31st July 1932 – 18th February 2007
“for 48 years I’ve had the satisfaction of working with other gay people all across the country to get the bigots off our backs, to oil the closet door hinges, to change prejudiced hearts and minds, and to show that gay love is good for us and for the rest of the world too. It’s hard work— but it’s vital, and it’s gratifying, and it’s often fun!”
Barbara Gittings was an early Gay rights activist in America. After discovering the severe lack of educational materials on homosexuality during her early teens Barbara dedicated her life to raising awareness and making positive teaching material more easily available for gay and lesbian people.
Barbara was born to catholic parents in a time when most medical literature on homosexuality was focused on ‘curing the disease of homosexuality’ and was widely inaccurate. Later in life Barbara joined the American Library Association to increase the number of gay positive literature available. She also lead strikes and protests against the US Government’s employment policy and helped being about a change in attitude. Barbara lead the New York branch of the Daughters of Bilitis group (the first lesbian rights group in the United States, created in response to police harassment and raids of Lesbian bars across the country) and edited their national magazine The Ladder.
Perhaps her greatest achievement was in helping to lead the movement that lead to the American Psychiatric Association dropping the definition of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1972. She died on this day in 2007 of breast cancer.
A Prayer for Barbara Gittings:
Lord God our Father, teacher of all good things, we give you thanks for the life and work of Barbara Gittings. We thank You that through her tireless work, education and understanding on homosexuality has increased around the world. We pray for all who continue to write, educated and research for the betterment of all Your children. Through Jesus’ most Holy Name we pray. Amen
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