ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

LGBT People Of History Part Seventy Two Barbra Gittings

Updated on April 16, 2012
Barbara Gittings picketing Independence Hall July 4, 1966. Photo taken by Kay Lahusen.
Barbara Gittings picketing Independence Hall July 4, 1966. Photo taken by Kay Lahusen. | Source
Barbra Gittings
Barbra Gittings | Source
Barbara Gittings at UCLA on November 17, 2006.
Barbara Gittings at UCLA on November 17, 2006. | Source

Barbra Gittings

Born Barbra Gittings in Vienna, Austria on July 31st 1932. Her father was John Sterett Gittings and her mother was Elizabeth Brooks. Her father was a US Diplomat.

During the outbreak of World War Two the family left Austria and returned to America settling in Wilmington, Delaware.

Barbra was a Catholic. She was so engrossed in Catholicism that she considered becoming a nun during her childhood. However whilst she was at high school, Barbra was rejected for the ‘National Honour Society’ because of her homosexual inclinations, as a teacher had stated.

After high school she attended the North Western University where she majored in Drama. She had a nonsexual close friendship with another female student. However pressure was put on this friendship after many rumours were spread about the two being lesbian. Although these rumours were malicious and lies it cause Barbra to examine her sexual orientation consulting a psychiatrist who told her that she was a lesbian and he could ‘cure’ her. She could not afford the regular visits to the psychiatrist and her friend decided that they should see less of each other as they did not want to encourage the rumours.

Later Barbra decided to read as much as she could on the topic - desperate to learn more and understand her sexuality. Sadly she found very little in the way of information as most books referred to homosexuality as perverse, obscene, odd and abnormal. The books also referred to homosexuals as deviants and mentally ill. Sadly she also found that the books mainly referred to homosexual men and there was hardly any mention of lesbian women.

In her venture to learn more about homosexuality she took a night class in ‘Abnormal Psychology’ and this was where she met the first woman to enter her life whom she had a brief affair.

Later she travelled to California where she met Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin who had both co-founded the ‘Daughters of Billitis’ (DOB) in San Francisco. After much discussion both Del and Phyllis had asked Barbra to start a chapter of the DOB in New York in 1953. She did this serving as the Chapter’s president for the first three years. In 1963 she went on to become the editor of DOB’s magazine ‘The Ladder’ until 1966.

In 1965 she marched in the first gay picket lines at the White House, the US State Department and the Independence Hall in Philadelphia – protesting against the Federal Government’s Policy on the Discrimination of Homosexuals.

In the 1970s Barbra was doing a lot more activism for equality.

She pushed the American Library Association for more visibility for gays and lesbians in the profession.

She also kissed Isabel Miller in front of television cameras at the Dallas Convention Centre though it was met with a negative reaction. It was shown twice on the evening news, once again in the morning – and it put them on the map.

Barbra helped to start the National Gay Task Force in1973. She also inspired nurses to form the Gay Nurses Alliance in 1973.

She has appeared in many documentary films such as

Gay Pioneers,

Before Stonewall,

After Stonewall,

Out of the Past,

Pride Divide.

Barbra was also mentioned in the 2007 edition of The Advocate on a list of their 40 favourite gay and lesbian heroes.

Barbra met her partner Kay Tobin Lahusen at a picnic in Rhode Island. Barbra died on 18th February 2007 after a long battle with breast cancer. Both she and Kay were together for 46 years.

Barbra was awarded a lifetime membership in the American Library Association, and the ALA named an annual award for the best gay or lesbian novel the The Barbara Gittings Award. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) also named an activist award in honour of her at her memorial service.

She will always be remembered as a pioneer and activist of the Gay movement for her work for equality spanning over four decades.

LGBT People Of History Website
LGBT People Of History Website | Source
LGBT People Of History Archive
LGBT People Of History Archive | Source
Albert Cashier
Albert Cashier | Source
Billy Lee Tipton
Billy Lee Tipton | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • calpol25 profile imageAUTHOR

      Callum 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      I love her story, she makes us all so proud x

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 

      6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      This lady was a serious PIONEER!

      WOW!!

      Ian.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)