Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Home of LGBTQ pioneers Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin first San Francisco lesbian history landmark
--From a press release
2021-05-04

This article shared 392 times since Tuesday
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance authored by District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman to designate the former home of pioneering LGBTQ and civil rights activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin as a local historic landmark. The Board will take a final vote on the ordinance at their May 11 meeting, after which the ordinance and landmark will be in effect in June.

"Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were queer activists before queer activism was a thing. The modern LGBTQ rights movement is built on the foundations laid by these women and their contemporaries, and it is fitting that their home is the first San Francisco historic landmark dedicated to lesbian history," said Mandelman, who is the only LGBTQ member of the Board of Supervisors and represents the Noe Valley neighborhood where the home is located. "They shared this home for more than half a century and it has clear historic value that should be preserved and celebrated. Early LGBTQ leaders like Phyllis and Del changed the world for the generations of queer people that would follow."

The historic landmark status means that future development and alterations to the home would need special approval from the Historic Preservation Commission, a public process that would provide an opportunity for preservationists and members of the community to weigh in. The ordinance passed today would make the Lyon Martin House only the sixth local historic landmark associated with LGBTQ history in San Francisco, and the first focused on the history of the lesbian community in particular.

The landmarking was prompted by the recent sale of the property where Martin and Lyon lived together and nurtured a movement from 1955 until Martin's death in 2008, and where Lyon remained until her death in April 2020. The home, a 750 square foot cottage atop a steep hill in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, sold for $2.25 million in September, along with an adjacent undeveloped lot that was not included in the landmark. The property offers a stunning view of the city skyline and was advertised as "the very last parcel of land atop Noe Valley" and "truly the last of its kind." The centrally located Noe Valley neighborhood has seen a rash of redevelopment in recent years featuring large, luxury homes that routinely sell for $6 million and above and often replace modest homes originally built in the early parts of the 20th century, like the Lyon Martin house.

The sale caught the attention of Shayne Watson, a historian who co-wrote San Francisco's LGBTQ Historic Context Statement in 2016. "I was alarmed when I saw an article about the sale touting how profitable it would be to redevelop the property," recalled Watson. "The Lyon-Martin house is not only one of the most significant queer sites in the city, but a place of international importance — truly a birthplace of LGBTQ-rights movements worldwide."

Lyon and Martin, journalists who met when they were living in Seattle before moving back to San Francisco to live together in 1953, would continue as trailblazers across many social issues. Together, the women founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, which published the nationally-distributed newsletter The Ladder, hosted national conventions, and organized private social gatherings that were the only places for lesbians to gather freely at the time. In 1964, they helped found Citizen Alert, an early policy watchdog program focused on police brutality and unequal law enforcement. In 1976, Martin published Battered Wives, one of the earliest books on domestic violence published in the United States. In 1995, they were appointed to the White House Conference on Aging by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. In 2004, they became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in San Francisco when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the County Clerk to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"For far too long, places that record the achievements of women and the LGBTQ community have been overlooked by official designation programs across the country. The community-driven effort to recognize and protect the home of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin confronts that systemic disparity by shaping a more truthful and inclusive American story," said Christina Morris, manager of the Where Women Made History campaign at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The Lyon-Martin House landmark is a powerful symbol of how these two women's lifetime of activism against discrimination and injustice changed their community for the better and changed the world."

Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said "NCLR is thrilled to see the longtime residence of lesbian icons Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon receive the historic designation it deserves, making it the first landmark on the West Coast with a lesbian focus. From the more than 50 years of devoted partnership that Phyllis and Del shared in that home, to meetings of key leaders in the LGBTQ movement from the 1950s through marriage equality, their Noe Valley home played a pivotal role in both the lesbian rights and the broader LGBTQ rights movement for many years. It is inspiring to see that history preserved for future generations and to know that their legacy will live on."

The preservation effort was spearheaded by Watson, who brought together historians, friends and former caregivers of Lyon and Martin, and members of the broader queer community to establish the Friends of the Lyon-Martin House in partnership with the GLBT Historical Society. The groups worked with Mandelman to introduce a resolution in September 2020 that initiated the process that culminated in Tuesday's vote to landmark the historic home, following the recommendation of the City's Historic Preservation Commission in February.

"From Shayne Watson's first call to action to now, the landmarking of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin's home has been a model of community activism in the name of historic preservation," said Terry Beswick, Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society, whose archives include the papers of Lyon and Martin. "Too often, historic LGBTQ sites have been regarded as worthless, and without these concerted efforts, this structure would doubtless be bulldozed into dust. I'm excited to see what we are able to do with the property to commemorate its remarkable history, and while this is the first lesbian-specific site of historic significance to be landmarked in the western United States, I hope there are many more to follow."


This article shared 392 times since Tuesday
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Jonathan Ned Katz talks new book, LGBTQ history, state of the world
2021-05-05
Author, historian and activist Jonathan Ned Katz will come out with a new book, The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, on May 18. The biography is centered on the life of Adams, a Jewish lesbian immigrant, and also ...


Gay News

Northalsted plans to hold Market Days Aug. 6-8
2021-05-04
The Northalsted Business Alliance plans to host Market Days August 6-8, adding a Friday night edition, the first in its 38-year history. As vaccinations increase and Illinois begins planning for stage 5 reopening, organizers of the ...


Gay News

Jeannie Tanner show at City Winery on May 20
2021-05-03
On Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m., City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., will host the first in-person performance of "3 Martini Jeannie." Throughout the pandemic, every Friday at 5 p.m., Tanner celebrated the close ...


Gay News

1971: The Chicago Daughters of Bilitis
2021-05-03
Excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life - An excerpt from Chicago After Stonewall: Gay Lib to Gay Life, a new book by St Sukie de la Croix. You can buy the book from Amazon.com, all good bookstores, and for a signed copy, rattlinggoodyarns.com ...


Gay News

Victory Institute launches LGBTQ political history website
2021-04-30
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only organization dedicated to identifying and supporting LGBTQ public leaders — released its new website "Pride & Progress: A history of LGBTQ political power in the United ...


Gay News

Pat Parker GCLS 2021 Trailblazer Award recipient
2021-04-30
--From a press release - Pat Parker, a poet, activist, and artist will receive the Golden Crown Literary Society's 2021 Trailblazer Award. Parker shaped the civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights movements of the late '60s and '70s in the ...


Gay News

Hate mail threatening Obamas, Biden, Harris sent to DuSable
2021-04-28
The Secret Service is investigating six threatening letters sent to the DuSable Museum of African American History that mention President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Obama family, among others, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

'Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories' virtual talk on May 16
2021-04-22
On Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. CT, Women and Children First will host the virtual panel discussion "Documenting LGBTQ+ Histories" on its Crowdcast Channel. Centering on the release of Diana Souhami's new book No Modernism ...


Gay News

Chicago Cultural Center historic interiors to be restored for June reopening
2021-04-22
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced the historic restoration of the landmark Chicago Cultural Center to reclaim two lost interiors decorated by the ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman dies
2021-04-22
Retired Chicago Police Commander Nancy Y. Lipman died April 11 due to complications from ovarian cancer. She was 61. Lipman was born Jan. 21, 1960 in Chicago and graduated from Morgan Park High School. She also ...


Gay News

Joan E. Biren aka JEB talks Portraits of Lesbians book journey and re-issue
2021-04-21
In an era where lesbian visibility was almost non-existent, activist and photographer Joan E. Biren (or as she is also known, "JEB") self-financed and self-published a photography book called Eye To Eye: Portraits of Lesbians. Biren's ...


Gay News

Bechdel, Rannells among upcoming CHF guests
2021-04-21
The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) announced its line-up of virtual programs with award-winning writers, scholars and cultural icons in late April and throughout May. Among LGBTQ participants/guests will be Fun ...


Gay News

Lightfoot calls resignation rumors 'homophobic, racist and misogynistic'
2021-04-19
On April 18, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called rumors that she's resigning "homophobic, racist and misogynistic," The Chicago Tribune reported. Lightfoot tweeted, "1/ Good morning from my mansion in Sauganash. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock
2021-04-18
Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...


Gay News

WORLD Peru items, Kenya, UK government, Poland city
2021-04-18
The first lesbian elected to Peru's Congress promised to put up a "strong battle" for LGBTQ+ rights in the South American nation as two social conservatives go head to head for a presidential run-off vote in ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.