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Barbara Gittings: An LGBT Activist

Barbara Gittings was a key player in the LGBT rights movement for over 40 years. A self-proclaimed “happy homosexual,” she dedicated her life to activism, educating the public about LGBT issues and working to change laws that discriminated against queer people. She was a tireless advocate for equality, and her work helped pave the way for widespread acceptance of LGBT people today. Barbara Gittings is an inspiration to anyone fighting for social justice, and her story is one that should be remembered by all who believe in equality for all.

What is Barbara Gittings’ biggest achievement for the LGBT community?

Her biggest achievement was helping to change public opinion on homosexuality. She did this by educating people about gay rights and by promoting open dialogue about LGBT issues. She also fought for equal rights in the workplace, in the military, and in other aspects of society. Her work has had a profound impact on the lives of countless LGBT people throughout the world.

barbara gittings lgbt

Early Life of Barbara Gittings

Barbara Gittings was born in Vienna, Austria, where her father, John Sterett Gittings, was a U.S. diplomat. Barbara and her siblings were educated at Catholic schools in Montreal. Her mother and siblings returned to the United States after World War II began, settling in Wilmington, Delaware. Gittings claimed that she first heard the term “homosexual” when she was denied membership in the National Honor Society in high school. Despite being a fantastic student, a grade teacher informed her that the rejection was due to “homosexual tendencies” in her character.

Gittings studied drama at Northwestern University while majoring in drama. After becoming close but non-sexual friends with another female student, rumors spread that the two were lesbians, which prompted Gittings to question her sexual orientation. She had her suspicions confirmed by a psychiatrist who offered to cure her during her attempts to comprehend it.

She felt overwhelmed by her work and home life, so she wanted to learn as much as she could about the issue. She found very little, and what she did discover painted homosexuals in a negative light: “deviants,” “perverts,” and “abnormals.” She was forced to drop out of college after spending so much time on her project that she lost all hope of graduating. Gittings discovered a calling while in college. “My goal was to discover more about myself and what my life would be like,” she explained. “So I stopped attending classes and began reading at the library. There were no organizations to consult back then, only libraries were safe, but the knowledge they contained was useless.”

Then, at age 17, she went back to Northwestern University “in disgrace” after failing out of school and being unable to explain herself. But her curiosity drove her forward. Her father unearthed The Well of Loneliness while cleaning out her bedroom, among other items in a stack. Gittings was eager to learn more about homosexuality and took a night class in abnormal psychology, where she met her first girlfriend, who had a brief affair with her at the age of 18. She left home at the age of 18 to live on her own and moved to Philadelphia.

Daughters of Bilitis:

The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) was founded in San Francisco in 1955 by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin as the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States. The name of the group was chosen to honor the lesbian couple featured in Pablo Picasso’s painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

The mission of DOB was to promote understanding and acceptance of lesbians within American society. The group worked to accomplish this goal through education, public outreach, and advocacy. The Daughters of Bilitis played a pivotal role in advancing gay rights during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1969, they helped to organize the first lesbian rights march in Washington D.C.

Barbara Gittings helped to found the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, and she served as its first public officer. DOB was the first national lesbian organization in the United States, and it played a pivotal role in the early LGBT rights movement.

Gittings dedicated her life to fighting for equality and acceptance for LGBT people, and she was one of the earliest and most outspoken advocates for Lesbian Rights. She worked tirelessly to break down barriers and change hearts and minds, and her legacy is still felt today. Thank you, Barbara Gittings, for your courage and your dedication. You changed the world for the better, and we are all indebted to you.

The Ladder Magazine:

The Ladder Magazine was a monthly publication dedicated to lesbian rights and equality. It was founded in 1951 by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, two of the most important figures in the early lesbian rights movement. The magazine provided a forum for discussion on issues such as relationships, parenting, and civil rights, and it helped to connect lesbians all over the country. Though it ceased publication in 1972, The Ladder remains an important part of lesbian history.

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