Gay rights lawyer immolates self in NYC in ecology protest

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A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate has burned himself to death in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.

"It was just lying there, on its back, knees slightly bent like someone would lie on the sand at the beach", said Irena Ryjova, 44, a rollerblader who passed by at about 7 a.m., less than an hour after the immolation.

Buckel had been the lead lawyer in the case of Brandon Teena, a transgender teen who police were found to have failed to protect after he was brutally raped and later, murdered in Nebraska. He also emailed the text to several local media outlets, including The New York Times.

Friends said that after he left the organization, Mr. Buckel became involved in environmental causes, which he alluded to in his note as the reason he chose to end his life by self-immolation with fossil fuels.

He added, "Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death".

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"Honorable goal in life invites honorable objective in death", he concluded.

He'd been doing the work for years - Buckel worked on Brandon v. County of Richardson - where the sheriff's office in 2001 was found liable for failing to protect Teena.

Buckel, who lived near the park, was a renowned lawyer and activist who worked with the Marriage Project for the gay civil rights group Lambda Legal.

The case was made famous in the 1999 movie "Boys Don't Cry", for which Hillary Swank won an Oscar for portraying Teena.

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In the note, Buckel reportedly drew comparisons between his actions and those of the Tibetan monks who've self-immolated to protest Chinese rule.

"It's a very important case, not only within Nebraska but nationally", Buckel said after the $80,000 judgment against the city, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's student newspaper the Daily Nebraskan.

Buckel ran the NYC Composting Project out of Red Hook Community Farm.

"He deserves tremendous thanks for recognizing this was in many ways at the heart of what it meant to be gay for many Americans and making it a priority", Susan Sommer, a former attorney at Lambda Legal, told the Times.

Camilla Taylor, director of Lambda Legal, said in a statement to HuffPost that their organization will honor Buckel's life by "continuing to fight for equality".

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An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the suicide of David Buckel, 60, but declined to comment further.

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