With great sadness, the GroundSpark team acknowledges the loss of the lesbian activist, Phyllis Lyon. In her 95 years, Phyllis lived a life of love and courage.
Together with her partner Del Martin, Phyllis co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, the first social and political organization for lesbians in the US. Phyllis and Del worked together for decades on issues of equality. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, they played key roles in the decriminalization of homosexuality and the movement to end employment discrimination on the basis of sexuality.
Phyllis and Del married in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after then-Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same-sex couples San Francisco to obtain marriage licenses. The story of their revolutionary marriage is captured in the GroundSpark documentary One Wedding and…a Revolution.
“Phyllis and Del created community through their courage and willingness to support LGBTQ people in any moment of need,” Joyce Newstat, close friend of Phyllis’s and GroundSpark Board Member shares. “They encouraged other LGBTQ people to be seen and be heard for many decades.”
As we mourn the loss of Phyllis, we also wish to highlight the incredible contributions she made so that we may all be inspired to live courageously, love deeply, and work together for a revolution. We are offering free streaming of One Wedding and…a Revolution (Debra Chasnoff and Kate Stilley, 2004, 19mins) in honor of Phyllis. Use the password RestInPower (note the capital letters!) to watch the film here.