Activist Phyllis Lyon Passes Away at Age 95

LGBTQ+ rights pioneer, Phyllis Lyon, died at age 95 yesterday of natural causes.

Lyon co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the United States’ first lesbian organization in 1955. She and her wife, Del Martin, were the first couple to married in San Francisco’s “Winter of Love” in 2004, a time when the mayor of San Francisco issued thousands of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite it being illegal.

Lyon and Martin also created a publication called The Ladder, a monthly publication that ran from 1956 to 1972, which had content on politics, fiction, poetry, and connecting lesbians across the country. Lyon and Martin were also the first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women (NOW), and worked to have the organization expand to fight for lesbian rights.

California State Senator Wiener memorialized her saying, “We lost a giant today…Phyllis Lyon fought for LGBTQ equality when it was neither safe nor popular to do so. Phyllis and her wife Del Martin played a crucial role winning the rights and dignity our community now enjoys. We owe Phyllis immense gratitude for her work. Rest in power.”

Sources: TowleRoad 4/9/20; San Francisco Bay Times 2019; SFist 4/9/20

Support eh ERA banner