LGBTQ Women in History: Barbara Gittings

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, today we will honor Gay Rights activist Barbara Gittings.


Image from: Barbara Gittings: Lesbian Rights Activist.


Born in February 1932, Barbara Gittings became a prominent figure in the early gay rights movement. Gittings was apart of the New York chapter of Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian social organization founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in San Francisco in 1955. In 1963, Gittings became editor of The Ladder, a magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis.

Gittings also helped organize gay rights demonstrations in both Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, protesting federal employment discrimination. In addition to her protests, she was also instrumental in getting homosexuality removed from the list of mental disorders in 1973. She also helped to make gay and lesbian oriented reading material more available to the public, and in 2001 GLADD created the Barbara Gittings award in her honor. The award is “given to an individual, group, or community media outlet that has made a significant contribution to the development of LGBT media.”

Gittings met Kay Lahausen in 1961; they were partners for 46 years. Gittings died of breast cancer at the age of 75 in February 2007.

References: “Barbara Gittings: Lesbian Rights Activist”


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