Photojournalist, homosexual rights pioneer Kay Lahusen dies at 91

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Kay Lahusen, a pioneering homosexual rights activist who chronicled the motion’s earliest days by means of her images and writing, has died. She was 91.

Generally known as the primary brazenly homosexual U.S. photojournalist, Lahusen died Wednesday at Chester County Hospital exterior Philadelphia, following a short sickness.

Collectively along with her companion, the late activist Barbara Gittings, Lahusen advocated for homosexual civil rights years earlier than the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York helped launch the trendy LGBTQ period. She captured broadly revealed pictures of a few of the nation’s first protests.

Lahusen “was the primary photojournalist in our neighborhood,” mentioned Mark Segal, a buddy of greater than 50 years and founder and writer of the Philadelphia Homosexual Information. “Virtually each picture we now have of that point is from Kay.”

Lahusen photographed a collection of homosexual rights demonstrations held in entrance of Philadelphia’s Independence Corridor every July 4 from 1965 to 1969 — and was a marcher herself, carrying indicators that mentioned “First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals” and “Finish Official Persecution of Homosexuals.” She documented homosexual rights protests on the White Home and the Pentagon.

“Regardless of the Founding Fathers envisioned because the rights and privileges of our residents, we wished for ourselves as nicely,” she advised WHYY for a 2015 commemoration. “Anyone needed to get out and present their face in public and proclaim issues and be aggressive.”

Lahusen’s life companion, Gittings, was one of many nation’s most distinguished lesbian activists and co-organizer of the “Annual Reminder” pickets in Philadelphia.

That they had met in 1961 at a picnic held by Daughters of Bilitis, the primary recognized lesbian group within the U.S. whose East Coast chapter Gittings had based. Lahusen was arts editor and shot groundbreaking cowl photographs of homosexual girls for the group’s nationwide publication, The Ladder, which Gittings edited.

Lahusen additionally was a founding member of the Homosexual Activists Alliance and photographed that group’s protests, referred to as “zaps.” She was there for Philadelphia’s first homosexual pleasure march in 1972. Below the pseudonym Kay Tobin, she co-authored a 1972 e-book, “The Homosexual Crusaders,” which profiled the motion’s early leaders.

Lahusen and Gittings additionally took half within the marketing campaign that led to the American Psychiatric Affiliation’s 1973 choice to drop homosexuality from its listing of psychological issues.

Lahusen and Gittings had been a pair for 46 years. After Gittings’ 2007 dying, Lahusen spent her later years in a retirement residence in Kennett Sq., the place she gave interviews, helped preserve Gittings’ legacy and saved alive the historical past of the early homosexual civil rights motion.

“Stonewall was not the very first thing, that is what she would inform you,” mentioned her buddy, Judith Armstrong. “The historical past is there and the historical past she positively wished to be preserved. … She wished the story to be on the market.”

The New York Public Library homes an intensive collectionof Gittings and Lahusen’s papers and pictures.

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