Hattoy, first openly gay man with AIDS to address national convention, accused first President Bush of doing nothing about epidemic
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Bob Hattoy, an advocate for gay and lesbian issues who accused the former President Bush of doing nothing about AIDS during a nationally televised speech at the Democratic National Convention, has died. He was 56.
Hattoy, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, died Sunday of complications from AIDS, said Adrianna Shea, a special assistant to the commission.
Hattoy, the son of a mechanical engineer and a school registrar, became politically active protesting the Vietnam War and dropped in and out of college. He worked at Disneyland and for a Los Angeles city councilman before joining the staff of the Sierra Club at age 28. He was regional director for the environmental group in California and Nevada.
In 1992, just after learning he had AIDS, Hattoy delivered the convention speech.
“I don’t want to die,” he said. “But I don’t want to live in an America where the president sees me as an enemy. I can face dying because of a disease, but not because of politics.”
In 1993, he went to work for President Clinton as a deputy in the Office of White House Personnel, and was the White House liaison to the Department of Interior from 1994 to 1999. Clinton also appointed him to the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS, where he served as chairman of the commission’s research committee.
He was also a vocal advocate for gays and lesbians in the Clinton administration.
“Bob was an agitator in the best sense of the word,” said Richard Socarides, a special assistant to Clinton on gay and lesbian policies. When Clinton said he would consider limiting the deployments of gays and lesbians in the military, Hattoy said it amounted to “restricting gays and lesbians to jobs as florists and hairdressers.”
Former California Gov. Gray Davis appointed Hattoy to the state Fish and Game Commission in 2002. He was reappointed in 2003 to a six-year term.
Last month, he was elected president of the five-member commission, which adopts policies for the Department of Fish and Game, and regulates hunting, fishing and species protection efforts.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 09, 2007