Phyllis Lyon, LGBTQ rights pioneer, dies at age 95

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04/09/2020

Phyllis Lyon, an LGBTQ rights pioneer who, with her longtime partner, was among the first same-sex couples to marry in California when it became legal to do so in 2008, has died at her San Francisco home. She was 95. Lyon lived her life with “joy and wonder”, said Kate Kendell, a longtime friend and former executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She said Lyon and her wife Del Martin were activists and mentors long before there was a movement or community. “Before cell phones they always had their phone number listed in the phone book in case any young or terrified LGBTQ person needed help or support,” she said. “And they fielded dozens of calls over the years.” Kendell said Lyon died Thursday of natural causes. California’s governor Gavin Newsom, who granted the couple the city’s first same-sex marriage license in 2004 while serving as mayor of San Francisco, called her a “dear friend”.

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