In Memory of Jeff Coudriet
It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I write that my former ANC colleague, my go-to LGBT advisor and friend Jeff Coudriet, died Saturday in D.C. following a year-long struggle with lung cancer. He was 48.
Outside of his super-hysterical Facebook updates about Glee, taking Caribbean cruises with his mom and who wore it well (or who usually didn’t) Jeff was a D.C. icon and gay rights leader who played a key role in efforts to repeal D.C.’s sodomy law and to pass the city’s first domestic partners law during his tenure as president of the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance and later as president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. Jeff was a fierce and passionate advocate for equal rights and human dignity for all Washingtonians and did it all with a beautiful crooked smile and a warm sense of humor.
As an ANC Commissioner Jeff spearheaded community activities to clean up the area behind Marie Reed School, created a neighborhood punch-list of projects the District government had yet to deliver to the community and was the driving force (and painter) of the Community Mural Project on the wall at the corner of California and Florida. In 2004 Jeff left ANC 1C after breaking up with his partner and moving out of his SMD — the move that Jeff would talk about by breaking into his best Tammy Wynette imitation and sing a few bars of D-I-V-O-R-C-E.
But that did not end his tenure in the District government. Jeff worked for D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6), where he is credited for creating sweeping legislation overhauled the city’s liquor laws, he served as staff director of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, and was budget guru of D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), where he worked until the time of his death.
Even though Jeff’s tenure on the ANC was short, he never forgot the importance of being a neighborhood commissioner and would always make sure that ANCs had a seat at the table when he worked for ABRA and the Council.
He was a loyal friend and loved the District of Columbia — warts and all. Jeff will be missed, mourned and remembered by the many people who knew him, but also by a city that was made all the better for his participation in its daily way of life.