Dell Martin (right) with her lifelong partner Phyllis Lyon 50 years ago. The full story is here.
When she met Phyllis Lyon and formed the Daughters of Bilitis (the first organization for American lesbians), the witch hunts to ferret out gays and lesbians from government and corporate employment were at their height. Lesbians then bore the double burden of sharing the criminal and pathological status of gay men, and the disadvantage assigned to women by law and social convention in 1950s America, the culmination of the roll-back of the first wave of feminism. Dell Martin lived to see lesbian activism before and after Stonewall. She lived to see the second wave of feminism. And she lived to participate in the first glimmer of legality and legitimacy of same-sex relationships, married twice to Phyllis Lyon by Mayor Gavin Newsome of San Francisco. They lived together for more than 50 years.
This middle aged gay man and his partner have one thing to say to Dell Martin as she departs this life: