Gay Rights Lawyer Fatally Sets Self on Fire for Different Cause

Gay Rights Lawyer Fatally Sets Self on Fire for Different Cause

David Buckel killed himself by lighting himself on fire Saturday in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Buckle's immolation was part of an environmental protest.

"My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves", he wrote.

Friends said that after he left the organization, Mr. Buckel became involved in environmental causes, which he alluded to in his note as the reason he made a decision to end his life by self-immolation with fossil fuels.

Mr Buckel was the leading lawyer in a case involving Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska.

In a suicide note emailed to the newspaper and several other media outlets, Buckel wrote that he had used fossil fuel to symbolise what was happening to the planet.

Buckel had a leading role in crucial same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa, while he served as marriage project director and senior counsel at Lambda Legal - which is a national organization that fights for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

"His thoughtful and engaging advocacy broke through many stubborn misconceptions and showed it was possible and necessary for our movement to speak up for bullied, ostracised LGBT young people", she said in a statement to the Huffington Post. David was an indefatigable attorney and advocate, and also a dedicated and loving friend to so many. Our hearts go out to all who knew him.

Camilla Taylor, who is the current director of Lambda Legal, told the HuffPost that they will honor his life by "continuing to fight for equality".

He had recently worked with several environmental groups, according to HuffPost, including volunteering with the Added Value Red Hook Community Farm.

He was also a well-known ecological activist, working with the NYC Compost Project, funded by the city Sanitation Department and based at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

He also talked about the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make an effort to do so and noted that privilege was derived from the suffering of others.

In the note, Buckel referenced the Tibetan monk protesters who set themselves on fire in protest the Chinese occupation in Tibet, arguably an image that has captured resistance and protests more powerfully than any other. In normally vibrant Prospect Park, where Buckel ended his life, police and firefighters gathered around what the Times calls a "grim scene". He left a suicide note in a shopping cart near his body, writing that he hoped his act would bring attention to the need to protect the environment.

Story by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

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