I am, as I believe the phrase runs, “supportive of the LGBT community”, which in practical terms (I’m really not much of a thinker) means that I will probably punch you in the face if you make anti-gay remarks in my vicinity. As important as freedom of speech is, sometimes it has to stand back to basic human decency and, in turn, sometimes decency is best expressed via a slap in the face.
Being, as it were, supportive of the LGBT community it makes me sad to read that Del Martin died last Wednesday at age 87. As early as the mid fifties Martin came out and lived openly as a lesbian, which makes her one of the bravest people I ever heard of, and she helped founding Daughters of Bilitis, the first US lesbian rights organization. Her numerous accomplishments are listed in this obituary by the National Center for Lesbian Rights; her picture went around the world a few months ago when she was finally allowed to marry Phillis Lyon, her sweetheart of 55 years.
Think about this number: 55 years. Most people would kill each other before they’d spend that much together, and they still had enough love to get married.
My best wishes go to Del Martins widow. May it be some consolation that she died only after the world had improved in a matter that was important to her and that she had fought for all her life. I assume this is the best a human being can hope for.
I guess I will think of her when I visit the wedding party of a woman I’ve known since my school days and who has now married her girl friend (unthinkable back then, and possible now only because of brave people like Del Martin).
If you’re looking for a way to commemorate her life in your own home you could pick up a science ficion novel by Ursula LeGuin, because these are books written by a strong woman that have at their core almost every time a committed relationship between two people; or you could pop “If these Walls Could Talk 2” into your DVD player and pay special attention to the “1961” segment, or you could just sit back for a moment and think about if there isn’t some thing you could do to make this world a little better, too.