Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly LGBT mayor of a major U.S. city, will be keynote speaker at a ceremony in Philadelphia later this month unveiling a historic marker at the home of the late Barbara Gittings, a leading LGBT rights activist from the early days of the movement until her death in 2007.
The Barbara Gittings Residence Historic Marker Dedication ceremony is set for Tuesday, July 26, from 11-11:30 a.m. at the home Gittings shared with her partner, Kay Lahusen. The ceremony, taking place as part of the 2016 Equality Forum in Philadelphia, will also feature Equality Forum founder and Executive Director Malcolm Lazin and a special performance by the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, the oldest existing feminist choir in the U.S.. Gittings was a member of the choir.
Lazin said that as the first openly LGBT mayor of a major U.S. city, Parker is “the right person to be dedicating this historic marker to the ‘mother of the LGBT civil rights movement.'”
Gittings, born in 1932, lived in Philadelphia with Lahusen. She was the editor of the first lesbian publication in the country, and with Frank Kameny, helped organize the “Annual Reminders” at Independence Hall and at the Liberty Bell, marches commemorating the 1965 march for gay rights at Independence Hall. The Annual Reminders happened before the Stonewall Rebellion in New York, in 1969.
Gittings also spearheaded the successful effort to have the American Library Association include gay and lesbian books in the nation’s card catalogs and libraries. And teaming again with Kameny, Gittings helped push the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.
The purpose of Equality Forum, according to its website is to “convene elected officials, newsmakers, activists, and opinion leaders to discuss the state and future of the LGBT movement during the Democratic National Convention.” For information check the website here.