Gittings, Barbara

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Gittings, Barbara Gender: F
Katherine Brooks Gittings
born on 31 July 1932 at 17:00 (= 5:00 PM )
Place Vienna, Austria, 48n13, 16e2223
Timezone CET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 08°12' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 16°57 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 26°45'

File:Barbara Gittings in 1972.jpg
Barbara Gittings (1972)
photo: Kay Tobin Lahusen, license gfdl


American pioneering activist for lesbian and gay equality, who organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) from 1958 to 1963, edited the national DOB magazine The Ladder from 1963 to 1966, and worked closely with Frank Kameny in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the largest employer in the USA at that time: the United States government.

Gittings participated in many of the earliest LGBT actions in the United States. In 1965, Gittings marched in the first gay picket lines at the White House, the US State Department, and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to protest the federal government's policy on discrimination of homosexuals, holding a sign that read "Sexual preference is irrelevant to federal employment."

Her early experiences with trying to learn more about lesbianism fueled her lifetime work with libraries. In the 1970s, Gittings was most involved in the American Library Association, especially its gay caucus, the first such in a professional organization, in order to promote positive literature about homosexuality in libraries.

She was a part of the movement to get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness in 1972. Her self-described life mission was to tear away the "shroud of invisibility" related to homosexuality, which had theretofore been associated with crime and mental illness.

Gittings and her lifelong partner, Kay Tobin (also known as Kay Tobin Lahusen; born 1930) met in 1961 at a picnic in Rhode Island. Gittings described how they began: "We hit it off, we started courting. I flew to Boston [to see her] and got off the plane with a big bunch of flowers in my hand. I couldn't resist. I did not care what the world thought. I dropped the flowers, grabbed her and kissed her. That was not being done in 1961." Gittings and Lahusen were together for 46 years.

On 18 February 2007, Gittings died in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania after a long battle with breast cancer. She was survived by her life partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen, and her sister, Eleanor Gittings Taylor.

Gittings was awarded a lifetime membership in the American Library Association, and the ALA named an annual award for the best gay or lesbian novel the Barbara Gittings Award. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also named an activist award for her.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Lyon, Phyllis (born 10 November 1924)
  • associate relationship with Martin, Del (born 5 May 1921)


  • Death by Disease 18 February 2007 (Breast cancer, age 74)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided U.S. Consular Report of Birth.


  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Breast)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (46 years with partner, Kay Tobin)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex
  • Family : Parenting : Kids none
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate
  • Passions : Sexuality : Lesbian
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Breast cancer)
  • Vocation : Education : Librarian
  • Vocation : Education : Public speaker
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ feminist (Lesbian)
  • Vocation : Writers : Magazine/ newsletter ("The Ladder")
  • Vocation : Writers : Publisher/ Editor