Helen Garfinkle

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #101, Spring 2003.

With great sadness, I must relate to you the death of Helen Garfinkle on November 7th after a long illness. Helen was a tireless worker bee and longtime organizer of the Washington DC Transgender Community. She was best known as the President and Vice-President of the Washington-Baltimore Alliance, the oldest continuous transgender support group in the area. She was a volunteer for many, many national transgender conferences, including Fantasia Fair, Southern Comfort, the IFGE and True Spirit Conferences. She also was a staunch member of It?s Time, Maryland!, lobbying openly as a crossdresser from 1995 to 1998 for four different pro-transgender bills introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.
Helen was someone who could always be counted on to do what had to be done. She touched many lives and hearts with her love for her MTF sisters and FTM brothers. The Washington, DC transgender community will miss her community spirit, kindness, commitment and compassion. I will miss her as a neighbor, dear friend, comrade and sister.

Jessica Xavier

Your editor had a brief chat with Helen in September at Southern Comfort. She looked drawn as a result of her ongoing illness, but was hard at work at the registration desk, volunteering freely of what turned out to be her limited time. Helen was a kind, dear spirit. We shall all miss her?Ed.