Bertrum Michael Hunter, 42, who died of AIDS January 23, went by three names: To activists, he was Bert, the strong-headed leader of African American advocates who founded three generation-shaping New York groups: Gay Men of African Descent, the Audre Lorde Project and Other Countries. "He put his money and his body where his mouth was, " said friend and fellow veteran, Colin Robinson. In literary circles, he was known as B. Michael Hunter, the prolific author who wrote about his experiences growing up gay in the ghetto. He also edited the award-winning Sojourner: Black Gay Voices in the Age of AIDS. To his family, he was simply Michael, the proud son who quit a cushy IBM job to become a public school teacher. "He encouraged other to pursue their dreams, " cousin Sheilah Marby said.
Tracy Sypert, the news editor of Los Angeles' leading gay paper, died of AIDS on March 14. As the gatekeeper for Frontiers, Sypert, 38, championed objectivity. "Tracy brought a strong hand of integrity to gay journalism," said reporter Karen Ocamb, "and he was damn good editor." His journalism career began a reporter in Michigan’s Grand Rapids Press. In 1992, the California native returned to LA and tried his hand at several Wave Community Newspapers before joined Frontiers six years ago. Aslan Brooke, a contributing editor at Frontiers, said Sypert applied the same high standards to his own writing that he applied to others'. "He believed absolutely in accurate reporting without being sensationalistic," she said.