New York Times: Richard A. Heyman Dies at 59; One of the First Openly Gay Mayors, September 17, 1994

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Published: September 17, 1994. Copyright New York Times.

Richard A. Heyman, a former Mayor of Key West, Fla., who was among the first openly gay Americans to be elected to public office, died on Friday. He was 59 and lived in Key West.

He died of pneumonia that was brought on by AIDS, said his former assistant, June Keith.

Mr. Heyman was elected to the Key West City Commission in 1979 and elected Mayor in 1983. He stepped down after serving a two-year term, then ran again and won in 1987.

According to organizations that track the political involvement of homosexuals, Mr. Heyman was one of a small group of openly gay politicians who in the early 1980's were the first to be elected to local offices around the country.

"When he was elected to the city commission there were very few if any openly gay and lesbians who had been elected to any public office in this country," said Michael Dively of Key West, who in the 1960's and 1970's served six years in the Michigan Legislature without disclosing he is homosexual.