Philadelphia street named for ‘Mother of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement’

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Barbara Gittings. – PHOTO: Equality Forum/www.lgbthistorymonth.com

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Barbara Gittings. – PHOTO: Equality Forum/www.lgbthistorymonth.com

Philadelphia has ushered in LGBT History Month with a celebration of the work and life of the late Barbara Gittings. The city has named Barbara Gittings Way in honor of the pioneering lesbian civil rights activist.

A ceremony took place on Oct. 1 at the intersection of Locust and 13th streets.

Gittings, who died on Feb. 18, 2007, was known as the Mother of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement and resided in Philadelphia, a news release said.

She was the editor of the first lesbian publication and, with Frank Kameny, another icon in the movement, organized early civil rights demonstrations at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

She also led the campaign to have the American Library Association include gay and lesbian books in the nation’s card catalogues and libraries and challenged the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses.

Barbara Gittings Way is on Locust Street between 12th and 13th streets in the heart of the Gayborhood.

Organizations involved in the celebration included the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, Equality PA, Independence Business Alliance, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus and the William Way Community Center.

The event launched the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum LGBT History Month.