Daughters of Bilitis

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Daughters of Bilitis (D.O.B.) founded in San Francisco, California in 1955. Founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and 3 other couples.

The first openly avowed lesbian social & political group in the United States. Contemporaneous and cooperative with the Mattachine Society the first male homophile group in the US founded in 1951 by Harry Hay.

Published a national newsletter for lesbians "The Ladder".

Held first national convention in San Francisco in 1960.

With the emergent gay rights movement and the growing women's movement, DOB members and chapters were split. The gay movement seemed inhospitable to women and the women's movement inhospitable to lesbians, colloquially refered to as the "lavender menace". Over the course of the 1970s chapters began to dwindle as members drifted toward either the feminist or the gay rights movement.

The name "Bilitis" derives from a book of poetry "Songs of Bilitis" {http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sob/sob000.htm] by French poet Pierre Louys which purports to be translations of a contemporary of Sappho's and explores same sex eroticism between women. "The Daughters of... "was in the tradition of Women's Groups in the USA such as The Daughters of The American Revolution and The Daughters of Texas.

Because it was often unsafe to be know as lesbian at the time, members, if asked, could always say it was "a women's poetry group."

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