Obituary: Ann Maguire

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Maguire in the 1970s. Credit: Ann Maguire.
Maguire in the 1970s. Credit: Ann Maguire.

Ann Maguire, a passionate advocate, activist, and dedicated public servant, passed away in December 2023 at the age of 80.

Born in 1943 in Worcester, Massachusetts, she leaves behind a legacy marked by her unwavering commitment to various causes.

Ann's impact on the LGBTQ+ community was profound. Founder of the iconic Somewhere lesbian bar in Boston, she played a pivotal role in shaping the community's landscape. She worked at the Homophile Community Health Center in the 1970's, and hosted the groundbreaking radio show "GayWay" on WBUR from 1973-1980.

Maguire's activism included managing winning campaigns for influential politicians, notably contributing to Representative Elaine Noble's historic election as the country's first openly gay or lesbian state-level elected official in 1974, and for Mayor Tom Menino's win in 1993. She helped Representative Sarah Peake in her first election to Provincetown selectperson in 2002.

As Mayor Ray Flynn's liaison to the gay community in Boston from 1984 to 1987, Ann spearheaded advancements in LGBTQ+ rights, championing non-discrimination protections, adoption rights, and marriage equality. She also served as Boston's Health and Human Services Director from 1987-1989 and in Menino's mayoral cabinet as Chief of Health and Human Services.

Despite the challenges faced as an out lesbian in a less accepting society, Maguire's resilience paved the way for progress and equality in the LGBTQ+ movement.

Ann dedicated herself to multiple causes. Serving on the Board of Fenway Health, co-chairing the Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Political Caucus, and founding member and Vice Chair of the Boston Lesbian & Gay Political Alliance showcased her influence in Massachusetts politics. Her tireless efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer led to the founding of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.

Ann's philanthropic spirit extended to addressing homelessness issues. She conducted the first census of unhoused people in Boston, setting a precedent for other cities. Maguire's volunteer work with shelters like Rosie's Place and the Pine Street Inn, her contributions to food pantry development, and her service on the board of Helping Our Women exemplified her dedication to improving the lives of those in need.

In 2017, Ann was honored with the Dr. Susan M. Love Award at the Women's Dinner Party. The documentary, "Ann Maguire: An American Hero," premiered in Provincetown in 2016, encapsulating the extraordinary life and legacy of this remarkable individual.

Ann Maguire's contributions to the LGBTQ+ community, breast cancer awareness, and homelessness advocacy will forever be etched in history as a testament to her enduring spirit and dedication to positive change.