Barbara Gittings, known as the mother of the LGBT civil rights movement, will be honored in Philadelphia next month with a street naming. On Oct. 1 (12:30 p.m.), a dedication ceremony will be held to honor the late Gittings at the intersection of 13th and Locust streets, which is to be renamed “Barbara Gittings Way.”
With the late Frank Kameny, Gittings organized the historic Annual Reminders at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which helped to launch what is now considered to be the modern-day LGBT civil rights movement. Gittings also spearheaded a successful initiative to have the American Library Association include gay and lesbian books in the nation’s card catalogs and libraries. And together, Kameny and Gittings challenged the American Psychiatric Association, helping to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses.
And while Kameny was honored in his native Washington D.C. with his own “Frank Kameny Way,” the Gittings dedication will be in the heart of Philly’s own Gayborhood, thanks to the work of leaders from many local LGBT organizations, including 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 “Barbara Gittings Way” dedication will also kick off Equality Forum’s LGBT History Month in October, celebrating 31 LGBT icons. Equality Forum’s Executive Director Malcolm Lazin will be among the speakers at the special event, along with City Councilman Mark Squilla. There will also be a performance by the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus.
Barbara Gittings Way Dedication, Oct. 1, 12:30 p.m., intersection of 13th and Locust streets.