Friday, September 19, 2008

Phyllis Lyon on 55 years with Del Martin

Amy Cavanaugh at the Washington Blade has a new interview with LGBT rights activist Phyllis Lyon (pictured). Here's an excerpt:

When lesbian activist Del Martin died last month at age 87, she left behind a record of unparalleled achievements in fighting for gay rights. She also left behind her wife, Phyllis Lyon. But the 83-year-old widow said she’s “doing all right” despite Martin’s death Aug. 27, in part because she has “an awful lot of friends around” and has received “incredible” support. “I’ve gotten cards from people we knew, and then some from people we didn’t know from anywhere,” she said. “This response just goes to show that there were a whole lot of people who knew about her even if they didn’t know her.”

In her first interview since Martin’s death, Lyon talked exclusively with the Washington Blade about her 55 years with Martin, from their 1950 meeting in Seattle to their 2004 wedding in San Francisco. Lyon said she fondly remembers meeting Martin at the Seattle newspaper where the two worked. “We became good friends, and at some point Del and I and another woman that we worked with went to get a drink,” Lyon said. “We were sitting there chatting, and how it even came up I have no recollection, but we got on the subject of homosexuality. One of us said to Del, ‘How come you know so much about this subject,’ because we didn't know anything. And Del said, ‘Because I am one.’

“I had never heard the word ‘lesbian’ until she said it. In those days, we didn’t go around talking about sex or anything. If you knew anything about homosexuals, it was that they were nasty. I don’t think people really talked about lesbians at all.” READ MORE.

H/T: Pam's House Blend