« A SUICIDAL PURGE BY FRANCE'S SOCIALISTS | Main | WIHISTLEBLOWER ON LOS ALAMOS LABS ASSAULTED »

June 06, 2005

JEAN O'LEARY, 1948-2005

Jjean_oleary Pioneer gay and lesbian activist Jean O'Leary died on June 4 after a long and difficult battle against lung cancer, at the San Clemente, California home of Lisa Phelps, her partner of 12 years, and surrounded  by her family and close friends. I first met Jean at the headquarters of the Gay Activists Alliance in 1971 (it was located in a converted firehouse). In 1972, frustrated with the sexism of the male-dominated GAA, she founded Lesbian Feminist Liberation, taking most of the women from GAA  with her and establishing one of the first organized lesbian voices  within the women’s movement.  Two years later, O’Leary and Bruce Voeller, then executive director of the National Gay Task Force (NGTF), negotiated an agreement for co-gender management of the national gay  movement and O’Leary joined Voeller as co-executive director of NGTF. I had the opportunity of working with Jean on a number of gay civil rights and activist projects in that crucial '70s decade for the lesbian and gay movement -- Jean had been a nun, but we quickly forgave her that, and I remember her with great fondness as a tireless, creative, and good-humored comrade and friend.

Feminist leader Gloria Steinem, who worked often with O’Leary, issued this statement: "Jean O'Leary was a link of kindness and humanity and  inclusive politics who helped the women's movement to recognize the universal cost of homophobia, and the gay movement to see that  marginalizing the voices of lesbians would only diminish its power. I  know she will be with us as long as we remember what she taught us, but I and thousands of others will always miss her spirit." Well said, Gloria.

In her role at NGTF, and through her close friendship with PresidentiaNyiwy02l advisor Midge Costanza, in 1977 O’Leary organized the historic first-ever meeting of gay rights advocates in the White House.  (The photo left shows, l. to r., Jean and my old friend Midge Costanza at a women's action in 1977). She was also the first openly gay person appointed to a Presidential  commission, by President Jimmy Carter, who named her to the  National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year.  In that role, she negotiated the inclusion of gay and lesbian rights on  the agenda of the International Women’s Year conference held in Houston  in 1979. In the 1980s, Jean founded National Gay Rights Advocates (NGRA).  As head of NGRA, O’Leary pursued “impact litigation” and won important  victories protecting gay people from discrimination in employment,  housing and other areas.  In1985 NGRA became one of the first advocacy  organizations to focus on the legal and civil liberties ramifications of the AIDS epidemic.

Sean Strub, founder of POZ Magazine, said after Jean's death, “Jean’s activism spanned so many movements:  the women’s movement, gay and lesbian rights, AIDS  activism as well as Democratic party politics. [Jean was a member of the Democratic National Committee for 12 years.]Her early AIDS activism  through NGRA, particularly in expediting access to new treatments,  saved many lives.   Her passing is a loss for all people who are ill, disadvantaged or suffering, and all people who treasure justice.”

I join with all those who have a special thought for Jean O'Leary as she leaves us. The importance of her contribution to helping create an ever-larger public, cultural, and political space for lesbian and gay people, as she was a key figure in the early days of the modern movement, cannot be overstated. We are all in her debt. (A collection of Jean's papers from the '70s is on deposit at Cornell University's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Thanks to Shana Krochmal for e-mailing me an extensive bio of Jean, from which I have condensed a few crucial details. A longer bio of Jean can be found at the online LGBTQ encyclopedia. For info on the memorial service for Jean being planned for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, write Shana at shananaomi@earthlink.net)

Posted by Direland at 12:26 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c0c4453ef00d8342430df53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference JEAN O'LEARY, 1948-2005:

» Jean O’Leary, RIP from Shakespeare's Sister
Pioneer gay rights activist, Jean O’Leary, organizer of the very first meeting of gay rights advocates in the White House and the first openly gay person appointed to a Presidential commission, has died. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 6, 2005 12:09:59 PM

» Ireland tops EU alcohol spending from Commission has
report carried out by the European Commission has said a higher proportion of income in [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 7:18:16 AM

» Britian's Plan to Monitor Every Car on the Road Advances from by computer,
is already working on ways of automatically recognising human faces by computer, which many people would see as [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2006 5:44:13 AM

» Knott: Pistons Have Lost Their Dominance from a game to come
Otherwise, a daunting 3-1 deficit is the fate before the Pistons. Unlike the Spurs, [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2006 12:22:14 PM

» Info Security Products Guide Names Ecora Patch Manager Winner of the 2006 Global Excellence in Patch Management Award from Global Excellence
Products Guide, a Silicon Valley Communications publication and the worlds [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 12, 2006 9:08:17 AM

» White House Predicts Solid Growth, Lower Unemployment from its economic
economic forecast on Thursday, predicting solid growth and a lower unemployment rate this year. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 13, 2006 1:31:14 AM

» Razr Photos from projects today
War and the Christmas Tree My lunch - Veggie Sushi (Tastes Better than it Looks) Guardian of the Boots Tags: gada.be - Photos | Houston [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2006 3:28:38 PM

» Wise: In Heat of the Night, a Champion Is Born from his own coin
to attend a clandestine dinner in Los Angeles two years ago, a dinner in which he would entertain serious notions [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 20, 2006 2:09:31 PM

» Is a Diet Pill the Recipe for a Slimmer You? from upplement Industry
upplement Industry Thrives Despite Potential Health Risks [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 21, 2006 2:05:13 AM

» WNBA: Laimbeer's Shock Quiet Sky in Chicago from Detroit Shock.
3,135 at the UIC Pavilion, Laimbeer and his team did leave Sky fans in a state of disgust [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 28, 2006 7:26:56 AM

» Supreme Court Rules: Bush Overstepped Bounds from upreme Court
Court blocks war crimes trials for Guantanamo detainees. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 2, 2006 6:04:49 AM

» Round Two looks to launch enhanced Firefox from sometime in the
contend with. Updated: Removed references to Blake Ross. Blake Ross is not affiliated with Round Two. I [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 3:08:24 PM

» Netscape DevEdge Back Online from days, Netscape
is back online (as of today at noon, Mozilla time). Mitchell Baker, thanks! [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 10:35:42 PM

» Nuggets' Hodge Has Surgery from Network report
Network report in THE HERALD NEWS, Denver Nuggets guard Julius Hodge had minor surgery Friday to have a bullet fragment [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 25, 2006 4:04:28 AM

Comments

As many of you know, Wald has been known for having thier cars slammed beyond belief (the Z that is), I've always wondered how they can drive the thing. Well, they've updated thier website to include the suspension they are using. As the thread title states, it's Canover Air suspension. I did the conversion, and it appears to run around 3,200. Not tooooooooo bad if you ask me. Anyway... enjoy.

Posted by: air shocks | Jan 19, 2009 2:27:05 PM

http://www.batteryfast.com/acer/as07b71.htm acer as07b71 battery,

Posted by: laptop battery | Oct 12, 2008 10:31:48 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.