James B. Levin, an early member of the New York Law Group (earliest predecessor of LeGaL), died in Texas on January 24, age 78. Jim earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and both a PhD and JD from Columbia University, and was a member of the NY Bar. He was an English professor for many years at City College of New York, where he introduced one of the first gay studies courses in the nation and published a book in 1983 about gay novels. He was a founding member and early president of Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats, and a president of the Gay Academic Union.
He marched in NYC’s first Gay Pride March in 1970, and many subsequent marches. He was on the Executive Board of Americans for Democratic Action. Mayor Ed Koch appointed him to the NYC Human Rights Commission in 1983, and he was active in achieving passage of the NYC Gay Rights Law, finally accomplished in 1986. He was a board member of the Bar Association for Human Rights of Greater New York during the 1980s, and an active volunteer for BAHR’s Pro Bono Panel, providing services for people living with AIDS.
In retirement he moved to Texas, where he is survived by his husband, Leath Nunn. An obituary notice published in the New York Times on February 3 asked that memorial donations be made to the American Civil Liberties Union.
This item appears in the February edition of LeGaL's LGBT Law Notes. Chief Editor and writer, Professor Art Leonard