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Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

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Del Martin (born 1921) and Phyllis Lyon (born 1925) have been leaders of the lesbian and feminist movements since the 1950s. They met in 1950, and by 1952 their friendship had evolved into a life partnership that continues into the 21st Century. In 1953, they moved to San Francisco, California where, in 1955, they formed the homophile organization the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB). Lyon was the first editor of DOB’s newsletter, the Ladder, beginning in 1956.

Martin and Lyon have been active in the National Organization for Women[?] (NOW) since the 1970s. Martin has been accused of creating NOW’s rule of thumb myth in 1976. Martin is the author of Battered Wives (1976) and the co-author of Lesbian/Woman with Lyon (1972) and Every Eighteen Seconds: A Journey Through Domestic Violence with Nancy Kilgore (1994). The Lyon-Martin Women’s Health Services Center, founded in San Francisco in 1979, is named for them.

In 1995, Martin and Lyon formed Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. Also in that year, President Bill Clinton named Martin and Lyon to the White House Conference on Aging.



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