Politics

Robbi Mecus, Who Helped Foster L.G.B.T.Q. Climbing Community, Dies at 52

Robbi Mecus, a New York State forest ranger who led search-and-rescue missions and became a prominent voice within the L.G.B.T.Q. climbing community, died after falling about 1,000 feet from a peak at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Thursday. She was 52.

Her death was confirmed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where she worked for 25 years.

Ms. Mecus, who worked mostly in the Adirondacks, searched for and rescued lost and injured climbers facing hypothermia and other threats in the wilderness. Last month, she helped rescue a frostbitten hiker who was lost in the Adirondack Mountains overnight.

At age 44, she came out as transgender, she said in a 2019 interview with the New York City Trans Oral History project. She then worked to foster a supportive community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning climbers in the North Country of New York.

“I want people to see that trans people can do amazing things,” she said in an interview for a climbing website, goEast, in 2022. “I think it helps when young trans people see other trans people accomplishing things. I think it lets them know that their life doesn’t have to be full of negativity and it can actually be really rad.”

Basil Seggos, former commissioner of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, called Ms. Mecus a “pillar of strength” and a tremendous leader for L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights, noting she was “always there” for the most difficult rescues and crises.

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