Monday, May 5, 2014

Celebrating Del Martin

On this day here in San Francisco back in 1921, Dorothy Louise Taliaferro was born. Who? That name might not ring a bell.  She was better known as Del Martin and nearly everything one might write about her, you would also include her lifelong partner and eventual wife Phyllis Lyon.  Del died back in 2008  just a little over two months after they were finally able to legally wed.  San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom spoke of her many contributions when he ordered the flags lowered to half-staff in her honor.

Del is the author of several articles and books (most of them with Phyllis) and together they (and several other gay women) founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization in the United States. Del was the first open lesbian elected to the National Organization for Women. She was also the first openly gay woman to be appointed to the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (by Mayor George Moscone in 1977). In 1995 Senator Dianne Feinstein named her a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.

The list of Del Martin's contributions could easily go on and on. She certainly was someone who made a difference. Thinking of her widow Phyllis this morning, I am also thinking of Del on this anniversary of her birth, and I am thankful.

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