Monday, June 1, 2009

Robbie Greenberger, Dedicated Gay Rights Advocate, Dead At Age 20

Robbie Greenberger, a dedicated gay rights advocate, lost his fight with leukemia on August 14, 2008. Robbie was only 20 years old at the time of his death.

A self-identified bi-sexual, Robbie Greenberger was appointed Connecticut Coordinator of Stonewall Libertarians on April 6, 2007. He served in that capacity until his death.

As the Connecticut Coordinator of Stonewall Libertarians, Robbie Greenberger worked to achieve the following specific purposes:

• To reach out to those in the G.L.B.T. community and to others who are gay-friendly to encourage those with libertarian philosophical leanings to become more politically active;

• To spread the message of liberty to all who will listen;

• To influence the cultural norms of society to provide greater acceptance of all who may be considered different and to create a more receptive atmosphere for libertarian ideas;

• To educate the public regarding the benefits of personal freedom and libertarianism;

• To encourage students, young professionals, and entrepreneurs to develop their leadership skills and to learn more about how they may be able to influence society, affect the political system, and cause people to become more tolerant and respectful of others;

• To speak out whenever public officials, public figures or those with leadership positions in political parties make derogatory statements or anti-gay slurs against any individual;

• To end governmental interference and discrimination against those perceived to be living a life deviating from the norms of society;

• To liaison with all state and/or local libertarian and libertarian-leaning organizations and political groups;

• To seek out opportunities to speak, and if possible, to recruit new members, at college campuses, before state and/or local libertarian and libertarian-leaning organizations and political groups, and anywhere else that may be appropriate; and

• To sponsor and co-sponsor events that bring together libertarian and libertarian-leaning individuals who are G.L.B.T., gay-friendly and/or tolerant of those with alternative lifestyles.

In 2006, Stonewall Libertarians established an Endorsement Standard, which was a Policy Statement that Robbie Greenberger presented during his time in office to candidates from Connecticut who were seeking the endorsement of Stonewall Libertarians. Those candidates were asked whether they were in substantive agreement with the following Policy Statement, and if they were, they were asked to upload it to their campaign website:

"I believe in full equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals regardless of their sexual orientations or perceived gender identity or presentation. I would call for the immediate repeal of federal and state Defense of Marriage Acts. I would do away with the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, thus allowing our gay and lesbian service men and women to serve their country openly and proudly. I oppose the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and all state constitutional amendments seeking to define marriage as a bond between one man and one woman. I would do away with all special benefits and privileges granted to individuals on the basis of their marital status. I would like all state governments and localities to get out of the business of granting marriage licenses and allow people to enter into contractual relationships to order their lives as they see fit, but so long as the government continues to grant marriage licenses to heterosexual couples, I believe gay couples are entitled to the "equal protection" of the laws and should be allowed to obtain government issued marriage licenses as well. I do not believe the government should require religious institutions to perform marriage ceremonies that go against their church doctrine. I oppose all laws that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Americans and feel they deserve full equality under the law."

Unfortunately, Robbie needed to keep most of his gay activism a secret from his immediate family. He often told Dr. Tom Stevens, his close personal friend who was Executive Director of Stonewall Libertarians, that he felt pressured by his family to keep his bi-sexuality a secret and to not mention that fact to people at the science-fiction conventions he attended. It tortured him he could not attend the G.L.B.T. Caucus and gay-related panels held at the Farpoint and Shore Leave Conventions that were held in Hunt Valley, Maryland. However, he would often relay a message to be shared with those panel attendees so they would know he was with them in spirit.

Robbie Greenberger and Dr. Tom Stevens spoke often on the phone and would physically meet in secret at the Farpoint and Shore Leave Conventions. Robbie served as Pleasure Director and later as Chief Science Officer aboard the USS Rebel Crusader, an International Federation of Trekkers ship Dr. Tom Stevens led as Commanding Officer.

Mr. Greenberger and Dr. Stevens were making plans to take a trip together at the time Robbie's health took a turn for the worse.

The last text message sent by Robbie Greenberger to Dr. Tom Stevens was sent at 10:48 p.m. on July 22, 2008 and was in response to proposed plans for the two of them to get together. It read as follows (spelling and punctuation have been corrected):

No. Things have gotten worse for me. I can't get them to even guess when I might be allowed to go home for a day or two. Things have gotten really serious with my condition. Sorry.

In his final days, Robbie Greenberger had obtained a clear idea regarding what career he wished to pursue. He thought he would enjoy working with children facing life-threatening diseases such as leukemia. He felt he had particular insight with respect to what they were going through. There was also very little doubt in Robbie's mind that he was at his best when relating to other young people. He would have made an excellent pediatric nurse.

Robbie Greenberger will be missed.

He engaged in worthwhile endeavors and lived a purposeful life. He will be remembered!

In Liberty,

Dr. Tom Stevens
Executive Director
Stonewall Libertarians

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