WEST HOLLYWOOD—Matt Palazzolo, a well-known LGBTQ activist, writer and actor, passed away on Tuesday, January 9 while hiking in Australia.
Palazzolo, 33, served on the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board (LGAB) for 8 years, having been tapped for the position first by City Councilman Abbe Land and then re-appointed by Councilman John Duran. As an important member of the LGAB, Palazzolo helped city officials in issues that could impact the LGBTQ community. He also served on the Christopher Street West board.
Palazzolo died during a hike in Australia. While making his way up a ten-mile stretch of Mount Sonder in Central Australia, Palazzolo became separated from his hiking partner. His partner proceeded back down the mountain and to a parking lot where he notified Australian authorities of Palazzolo’s disappearance.
The authorities got to work searching for Palazzolo. He was missing for over three hours in the 108 degree heat, before his body was finally discovered more than a thousand feet from the designated hiking trail. He died of heat stroke.
In addition to his work on the LGAB, Palazzolo helped organize events for Sam Borelli’s candidacy for city council, as well as Jeffrey Prang’s. Prang went on to become the Los Angeles County Assessor.
Palazzolo helped to put together a “No on Prop 8” rally. The rally drew together around 12,000 people to fight the 2008 bill, which was going to put a ban on same-sex marriage.
He also appeared as an actor and writer on a number of shows, including “Bloomers,” “Stone Fruit,” and “Switched at Birth.”
Palazzolo’s father, Pat Palazzolo, posted a heartfelt message of pride for his son after receiving the news. He references a video posted earlier, of Matt Palazzolo at his Prop 8 rally:
“Dear family and friends,
There were times when I reacted with resentment when people acted or spoke badly towards or about my son Matt because of his sexuality. But he seemed to always react with compassion, love and understanding.
He told me once that everybody has their own timetable for understanding what they previously didn’t understand.
But he was also a determined advocate for gay rights, determined to bring awareness and knowledge to those who didn’t yet have it. This video was one moment from Matt’s young life that we are all so proud of.”