(previously, Arawn Eibhlyn Llwyd)
Tryfan Morys Eibhlyn Llwyd, a long-time radical queer activist, died on March 3 in Louisville Kentucky. They were 70. Tryfan, who was known as Arawn when they lived in the Bay Area, was a person with AIDS, an AIDS activist, and an anti-racist and anti-imperialist.
Tryfan was born in 1951 in Paris Kentucky, and after the death of their mother, was raised by an aunt and uncle. They studied English literature at the University of Kentucky, and then moved first to San Diego and then to San Francisco, where they got involved in the gay liberation movement in the 1970s. They also studied Romance Languages, art and design at City College of San Francisco. After a few years teaching English as a second language in SF and Japan, they moved to Chicago in the mid-1980s where they joined the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, supporting Puerto Rican political prisoners, and doing anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizing, including the Central America Pledge of Resistance.
In 1987 they moved back to San Francisco, where they became involved in the AIDS Action Pledge, which became ACT-UP San Francisco. Tryfan was very active in the AIDS movement, becoming the third coordinator of the national AIDS activist coalition ACT NOW. Tryfan was part of Stop AIDS Now or Else, and participated in planning the Golden Gate Bridge Blockade, Stop the Opera, and the actions at the immigration and naturalization service (now ICE) and San Francisco Center. Tryfan was a member of the state and federal issues committee of ACT-UP SF and People with Immune System Disorders (PISD). Tryfan was also a member of Dykes and Gay Guys Emergency Response (DAGGER) which formed to oppose the first war on Iraq.
Tryfan worked and spoke out against all forms of oppression, including based on class, race, age, and ableism. In recent years, they were very involved in building the Palestine solidarity movement.
In 2000 Tryfan moved back to Kentucky to help take care of their aunt. They remained passionate about social justice and as they dealt with many health challenges, remained engaged with friends in the Bay and beyond through frequent and incisive Facebook posts. Last year, Tryfan announced their change in name and gender pronouns as a non-binary gender queer person.
Many in our overlapping communities have remembered Tryfan. Waiyde Palmer posted, “But beyond their activist acumen they were a loyal, kind, and unwavering friend to any and all. They lived fiercely and completely with all their being. Their passion for helping others and making this world better was unflagging even as they aged and the body refused to cooperate. They never hid from a fight – living out and proud as a Queer Person With AIDS from the beginning.”
We in LAGAI remember Tryfan from endless ACT-UP meetings, where they often facilitated as we tried to navigate some major disagreements through the consensus process. They were a good person to be with whether blockading the federal building, planning a complicated action, or attending yet another memorial. Tryfan was creative, snarky and sarcastic, and a dedicated and true radical. We missed them when ACT-UP split, and when they moved back to Kentucky, and we will continue to miss them from our world.