Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Phyllis Lyon

Phyllis Lyon was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on November 11, 1924, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1946. She met her long-time partner Del Martin in Seattle in 1950; the two became a couple in 1952 and moved to San Francisco in 1953. Lyon was an early lesbian and feminist activist, cofounding the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, serving as the editor of the DOB magazine The Ladder from 1956 to 1960, and cofounding the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. She became active in the National Organization for Women in the late 1960s and the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in the 1970s. In 2004, Lyon and Martin were married after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That marriage was voided by a California Supreme Court decision in 2004, but the two women were married again after a California Supreme Court decision in 2008. Lyon died on April 9, 2020. You can learn more about her life here: Phyllis Lyon (1924-2020): Feminist Lesbian Icon, Human and Civil Rights Advocate, Friend, Mentor, by Marcia Gallo.