VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT: DEL MARTIN AND PHYLLIS LYONveteranfeminists2023-06-17T16:13:52-04:00
THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
Del Martin: May 5, 1921-August 27, 2008
Phyllis Lyon: November 10, 1924-April 9, 2020
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were lesbian pioneers and activists. They co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955 and dedicated their lives to fighting for LGBTQ rights. They were active in the struggle for marriage equality and, in 2008, became the first same-sex couple legally married in California. Co-wrote two books: Lesbian/Woman (1972), which won a Stonewall Book Award, and Lesbian Love and Liberation (1973). Among the first lesbians to join the National Organization for Women, Ms. Martin was later elected to its board of directors. The couple also helped form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual to persuade ministers to accept lesbians and gay men into churches. Members of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, San Francisco’s first gay political organization, which influenced the passage of a bill to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1979, local activists established the Lyon-Martin Health Services, a health care provider, in San Francisco.
Photo. Phyllis Lyon, right, getting married to Del Martin at a wedding ceremony officiated by then Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco in 2008 (Photo Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press).
Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin as Grand Marshals of the 1989 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade.