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In Philadelphia’s ‘Gayborhood,’ Testimony To A Gay Rights Pioneer

(A City of Philadelphia street sign pays homage to a gay rights pioneer.  Credit: Mike Dunn)

(A City of Philadelphia street sign pays homage to a gay rights pioneer. Credit: Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today, October 1st, marks the start of LGBT History Month.  And leaders of Philadelphia’s gay and lesbian community kicked things off by rededicating a center city block in honor of Barbara Gittings, the late gay rights activist.

A community choir heralded the dedication of the block of Locust Street between 12th and 13th Streets as “Barbara Gittings Way.”

Gittings, who died in 2007, was a pioneer for gay and lesbian rights, and is known as the “Mother of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement. “

Spearheading the renaming effort was Malcolm Lazin of the Equality Forum.

“She really stepped forward in 1965, at a moment in time when almost no one was out,” Lazin said today.  “It was criminal in every one but one state to engage in sexual intimacy.   Our federal government wouldn’t employ us, therefore no one else would.  It was really a remarkably courageous thing that she did.  She, like a Rosa Parks, helped to launch a civil rights movement.”

Gittings lived for thirty years in Philadelphia, and for many of those years picketed on July 4th in front of Independence Hall in support of gay rights.

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