Urvashi Vaid ’83, a legendary leader and visionary in the fight for LGBTQ+ and civil rights, died of cancer in May 2022, at her home in New York City. Vaid was an outspoken advocate for compassionate and progressive HIV/AIDS policy and championed the need for transformative change on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.
Among the positions she held in advocacy, Vaid served as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now the National LGBTQ Task Force). After leaving to write a book and organize, she returned as director of the Task Force think tank, the Policy Institute. She launched her career as a staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she initiated the group’s work on HIV/AIDS in prisons. Most recently, she headed The Vaid Group, a strategy and organizational development consulting firm working with social innovators to advance equity, justice and inclusion, and joined with fellow graduates Richard Burns ’83 and Katherine Grainger ’02 on the founding board of directors of The American LGBTQ+ Museum in New York City.
Viad was also an award-winning author and researcher, whose published work includes books, reports, articles and columns. She is author of the books Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics (2012) and Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Lesbian and Gay Liberation (1996). She co-edited an anthology with Dr. John D’Emilio and Dr. William Turner, titled Creating Change: Public Policy, Sexuality and Civil Rights (2000).
Vaid was a true pioneer and embodies Northeastern Law’s commitment to social justice and crafting law and social policy in the pursuit of social justice. She was also a friend and inspiration to many in our community. She is deeply missed.