Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Lesbian Pioneer Dies

Pioneering lesbian rights activist Del Martin, who married her longtime partner in June on the first day same-sex couples in California gained that right, died Wednesday. She was 87.
Martin died at a hospital two weeks after a broken arm exacerbated health problems, said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Her wife, Phyllis Lyon, was with her.

Along with six other women, they founded a San Francisco social club for lesbians in 1955. The group evolved into the nation's first lesbian advocacy organization.

Martin in 1970 wrote an influential article in the Advocate magazine that criticized what she saw as the gay rights movement's persistent chauvinism. She and Lyon together wrote "Lesbian/Woman," a 1972 book that argued lesbians should be seen for more than their sexuality and simultaneously offered a frank, no-nonsense account of lesbian relationships.

A year later, Martin became the first out lesbian to serve on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women.

Find out more about her life here (Word document) and here. Details about her recent marriage can be found here.

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