Equality Forum is providing a video clip each day profiling an icon of gay history. The series, which appears on the main page of Project Q Atlanta, starts with Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the first lesbian organization in the United States and have fought for more than 50 years for the rights of lesbians and gays. On June 16, 2008, Martin and Lyon became the first gay couple to be legally married in California.
Martin and Lyon both earned degrees in journalism. While working as journalists in Seattle, the two became romantically involved. The couple relocated to San Francisco and moved in together on Valentine’s Day 1953.
In 1955, finding it hard to develop a social network in San Francisco, Martin, Lyon and a small group of women founded the first lesbian organization, called the Daughters of Bilitis. The name was inspired by Pierre Louys’s “Songs of Bilitis,” a collection of poems celebrating lesbian sexuality.
Read their full biography.