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November 10, 2008        OutcomeBuffalo > News

Dr. James Haynes- Buffalo Gay Activist Pioneer, Noted Professor of Biology

BUFFALO — Dr. James Haynes, passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2008. Although Dr Haynes had been in poor health for the past several years, his passing was sudden. Jim had recently indicated that he had planned to attend the annual GLYS Gayla on November 13th. Dr. Haynes was 74.

A native of Popular Bluff, Iowa, Dr Haynes came to Buffalo in the late sixty's to take a position as professor of Biology at Buffalo State College.

Not long after Dr. Haynes arrival in Buffalo he began to initiate and involve himself in gay and lesbian civil rights action and groups. In 1970 Dr Haynes was a founding member of The Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier. The Mattachine Society was the first gay and lesbian civil rights organization in Western New York. The group was responsible for the creation of the first glbt community centers, newspaper, The Fifth Freedom. The group also sponsored many community dances at a time when it was illegal to dance with a person of the same gender at an establishment licensed to serve alcohol.

Dr. Ross Hewitt and Dr. Haynes led a workshop in 1983 about AIDS and the health crisis among gay men. It was out of this workshop that the activities that lead to the formation todays Aids Community Services was initiated. Dr. Haynes later served as an officer and board member of Aids Community Services of Western New York.

Ron Silverio, CEO of Aids Community Services told Outcome that "I am saddened by his loss. Jim was an outstanding early board member of Aids Community Services and work very hard to keep the gay community healthy especially through prevention issues."

In 1983, Jim was a founder and Board member Gay & Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York. Jim and his partner Don Licht served on the GLYS board for 25 years. In 2006, GLYS made Jim a Board member Emeritus. The education room at GLYS is named after Dr.Jim Haynes and Don Licht.

Haynes was a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology at The State University of New York College at Buffalo. Dr. Haynes had received his Ph.D at Iowa State University. Dr. Haynes was a life time member, Sigma Xi, the national science fraternity.

Dr. Haynes areas of study included - mycology; phycology– taxonomic, ecological, ethnomycological, and developmental studies of fungi; taxonomic, ecological, and developmental morphological studies of algae; AIDS education.

During the past several years Dr. Haynes presented a series of lectures at Museum of Science entitled "Further Studies: Flora and Fauna of the Galapagos Islands"

Jim is survived by his partner of 40 years Donald Licht. In 2007 they celebrated their anniversary and were legally married in Canada.

Jim and Don were not only well known for being involved and participating in so many glbt events and causes but also for their faithfully restored their Victorian period home in their downtown Buffalo neighborhood. To enter their home during the Christmas season was to walk back into the 1880's right down to the candle lit Christmas tree and claret punch.

In addition to his spouse and partner Don Licht, Dr. Haynes is also survived by two brothers and many dear friends and the many people that Jim and Don worked with in their community activism and in the fight against Aids/HIV.

Haynes was a member of New York State Commission of Gay Concerns, The commission, created by then Governor Mario Cuomo, published a report that effectively caused the enactment of the domestic partner law for New York State employees

Dr. Haynes was also the 1981 recipient of the Gay Community Service Award, Editor, The Journal of Homosexuality member, Professionals Working in Human Sexuality, the faculty adviser to the gay & lesbian student organization at Buffalo State College, contributed to the Encyclopedia of Sexuality, edited by Dr.Vern Bullough, and a member of "The 100 Club", the original group of supporters that formed the last incarnation of a Gay & Lesbian Community Center. The center was located on West Delavan Ave. in Buffalo.

Services will be held in the spring.

Tim Moran

Spot Coffee Bryant & Stratton


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