The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB)Bottom Highlights, Bill's Briefs Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
At a recent meeting the mention of today’s topic brought hardly a flicker of recognition. A sad response to the work of lesbian partners and pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. All they wanted to do in 1955 was to dance together in their favorite bar.
The problem: it was against the law! Fed up, they started a group at their home where they all could dance and be themselves. Word spread and soon it grew to be organized as the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB): the first lesbian civil and political rights organization in the United States. It was a safe place for women to admit their sexual desires, develop self-confidence and advocate for their rights.
The name was chosen to pass as a poetry club to fool the police. (Really necessary? You bet! AAS). By 1958 there were chapters in all the major cities and in 1959 The Ladder magazine was started. For ten years DOB flourished, but as the ’70s neared, the woman’s liberation movement, reaching out beyond lesbian issues and encompassing women’s rights in general became more popular.
After 14 years the Daughters of Bilitis passed into history. However, it remains a shining example for the LGBT community of what a few people can do to make a difference. Del and Phyllis should be remembered and honored for binding women together across the country and having an enormous impact on self-acceptance and public recognition of lesbian life.
Today, various LGBT organizations continue to work for the same goals. For lesbians, however, the Daughters of Bilitis was there at the start and don’t you forget it.
A baby-sitting plan
We with extended families face sporadic pleas to babysit. For seniors, thoughts of an evening of noise, tears and drama gives us pause. With no excuse at hand, we warily agree, beseeching all powers to tire the kids out and pack them into bed early so we can enjoy Judge Judy.
To achieve this goal, I suggest the following fantasy: set up an outdoor target near a water faucet, arm each with a water pistol, gun or bazooka and with firm orders to aim solely at the target and under no circumstances at each other, go inside. Ignore the screams and shrieks for 40 minutes then go out, scold them sternly and have them change clothes, dumping their wet garments into the hamper.
For dinner, cover the kitchen table with plastic and dump the spaghetti and meatballs in the middle and announce “hands only.” The kids will love it and with finger painting a plus, the meal will never be forgotten.
Next, of course, is to clean up the mess with towels, etc. Into the hamper with them along with their clothes which now may have a spot or two on them. Before dessert, hold a race up and down the stairs three times. The winner gets to cut the cake and decide who gets what.
With careful nurturing, a pillow fight should ensue. Finally, after hiding any visible damage, we have the statue contest. Once in bed, they see who can stay still the longest while counting backwards from 100. I predict you should soon be free for Judy’s verdicts. When the folks return, exit quickly, before the kitchen or hamper is visited. You will forever be the kid’s favorite sitter.
With luck, you won’t be invited back.
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