Item: Barbara Gittings
Record Number: 1028
Reproduction restrictions: None
Depicts: Gittings, Barbara
Photographer: Meehan, Lou
Date of Original: 1994
Original Format: Photograph › Negative
Image description: This photograph of Barbara Gittings was taken in 1994 when Ms. Gittings was a guest at HSP’s exhibit “Crossroads.” The exhibit focused on Center City Philadelphia. HSP’s photographer, Lou Meehan, took the image of Ms. Gittings viewing an early photo of herself, which was in the exhibit.
Barbara Gittings (1932-2007) was a gay and lesbian rights activist and pioneer. Years before the iconic 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City (the marker of the modern gay rights movement), Gittings and other gay Philadelphia activists were campaigning for civil rights. From 1965 to 1969 Gittings participated in picketing at Independence Hall every July 4th. Earlier, in 1958, she founded the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis. In 1971 she became the coordinator of the American Library Association’s gay caucus (the first such caucus of a professional organization). In 1972 she was part of the movement (with Dr. John Fryer--whose papers are at HSP--and Frank Kameny) to convince the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness.
After Gittings’ death, her partner, photographer Kay Tobin Lahusen, donated their papers to the New York Public Library.