Emily Sharrer, Editor-in-Chief

For many George Mason University students, recently deceased alumnus Brian Picone will live on as a role model, teacher and friend who dedicated himself to increasing visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning issues and always lived life to the fullest.

Picone was guest teaching in Leah Perry’s Queer Theory class last Monday when he collapsed according to an e-mail sent to faculty, staff and students by Suzanne Scott, associate professor of Women and Gender Studies. Picone was rushed to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was pronounced dead according to police records. He was 22.

Picone graduated from Mason last spring with his Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Gender, Society and Human Rights and a minor in Women and Gender Studies according to Scott’s e-mail. He was also given the top academic award from Women and Gender Studies.

Shocked friends took to Facebook to share their memories of Picone and grieve the loss of a treasured part of the Mason community.

On the “RIP Brian Picone” Facebook group, friends and family members remembered Picone as an outgoing young man with a larger than life personality who inspired all those that knew him.

As of press time Sunday, over 240 students had commented on the group’s wall.

“The best thing about Brian was that he was always himself and he wasn’t afraid of anything,” read one comment on the Facebook group.

Even those that didn’t know Picone personally knew of him or had seen him perform as his drag alter-ego Brianna Spice at the annual Pride Alliance Drag Show.

“Though we never met, I knew that you were an advocate for the LGBT community who sought to create change, something which I greatly admire,” said one group member.

“Brian was a part of a loving family who fully embraced his queer identity,” said Scott in her e-mail. “At the Women and Gender Studies award ceremony last spring, Brian’s mother, father and brother were models of what a just world should replicate in its many kinds of families.”

Picone’s funeral was held on Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax and in lieu of flowers, family members asked that donations be made out to La Clinica del Pueblo or Tenants and Workers United.

“Brian taught everyone how to love themselves for who they were,” said Ryan Allen, a close friend of Picone’s. “He was a beautiful person on the inside and out and he will be missed.”