Vancouver queer activist David Holtzman dies of heart attack
Vancouver's queer community has lost one of its most devoted and respected members. Local community organizer and activist David Holtzman died of a heart attack on Tuesday (April 10).
Holtzman was on holiday in Palm Springs, California, with his partner Peter Regier at the time of his death.
He had worked for 25 years in the social-profit sector and was well-known within Vancouver's queer communities.
He was the director of operations and human resources at Out on Screen (which presents the Vancouver Queer Film Festival), and had previously been the executive director of A Loving Spoonful, the executive director of Leadership Vancouver, and the development director of Friends for Life. He had also worked for the Department of External Affairs, the Positive Living BC Red Ribbon Advisory Council, the Canadian Council on Learning, Rick Hansen's Man in Motion World Tour, and Expo 86.
"Community and community development excites me because it affects all of us," Holtzman wrote on his LinkedIn profile. "It's the challenge that lies in consciously creating the physical and social communities we want….I feel humbled and very fortunate to live in the best country in the world and most livable city. Yet I think we can do better in the way we live, work and play together and the way we steward our planet. What legacy do we want to leave for our children and their children."
Holtzman and Regier received high-profile media attention when they were allegedly gaybashed in June 2010 by two brothers. The trial for the case began this year on March 20. Both Holtzman and Regier recently testified against their alleged attackers. The trial failed to conclude by its originally scheduled end date on March 26 due to delays and is scheduled to resume on October 1.
After the attack, both Holtzman and Regier became prominent figures in the effort to counter hate crimes against Vancouver's queer communities. Holtzman had been devoted to advocacy work for numerous causes.