Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 14:28:19 -0700 (PDT)

Obituary: Asian American Gay Pioneer

Kiyoshi Kuromiya, the leading AIDS activist who founded Critical Path AIDS Project in Philadelphia, died May 10 in Philadelphia from complications from AIDS.

A Japanese American born in the Heart Mountain "Relocation" Camp during World War II, he eventually settled in Philadelphia. An advocate of a more reasonable age of consent, he was a gay activist from his youth and a pioneer in early gay liberation. He was later featured in Arthur Dong's 1995 film, Out Rage '69. A grassroots activist, he was active in anti-war movement, was clubbed in the south trying to register voters, a member of SDS, and founded the Philadelphia Gay Liberation Front. He also worked for a long time with Buckminster Fuller, collaborating with Fuller on the book Critical Path (1980) as well as other titles. He served on an NIH panel on alternative therapies and was an advocate of the medical use of marijuana, operating a free cannabis club, and using it himself for "complementary therapy". He became lead plaintiff in 1997 in a federal case (Kuromiya et al v. USA) seeking to legalize medical marijuana. He argued, "Without marijuana, I will waste away and perish. If I use marijuana for my health, I am violating federal criminal laws and I risk certain death in prison."

He affected countless individuals with his inspiration and dedication. He will be sorely missed. Critical Path will continue to carry on his legacy.

I interviewed Kiyoshi on Subversity radio program on KUCI on February 20, 1996 when he was a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit against the federal Communications Decency Act. Kiyoshi fought for the right to disseminate AIDS and sexually explicit information on the Internet through Critical Path's web-site.

A transcript of his March 21, 1996 testimony in court on the case appears at: Transcript.

A news account of his reaction when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law last year is at: News Account.

An obituary appears in the Critical Path home page: Critical Path.

A 1996 interview with him in POZ is at: POZ interview 1996.

He also wrote a profile on himself in POZ last May: POZ May 1999.

An article on the medical marijuana case is at: Med marijuana.

The negative decision in that case is at: Med marijuana decision.

Daniel C. Tsang
Host, Subversity, now Fridays, 5-6 p.m.
KUCI, 88.9 FM [Live links at: Live]
 selected shows available as RealAudio files
Subversity, KUCI, PO Box 4362, Irvine CA 92616