Gay activist, feminist, educator, and author and editor ERIC ROFES died of a heart attack in Provincetown, MA. In 1998, while doing his PhD at U.C. 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.
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 societally inclusive. Rofes was a professor of Education at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA and served on the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and White Crane Institute.
Rofes was in Provincetown, Mass., working on his 13th book when he suffered a massive 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, with Chris Bartlett and White Crane Institute, 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,. These workshops have continued as part of his living legacy. Losing Eric was huge.