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Prominent lesbian educator/activist/author Sally Gearhart dies at 90
2021-07-15

This article shared 1091 times since Thu Jul 15, 2021
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Sally Gearhart—the first out lesbian to receive a tenure-track position at San Francisco State University and a prominent LGBTQ-rights advocate—died July 14, according to The Bay Area Reporter, which cited an email Jean Crosby sent to friends. Gearhart was 90.

In 1973, Gearhart received the tenure-track position at San Francisco State University. She established one of the first women's and gender studies programs in the country while at the school, and was a leading LGBTQ-rights activist throughout the 1970s and '80s.

Gearhart was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), having been a friend and colleague of Milk, the late gay San Francisco supervisor. She worked with Milk on the 1978 defeat of Proposition 6, a California ballot initiative that sought to exclude gay men and lesbians from teaching in public schools.

Gearhart was also an acclaimed author of feminist science fiction. Some of her books include The Kanshou, A Feminist Tarot and The Wanderground.

Gearhart was born in Pearisburg, Virginia, on April 15, 1931. She attended an all-women's institution, Sweet Briar College, near Lynchburg, Virginia; and later obtained a master's degree in theater and public address at Bowling Green University as well as Ph.D. in theater at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights tweeted, "#NCLR is heartbroken to learn today about the passing of Sally Gearhart. [broken-heart emoji]

"Sally was a titan in the #LGBTQ rights movement and worked tirelessly advocating on behalf of LGBTQ teachers in schools. We will miss your spirit of activism. #RIP Sally."


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