At the time of Barbara Gittings’ death, she and Kay Tobin Lahusen had been together 46 years.
Best known for their revolutionary work with the Daughter of Bilitis’s publication, The Ladder, the two were true pioneers of the LGBT movement. Gittings became The Ladder’s editor in 1963, just five years after founding the group’s New York chapter. She was joined by Lahusen, a former Christian Science Monitor researcher, who became assistant editor and worked as what one historian called an “ace reporter.”The two added cover girl photographs and, in 1964, Gittings added the magazine’s subtitle: A Lesbian Review. Starting in 1965, the couple participated in early gay rights demonstrations at the White House and other locations.
In the early 1970s, Gittings helped successfully lobby the American Psychiatric Association to change its position on homosexuality. She long-headed the American Library Association’s Gay Task Force.
Barbara Gittings died on February 18, 2007.