Phyllis Lyon was the founder of the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, Daughters of Bilitis, in 1955. You may recall her name, as she and her wife Dell Martin were the first same sex couple to be married under the authority of Gavin Newsom when he became mayor in 2004. Phyllis recounts her life experiences such as connecting with Dell Martin, navigating anti-gay laws in San Francisco in the 1950's, her book Lesbian/woman, and shifting her perspective on marriage at the StoryCorps booth in San Francisco, where she spoke with Margee Adams.
After Phyllis and Dell were married again, in 2008 after the state reissued licenses. Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated the ceremony. Dell Martin passed away in August of 2008. Margee Adams interviewed her role model Phyllis Lyon at the San Francisco StoryCorps booth in the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
This interview was facilitated by Sarah Geis and edited by KALW’s Lisa Ratner.