Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dorothy (Del) Martin, 1921-2008

Okay, I'll get on the bandwagon, though I can't imagine everyone who cares hasn't already heard: Del Martin (on the right in the photo below), one of the cofounders of the pioneering Lesbian organization Daughters of Bilitis, died Wednesday at the age of 87. She's survived by her wife of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon (on the left).
I can't remember when I first heard of this enduring couple. They've been there, like parents, on the LGBTQ+ π scene ever since I came out in 1971. I met one or two of the other homophile-generation founders -- Franklin Kameny, Barbara Gittings -- but never Martin and Lyon, though I knew all about them from their joint book Lesbian/Woman. I knew more about them, in fact -- their lives, how they met, the work they did together -- than I know about my own parents, who were never obliging enough to write a book together.

And as with parents, there comes a day when the older generation of activists, the forerunners. are no longer there. But their having lived makes a huge difference. Courageous people like Martin and Lyon, Harry Hay, Kameny, Gittings, and so many others, changed our world -- and by "our", I mean straights too.