David Mixner. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for GLAAD)

b. August 16, 1946

“Issues come and go; values and principles never come and go. They are the core of your essence and who you are.”

David Mixner is a human rights activist, a political operative and a best-selling author. Newsweek once named him the most powerful gay man in America.

Mixner was born in New Jersey to a family of moderate means. His father worked on a corporate farm. His mother was a bookkeeper. In high school, Mixner supported Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and demonstrated for civil rights.

In 1964 Mixner enrolled at Arizona State University, where, in addition to civil rights, he engaged in antiwar activism. He entered his first same-sex relationship with a man he refers to as “Kit.” When Kit died in an automobile accident, the heartbroken Mixner could only attend the funeral as a friend, fearing Kit’s parents would learn their son was gay.

After Kit’s death, Mixner transferred to the University of Maryland to be closer to the political action in Washington. His activism soon took precedence, and he dropped out of college. He became a grassroots organizer for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, which coordinated the 1967 March on the Pentagon, a defining moment in the antiwar movement.

During the height of the AIDS epidemic, Mixner became an organizer and a fundraiser, lobbying for the government to proactively address the crisis. He lost hundreds of friends to the virus, including the love of his life, Peter Scott. He worked on AIDS prevention and treatment projects in the U.S. and abroad, including in Russia and Africa.

Mixner has raised tens of millions for charitable causes and political candidates. He worked on more than 75 elections as a campaign manager, fundraiser or strategist. He was instrumental in Bill Clinton’s 1992 election and served as President Clinton’s unofficial advisor on LGBT issues.

Mixner helped found the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles (MECLA), a group of donor-class LGBT individuals who became involved in local politics. He served as the national co-chair of The Victory Fund, whose mission is to elect LGBT politicians and allies. He is a former member of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party Delegate Selection Committee.

Mixner is the author of three best sellers, including his critically acclaimed memoir, “Stranger Among Friends” (1997). In 2014 he premiered in “Oh, Hell No!,” the first of his three autobiographical one-man shows known as the “Mixner trilogy.”

In 2005 Yale University Library established the David Benjamin Mixner collection, which houses his personal books, papers, photos and other media. In 2019 he announced his retirement after 60 years of activism.

Articles & Websites








Bingham, Clara. Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul. Random House, 2016.

Mixner, David. Stranger Among Friends. Bantam Books, 1996.