took part in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, died on Saturday morning in her sleep.L

DelarverieThe New York Times did a powerful story on her four years ago. You can read it here.

Wrote Manny Fernandez:

"The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching."

I also posted about DeLarverie back in 2009 when she was facing eviction from her apartment in NYC's Chelsea Hotel.

Here is her page on the Stonewall Veterans' Association website.

DelarverieThe Bronx LGBTQ Center sent out this remembrance of DeLarverie:

The Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply saddened by the loss of a pioneer of the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, Stormé Delarverie. Often referred to as the "Rosa Parks" as the gay rights movement, Stormé was a fierce woman who stood up for our community on countless occasions. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2014.

Stormé was an amazing and warm individual who spent her life taking care of people. It didn't matter if they were lesbian, gay, straight, young, old, transgender, questioning, bisexual, Black, White, Latino -- she treated everyone with the same warmth, compassion, kindness, conviction, courage, strength of spirit, and love. This led her to be dubbed the unofficial mother of our community, especially by those who knew her.

She was not someone who tolerated injustice, though she faced it on an almost daily basis throughout much of her life. Stormé was a Black lesbian who often presented as a Black man, although she could easily have passed for a White woman -- she choose not to do so. Her love of people made Stormé an advocate, and she stood up to all injustice whenever she encountered or heard about it.

It was this conviction that led her to change the world for all of us, for the better. Stormé is credited as having thrown on of the first punches during the Stonewall Uprising in June, 1969. But it was her ongoing effort throughout decades of caring for our community that most people who knew her, remember her.

A celebration of her life and immeasurable contributions to the modern Gay Civil Rights Movement will be held on Thursday, May 29th from 7-9pm at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker Street (@ 6th Avenue), New York, NY. All are welcomed to honor this woman who forever changed our lives and helped launch the movement that will bring us equality.

Thank you Storme, and rest in peace.

(top image via NYT)


Actor Bob Hoskins Dead at 71

Hoskins

British actor Bob Hoskins, seen above portraying J. Edgar Hoover in Nixon (1995), has died at the age of 71, the AP reports:

A family statement released Wednesday by agent Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia. His wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack, said: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob."

In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting.

Hoskins appeared in dozens of other films including Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Hook.


Trans Filmmaker's Suicide Spurs Bill For Accurate Trans Death Certificates

Lee_atkins

The suicide and posthumous misgendering of transgender filmmaker and activist Christopher Lee (pictured left) has compelled California Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (pictured right) to introduce a state bill that would reflect a transgender person’s chosen gender identity on their death certificate.

Lee — who was the first female-to-male Grand Marshal of San Francisco’s 2002 Pride Parade and founded the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival — committed suicide on December 22, 2012. But when his death certificate arrived, it had his female birth name on it and listed his gender as female, even though Lee’s driver’s license said male.

This happened in part because Lee did not undergo gender reassignment surgery (it's cost-prohibitive, not always covered by insurance and not always worthwhile to some trans people), and because of antiquated state laws.

The California Report explains:

Lieutenant Riddic Bowers of the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau. He says a driver’s license is not enough to override anatomy. An updated birth certificate would work, but that requires a court order. And until 2012 getting a court order meant getting surgery.

“Barring that, we have to rely on the documentation that exists, someone’s existing birth certificate and their correlating anatomical description,” Bowers says.

Family opinion is also a factor, and, under current law, next-of-kin has the final word. This is controversial. Many transgender people are estranged from relatives who are uncomfortable with their gender transition.

Lee wasn't in close contact with his family...

Atkins bill would change two key things. First, it would require coroners and funeral directors to record a person’s gender identify rather than anatomical sex. Second, if there’s a dispute, a driver’s license or passport would be sufficient legal documentation to trump family opinion.

If such documents are unavailable, the deceased’s next of kin will decide the gender. 

Atkins’ bill — known as Assembly Bill 1577 or the Respect After Death Act — was filed on January 30, 2014 and is sponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California.


British Journalist, Model, and LGBT Ally Peaches Geldof Dead at 25

Peaches Geldof, the second daughter of musician Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, has died at the age of 25, the BBC reports:

GeldofPolice say they were called to an address near Wrotham, Kent following a report of concern for the welfare of a woman on Monday afternoon.

The woman, aged 25, was later pronounced dead by South East Coast Ambulance Service.

"At this stage, the death is being treated as unexplained and sudden," said a statement from Kent Police.

Geldof was a tv host and former journalist with The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. She also worked as a model.

Geldof was also a staunch LGBT ally. Among her statements for equality was one she made in 2012 in a column in The Independent:

"For a country and culture that declares ourselves so progressive, our governments, citizens and, of course, our churches, can be small-minded bigots at the best of times. One day we'll look back on the gay marriage ban as we look back on historical events like apartheid. Because in the end, that's what it is - pointless, futile segregation."

Read her full column here.


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