BOISE, Idaho — Friends and family are remembering a loved one who advocated for the LGBTQ community.
Madelyn Lee Taylor passed away in April and friends say she is leaving behind a legacy that in the face of hardships and discrimination those barriers can be overcome.
“She was fearless that’s, to say the least. She was dedicated. She was not afraid to take on any challenge," said Renee McCall, pastor for the
Liberating Spirits Metropolitan Community Church in Boise.
For McCall and Judy Cross, Taylor was a mentor and a dear friend.
“We have gotten calls from all over the country of people that knew her and were impacted by what she did," Cross said.
Taylor was a Navy veteran who fought for her country, but there was another fight Taylor never gave up on and that was to be laid to rest next to the love of her life Jean Mixner at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.
“She had gone to the state and asked if she could have Jean interned with her and of course the state turned her down flat and that was not their policy and completely denied her," McCall said.
According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) it filed a lawsuit on behalf Taylor on July 7, 2014 challenging the state for not granting Taylor's request. Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham represented Taylor.
Several months later, officials approved her request after the Ninth Circuit ruled that Idaho must allow for a same-sex couple to marry in October of 2014.
“It’s a monumental moment for the LGBTQ community simply because it comes along with Taylor's conviction of social justice not for some but for everyone. That’s what Taylor believed we are equal and we are all worthy" McCall said.
Taylor was a founding member of the Metropolitan Community Church in Boise. Cross and McCall said Taylor will be missed dearly.
She will always be loved," McCall said.
"After all of her struggles, after being sick, after all of the in and out the doctor’s office, at the VA, hospital and the care center. She’s finally settled and comfortable where she wanted to be with Jean,” Cross said.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
Community members gathered May 1 at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial to pay tribute to Taylor.
One of Taylor's niece was one of the guest speakers. She said her aunt was an inspirational person.
“I look up to aunt Madelynn for her bravery and I'm so grateful to her for such a wonderful role model in my life. i have her to thank to inspiring me to the activist that i have become," Cooper said.
Cooper went on to say she considered her aunt as a "gay pioneer" in the family.
"At least for the younger generations. Knowing she was out and proud made it a little easier for me to come out myself and I'm sure other LGBTQ people in my family felt the same way," Cooper said.