Thursday, February 22, 2007

Barbara Gittings, our gay Rosa Parks, died Sunday of breast cancer

Activist Barbara Gittings, a pioneer of the American gay rights movement, compiled an impressive list of accomplishments. In addition to being instrumental in having homosexuality removed from the American Psychiatric Association's list of mental disorders, she founded the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and edited its magazine, The Ladder. During her work with that group, she met her life partner of 46 years, Kay Lahusen. She first became well-known to the public in 1965, when she helped organize gay rights demonstrations at the White House and Independence Hall in Philadelphia. She also worked tirelessly within the American Library Association to make materials with glbtq content more accessible to the reading public.In 2005, Gittings and Lahusen attended the unveiling of a state historic marker noting those demonstrations across the street from Independence Hall. Barbara Gittings, died Sunday of breast cancer. She was 75. Yesterday a wreath was laid at this marker by Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum; Virginia Gutierrez, William Way Community Center; and Stacey Sobel Executive Director, Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights; Today, right now, at this hour (12:20AM) several same sex couples are getting married in Civil ceremonies in New Jersey. This wouldn't have happened if Barbara Gittings didn't stand up for our rights in 1965!! Thanks Barbara, we'll miss you, I was lucky to meet her several times in the past couple years:(
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