Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Passages: Del Martin

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Del Martin—the legendary lesbian activist who married her lover of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, June 16 in California—died Aug. 27 in San Francisco, Calif., according to a release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) . Martin was 87.

Pictured: Del Martin ( left ) and Phyllis Lyon cut a cake in honor of Daughters of Bilitis at a 2005 Gerber/Hart Library benefit in Chicago. Del Martin ( left ) and Phyllis Lyon with Chicagoan Chuck Renslow at a 2005 Gerber/Hart Library benefit in Chicago. Photo by Mel Ferrand

Martin and Lyon met in Seattle in 1950 and formally became partners three years later. In 1955, they were among those who started the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization. The following year, they launched The Ladder, the first widely circulated national newsletter in the United States.

Years later, Martin was the first out lesbian elected to the board of the National Organization of Women ( NOW ) , according to the NCLR release. In 1971, she urged the board to pass a resolution that made lesbian issues feminist topics.

In 1972, Martin and Lyon co-founded the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the first gay political club in the United States, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. Expanding into the area of domestic violence, Martin published the book Battered Wives in 1976.

In 1995, Martin was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.

When Martin and Lyon wed this year, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the wedding, recognized them as the first gay couple to legally exchange vows in the city, The Mercury News reported. They previously wed in 2004, but the courts overturned that marriage.

Innumerable politicians and LGBT organizations noted Martin's passing. 'Today the LGBT movement lost a real hero,' said Kate Kendell, NCLR's executive director, in the organization's statement. 'For all of Del's life, she was an activist and organizer even before we knew what those terms meant.'

In another statement, Human Rights President Joe Solmonese said, 'The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has lost one of its bravest and most admired activists. Del Martin dared for decades to fight to marry her beloved Phyllis, and by doing so became an iconic hero the LGBT community. Her death is a great loss to all of us, but her life is an inspiration.'

'It's impossible to overstate Del's importance in the struggle for LGBT rights and dignity,' said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer. 'When she and Phyllis started Daughters of Bilitis, they were nearly alone in Joe McCarthy's America. ... Everything we've accomplished—marriage rights, anti-discrimination protections in the workplace, even the ability to visit our partners in the hospital—owes a vast debt to her work and example.'

Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the only out lesbian in the U.S. Congress, said that 'Del Martin holds a place of honor in the pantheon of American civil rights leaders. She was a hero and a role model to me and countless other LGBT women and men who seek nothing more and nothing less than full equality. I offer my deep sympathies to her beloved wife, Phyllis, and pledge to carry on the work that they began.'

Besides Lyon, Martin is survived by several relatives, including daughter Kendra Mon, son-in-law Eugene Lane, granddaughter Lorraine Mon, grandson Kevin Mon and sister-in-law Patricia Lyon.

Gifts can be made to honor Martin's life and commitment, and to defeat the California marriage ban, through NCLR's 'No On 8' PAC at A public memorial and tribute celebrating Martin's life will be planned in the next several weeks.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


PASSAGES Filmmaker Barbara Hammer dies at 79 2019-03-17
PASSAGES Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91 2019-03-14
PASSAGES Longtime non-profit advocate Vicky DiProva dies 2019-03-11
Lambda Legal Mourns Death of Kansas LGBTQ Leader Stephanie Mott, Honors Legacy 2019-03-05
Urbana ally Bernadine Evans Stake dies 2019-03-03
PASSAGES Pioneering trans Jackie Shane dies at 78 2019-02-23
Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld dies 2019-02-19
PASSAGES Writer Patricia Nell Warren dies at 82 2019-02-11
PASSAGES Joseph 'Patrick' Miska 2019-02-10
PASSAGES Brian Patrick Donegan, Air Force veteran 2019-02-08
PASSAGES Grab co-owner Nagel passes away 2019-02-05
PASSAGES John Hisel 2019-02-04
PASSAGES Transgender activist 'Babs' Siperstein dies 2019-02-04
Colleagues, student remember generous gay art-history professor 2019-01-30
PASSAGES Annie O'Dowd 2019-01-16
Carol Channing dies at 97 2019-01-15
PASSAGES Al Petras, former Gay Games organizer, dies in Boston 2019-01-06
PASSAGES Lesbian suburban businesswoman Marge Bellisario dies 2019-01-06
Local passages in 2018 2019-01-02
PASSAGES Hubbard Street founder Claire Anne Bataill dies at 66 2019-01-01
NATIONAL Colorado baker, ball-culture pioneer dies, Mich. pro-trans move 2019-01-01
PASSAGES Khuleklani Diogricious 'Kaylem' Goba 2018-12-28
PASSAGES Kathleen Ada Shaw (Cathy Shaw, Coach Shaw) 2018-12-26
NATIONAL Gay doctor, PFLAG death, Emma Gonzalez, 'pumping' 2018-12-04
PASSAGES Todd Anthony Lillethun 2018-11-16
Memorial events for Bernard J. Brommel in Nov., Dec. 2018-11-07
PASSAGES Steven William Jones, architect 2018-11-06
PASSAGES Robert Klein Engler 2018-10-17
Gursch memorial set for Oct. 20 2018-10-10
Bernard Brommel passes away at 88 2018-09-26
Grant celebration of life Oct. 2 2018-09-26
Slain trans woman's mother reflects on daughter's life, passing 2018-09-19
The Baton Show Lounge's Ginger Grant remembered 2018-09-17
Making no small plans: Marcia Lipetz has died 2018-09-11
Marking Danny Sotomayor's 60th birthday 2018-08-29
Oscars producer Zadan dies at 69 2018-08-29
PASSAGES Edward George Raap 2018-08-28
Aretha And that Seven Letter Word 2018-08-19
Aretha Franklin dies at 76 2018-08-16
Dedry Jones, remembered 2018-08-15

Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.