IPR is featuring some of the many LGBTQ+ pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of Pride Month.

In 1950, Del Martin met Phyllis Lyon while working in Seattle. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1953.

In 1955, Martin and Lyon co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian rights organization in the United States. In 1956, Martin and Lyon began publishing The Ladder, the first nationally distributed lesbian magazine and official publication of the DOB. 

In 1967, they became the first lesbian couple to join the National Organization for Women. Martin became the first out lesbian to serve on the board of the National Organization for Women.

In 1979, Martin published her book, Battered Wives, which raised awareness and offered legislative solutions to abused women. In the same year, Martin and Lyon founded the Lyon-Martin Health Services Organization, designed to help marginalized women of color and trans patients. 

Throughout their lives, Martin and Lyon campaigned against propositions which sought to ban openly gay individuals from teaching in public schools and were actively involved in campaigns and protests advocating for same-sex marriage rights. In 2004, the couple was one of the first 90 gay couples to be wed illegally by then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Four years later, Martin and Lyon legally wed in San Francisco.

Martin died in 2008 and Lyon died in 2020.


The Incredible Story of Del and PhyllisSmithsonian Magazine

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin – Making Gay History Podcast

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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