Rest in Power, Phyllis Lyon
April 10, 2020 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Civil rights pioneer and face of gay marriage dies, aged 95. Gay rights pioneer Phyllis Lyon led a life characterized by a commitment to activism and legal rights for all. She has died of natural causes at her home in San Francisco at age 95. Lyon lived life with “joy and wonder,” said Kate Kendell, a friend and former executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She said Lyon and her wife Del Martin were activists and mentors long before there was a movement or community.

“Before cellphones they always had their phone number listed in the phone book in case any young or terrified LGBTQ person needed help or support," she said. “And they fielded dozens of calls over the years."

More on her many accomplishments here, just a few listed below:
Lyon was a journalist who met her lifelong love, Martin, while working at a magazine in Seattle. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1953. They co-founded with other lesbian couples the Daughters of Bilitis, a political and social organization for lesbians. They published a national monthly for lesbians and in 1972, a book called Lesbian/Woman. In 1964, Lyon and Martin helped to found the Council on Religion and the Homosexual with Glide Memorial Methodist Church. This was the first group in the U.S. to use the word "homosexual" in its name.

In 1978, the pair chaired San Franciscans Against Proposition 6 (Briggs Initiative). With Cleve Jones and numerous other LGBTQ community leaders, they also became founding contributors of the San Francisco Bay Times. The following year, activists founded Lyon-Martin Health Services and named it after them. Now a program of HealthRight 360, Lyon-Martin Health Services continues to provide specialized, non-judgmental healthcare to women and to LGBTQ individuals.
posted by stillmoving (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by pipoquinha at 12:07 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


She gets two
posted by pipoquinha at 12:07 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


👭
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:33 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


She and her wife were both so amazing - and I keep thinking of the activism they were doing in the 1950s(!).
posted by jb at 1:49 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


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posted by Fizz at 1:49 PM on April 10


This wedding photo made me cry when I saw it this morning. True pioneers. I have to believe they’re together again.
posted by bookmammal at 3:54 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


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posted by eirias at 4:00 PM on April 10


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posted by kalimac at 4:16 PM on April 10


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posted by Lawn Beaver at 5:05 PM on April 10


Rest in power, Phyllis.
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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 5:50 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Goodness gracious! I didn't even know anyone from that era was still alive! Bless her and her work, especially the most difficult work in the early years. I count people like Lyon and Harry Hay as heroes who helped pull all of society into a more enlightened era, even if society was kicking and screaming for most of the decades of their work.

A true hero and pioneer.

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posted by hippybear at 5:55 PM on April 10


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posted by allthinky at 6:09 PM on April 10


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posted by moons in june at 7:03 PM on April 10


Del's obituary, which I didn't realize I had posted. Thank you for posting this. I feel honored to have met them both, over the years. A true hero.

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posted by gingerbeer at 12:24 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]




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posted by filtergik at 1:27 AM on April 11


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posted by Captain Chesapeake at 11:28 AM on April 11


Generations got to stand on her shoulders. I remember being a young teen rmd just coming out and trying to figure out what it means, and reading about her and Del and the Daughters of Bilitis.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:12 PM on April 11


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