Anybody who's lived in San Francisco might be forgiven for getting jaded about how many times Del and Phyllis had presided over one occasion or another, or been honored at some other occasion. As the National Center for Lesbian Rights put it, more kindly, "It is difficult to separate Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and write about only one of them. Their lives and their work have intertwined and their enduring dedication to social justice has been recognized many times."
But the couple deserved their iconic status, and more, and I was sad and moved by Del Martin's death today. And I was even more moved by the fact that Del and Phyllis--a legendary San Francisco couple, and lesbian pioneers--were finally married, by law, when she died.
As many in the media make note of the progress from the March on Washington to Barack Obama, in many ways Del Martin's trajectory is even more improbable and surprising. In 1955, when Martin Luther King was publicly leading the Montgomery bus boycott, Del and Phyllis were starting what was basically an underground lesbian cell, which later became an early civil rights organization. Theirs was a long and amazing road. Condolences to Phyllis Lyon.
Here's the SF Chronicle obit.
And here's the National Center for Lesbian Rights more detailed obituary.
Pictures from sfgate.com/SF Chronicle