A personal hero of mine and a founding mother of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender--rights movement, Dorothy (Del) Martin died Aug. 27 at the age of 87. Del's entire life was marked by moments of singular courage, intelligence and insight. She began as a journalist, studying at the University of California, Berkeley. She applied her vision and writing skills to activism, and she can be credited with some of the most transformative changes toward LGBT equality. Del's contributions include co-founding the nation's first lesbian organization--Daughters of Bilitis--and the first lesbian newspaper, The Ladder. But perhaps the memory I hold most dear is witnessing her legal marriage to Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years, on June 16. I can't quite grasp a life and career without Del, and I am heartbroken for Phyllis, who for 55 years made a vibrant life with Del. My pledge is to honor her unsurpassed legacy by working every day to keep alive her vision for full equality and justice for all of us.
Kendell is the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights