, with her partner Phyllis Lyon, were pioneers
in so many fields that it's hard to do justice to all of it in one post.
In 1955, the two of them, with four friends, founded the Daughters of Bilitis
, the first major lesbian rights organization in the country. They fought for lesbian inclusion and visibility in the National Organization of Women (NOW). Del founded battered women's shelters, LGBT political groups
, and spoke out on many social justice issues. Most recently, Del and Phyllis were the first queer couple to get legally married
in San Francisco, reprising their role from 2004
. Among the many honors given them, perhaps the best was naming the local women's health clinic after them: the Lyon-Martin Health Center
, where I got my health care in my first few uninsured years here in the city.
She died earlier today, with her partner by her side. From her obituary:
"Del Martin identified her own legacy in 1984 when she said that her most important contribution was "being able to help make changes in the way lesbians and gay men view themselves and how the larger society views lesbians and gay men." She had the courage to be true to herself when the world offered only condemnation for lesbians. Martin showed all of us how to have what she called “self-acceptance and a good sense of my own self-worth.” Del Martin never backed down from her insistence on full equality for all people and, even at 87 years old, she kept moving all of us closer to her ideal."
She and Phyllis managed to be heroes and pioneers for every generation, from the 50's to today. The world is a little quieter without her.