Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Lesbian Love Is The Only True Love
San Francisco's City Hall was the setting for a "Civic Celebration of the Life of Del Martin" on Wednesday afternoon...
...which was attended by various dignitaries along with thousands of well-wishers.
The recently deceased Del Martin and her partner Phyllis Lyon founded most of the important early lesbian political organizations in San Francisco, starting with the secret-society Daughters of Bilitis in 1955 and continuing on through 1964's Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in 1971.
They also wrote a landmark book called "Lesbian/Woman" in 1972 which according to a woman standing next to me was "literally a lifesaver to young lesbians all over the world."
Del and Phyllis were also the first to have a same-sex marriage performed in San Francisco, with Mayor Newsom presiding in both 2004 and again in 2008 when the California Supreme Court ruled that the marriages were legal.
There were quite a few disagreeable old power brokers appearing on the rotunda stairs, including Glide Memorial's Reverend Cecil Williams but at least he brought along the Glide Ensemble to sing.
Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to speak but was possibly too busy in Washington, D.C. giving away the Treasury to Wall Street and Iraq War profiteers. Instead, we listened to the Womyn's Music singer Holly Near.
According to the nice power lesbians I was standing with on the third floor, including Debra Walker and Colleen Crowley (above), Del Martin was a wonderful person and a driving personality all her life. Older icons are sometimes worshiped just because they've survived long enough, but they can sometimes be awful people as human beings. It was good to hear that this was not the case with Ms. Martin.
The title of this post comes from a Tom Eyen play written for the legendary Divine which I saw performed in 1978 at the Alcazar Theatre. The play wasn't very good, but I did love one drag queen who was playing a Baltimore stripper who midway transforms into a militant feminist.
Whenever the proceedings became totally ridiculous, she would come to the front of the stage and announce, "Lesbian love is the only true love!" It has become one of my favorite non sequiturs ever since, and it comes in surprisingly handy in all kinds of situations.