Tag Archives: Phyllis Lyon

Gay History – September 21: Edward II, Daughters of Bilitis Formed, Fannie Flagg and Happy Birthday Dan Savage

1327 – Edward II is murdered in his prison cell supposedly after having a red hot iron thrust up his rectum (in reaction to his homosexuality of course).

1944:  Fannie Flagg (born September 21, 1944) is born. She is an American actress, comedian and author. She is best known as a semi-regular panelist on the 1973–82 versions of the game show Match Game and for the 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was adapted into the 1991 motion picture Fried Green Tomatoes. In the late 1970s, Flagg had a relationship with American writer, Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944). Flagg also lived for eight years with former The Bold and the Beautiful actress Susan Flannery (born July 31, 1939).

1955:  Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization, is formed by four lesbian couples, including Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin.

The Daughters of Bilitis was originally formed as a social alternative to lesbian bars, which were subject to raids and police harassment. As the DOB gained members, their focus shifted to providing support to women who were afraid to come out. The DOB educated them about their rights, and about gay history. Historian Lillian Faderman declared, “Its very establishment in the midst of witch-hunts and police harassment was an act of courage, since members always had to fear that they were under attack, not because of what they did, but merely because of who they were.” The Daughters of Bilitis endured for 14 years, becoming an educational resource for lesbians, gay men, researchers and mental health professionals.

1971: Thomas Craig “T. C.” Jones the great American female impersonator passes away. T. C.”was known for his impersonations of stars such as Tallulah Bankhead, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn and others. He has been described as “probably the best female impersonator since vaudeville’s late famed Julian Eltinge”.   Although Jones was straight he had a huge gay following. T. C. Jones also appeared in New Faces of 1956, directed by Paul Lynde.

Jones made a number of television appearances, including portraying a homicidal transvestite with a penchant for strangling nurses in “An Unlocked Window”, an Edgar Award-winning episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965 and another killer transvestite in “Night of the Running Death”, a 1967 episode of The Wild Wild West. Jones appeared in a male role opposite Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren in the film Three Nuts in Search of a Bolt (1964) and played dual male/female roles as Mr. and Mrs. Ace in The Monkees’ film Head (1968)

1993: Actress Amanda Bearse comes out while co-starring on the television series Married with Children. Bearse publicly announced her lesbianism in an interview in the September 21, 1993 issue of The Advocate, where she also encouraged other gay celebrities to use their fame and position to increase gay visibility.

In the interview, Bearse expressed relief at having been outed by the tabloids. “The outing really was quite a freeing experience. . . . That one thing, that one big secret is out. For a lot of people, it was just a confirmation of what they thought about me. I mean, I look like the girl next door, but I was always kind of off-center.”

1998: “Will & Grace,” the first prime-time program to feature openly gay lead characters, premiers. While a solid hit. many find the gay stereotyping offensive.

2010:  Dan Savage (born October 7, 1964) and husband Terry Miller upload their first It Gets Better video on YouTube, to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth. Dan is an American author, media pundit, journalist, and activist for the LGBT community.

In his writing and public appearances, Savage has clashed with both social conservatives and the LGBT establishment. He has opposed Rick Santorum’s views on homosexuality and advocated for gay marriage and other LGBT causes. He has made several controversial public statements in various media, often lambasting people with whom he disagrees.

Gay and Lesbian Rights Pioneer Phyllis Lyon Dies At Age 95

Gay and Lesbian Rights Pioneer Phyllis Lyon Dies At Age 95

Phyllis Lyon has died at 95 - Dallas Voice

SFist reports:

One of the founding members of the Daughters of Bilitis and one half of the first same-sex couple to be legally married in San Francisco in 2004, Phyllis Lyon, has passed away. She was 95, and reportedly died of natural causes early Thursday.

Lyon and her wife Del Martin (pictured above) were famously the first couple to be granted a marriage license by then Mayor Gavin Newsom on Valentine’s Day 2004, and her life was characterized by a commitment to activism and equal rights for all.

“I’m very sad to learn of the death this morning of Phyllis Lyon,” writes legendary LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones. “I met Phyllis and Del in 1972 and it changed my life. Two of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.”

The DOB advertised itself as “A Woman’s Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society.” The statement was composed of four parts that prioritized the purpose of the organization, and it was printed on the inside of the cover of every issue of The Ladder until 1970:

Education of the variant…to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society…this to be accomplished by establishing…a library…on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions…to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.

Education of the public…leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices…

Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.

Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,…and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.”

Both Phyllis Lyon and her partner Del Martin went on to form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) in northern California to persuade ministers to accept homosexuals into churches, and used their influence to decriminalize homosexuality in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became politically active in San Francisco’s first gay political organization, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, which influenced Dianne Feinstein to sponsor a citywide bill to outlaw employment discrimination for gays and lesbians. Both served in the White House Conference on Aging in 1995.

They were married on Feb. 12, 2004, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but that marriage was voided by the California Supreme Court on August 12, 2004. They married again on June 16, 2008, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court’s decision in In re Marriage Cases legalized same-sex marriage in California.

Thank you Phyliss for all that you did for us.

Rest in peace.