Inside Out: Capturing the heart of a Lyon

Feminist and gay rights activist Phyllis LyonBY CHERYL MAZAK
Mazak Photography

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin spent 56 years together before they were able to legally wed. In June 2008, the enduring couple was married in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage. Sadly, Martin passed away just two months later at the age of 87 due to complications from a fracture in her arm.

Lyon and Martin were renowned feminists and gay rights activists. Together they founded San Franciso’s Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, which became the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States, and were later the first lesbian couple to become members of The National Organization for Women.

This photo of the legendary Lyon was taken at the Annual Spring Fling Benefit for Open House in San Francisco many years ago.

Cheryl Mazak is a Toronto photographer obsessed with getting the heart of her subjects. See more from Cheryl at

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