Eric Rofes
BornAugust 31, 1954
BirthplaceCommack, New York
DiedJune 26, 2006
Place of deathProvincetown, Massachusetts
Alma materHarvard University
University of California, Berkeley
University professor

Eric Rofes (August 31, 1954 — June 26, 2006) was a gay activist, feminist, educator, and author who wrote or edited 12 books.

Life and works

Rofes was a native of Brooklyn, New York and a graduate of Harvard University. He received a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995 and a doctorate in social and cultural studies in 1998.[1]

He was appointed to the White House Conference on the Family in 1980. He became director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in the 1980s.

In 1989 Rofes became executive director of the Shanti Project, a nonprofit AIDS service organization in San Francisco. He resigned in 1993, following an audit that questioned how the group had spent federal funds.

In 1998, while doing his PhD at UC Berkeley, Rofes wrote Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures, in which he argued that the AIDS crisis had passed and gay men needed to free themselves from the sense of emergency and victimhood.[2] A review in The Nation described Dry Bones Breathe as "perhaps the most important book about gay male culture and community of the past decade." However, the book has also been castigated for only limning the experiences of 'middle-class, urban, white, gay men' instead of being more socially inclusive.[3]

Rofes was a professor of Education at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and served on the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and White Crane Institute.

Rofes was in Provincetown, Massachusetts,[4] working on his 13th book when he died of a heart attack. Humboldt State has established the Eric Rofes Center as a new program in his honor to continue his work in gay activism.

One of the last projects Rofes worked on was the creation of a series of "Gay Men's Health Leadership Academies" to combat what he saw as a "pathology-focused understanding of gay men" in safe-sex education.[5] These workshops have continued as a continuation of his legacy.


  • 'The Kids' Book of Divorce (1983)
  • "I Thought People Like That Killed Themselves" Lesbians, Gay Men and Suicide (1983)
  • The Kids' Book About Parents (1983)
  • The Kids' Book About Death and Dying (1997)
  • Socrates, Plato, & Guys Like Me (1985)
  • Gay Life (1986)
  • Living with AIDS on Long Island (1989)
  • Reviving the Tribe (1996)
  • Opposite Sex (1998)
  • Dry Bones Breathe: Gay Men Creating Post-AIDS Identities and Cultures (1998)
  • Youth and Sexualities (2004)
  • The Emancipatory Promise of Charter Schools (2004)
  • A Radical Rethinking of Sexuality & Schooling (2005)


  1. Eric RofesGay Activist, Author”, The Washington Post, July 8, 2006, <>. Retrieved on 26 October 2007 
  2. Eric Rofes, Commentator on Gay Issues, Dies at 51 - New York Times
  3. Journal of Homosexuality, volume 53, issue 3, 'Gay Activism and Scholarship from the Front Lines: Contributions of Eric Rofes – A Memoriam' by Donald C. Barrett
  4. Eric Rofes - scholar, educator, gay men's health activist
  5. White Crane #66, Eric Rofes - Gay Bodies, Gay Selves

External links

Wikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Eric Rofes. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.