Alum Del Martin, Her Wife Were Pioneering Lesbian Activists

Thursday, June 25, 2020
Black and white photo of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin seated next to each other
Phyllis Lyon (left) and Del Martin. Photo courtesy of Allstar/Sundance Channel.

DAILY CALIFORNIAN (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY) -- Originally Dorothy Taliaferro, Martin was born in San Francisco on May 5, 1921. She graduated from George Washington High School as the first salutatorian before studying Journalism at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University.

Lyon, Martin and six other women co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis, or DOB, in 1955, the first sociopolitical lesbian organization in the country.

Lyon and Martin were also heavily involved in politics and activism beyond their organization. They were among the first lesbians to join the National Organization for Women and were also co-founders of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club in 1971.

Together, Lyon and Martin wrote two books — “Lesbian/Woman” published in 1972 and “Lesbian Love and Liberation” published in 1973.