Donald W. Woods was born in Queens. He earned a bachelor's degree at the New School of Social Research and did postgraduate study in arts administration.
Donald was the public affairs director of the Brooklyn Children's Museum for five years. He then became the executive director of AIDS Films, a nonprofit company that produces AIDS education and prevention movies, and had worked there for the last two years.
He was also active in other organizations, including Art Against Apartheid, the Other Countries Cultural Foundation, the Hetrick-Martin Institute for gay and lesbian youth and the Brooklyn Arts Council. He was one of several authors of "Tongues Untied," a documentary by Marlon T. Riggs about black gay men that was shown on PBS. He also appeared in another film by Mr. Riggs, "No Regrets."
Donald died of of AIDS-related complications, at New York Hospital in Manhattan. He was 34 years old and lived in Brooklyn.
Assotto Saint, at fellow black gay poet Donald W. Woods's funeral, openly confronted the family for their hypocritical elision of Woods's gayness; outraged, especially since Woods had fought to end the repressive forms of silence that equal death for gay individuals and AIDS victims, Saint stood up and "testified" on his brother's behalf.