“These courageous women fought the good fight in their home and it is of great importance to acknowledge that fact."
Dear Ms. Major and Honorable PLUM committee members,
We live in a period of comparative acceptance of persons of alternative lifestyles. I say comparative because at 72, I remember when it wasn't always so. I witnessed arrests for same sex hand holding. A generation has followed mine which is less aware of the freedoms that have been hard won, and sometimes even less aware of those who were on the front lines as were Phyllis Martin and Del Martin. These courageous women fought the good fight in their home and it is of great importance to acknowledge that fact, especially during this, National Coming Out month.
Because of the advances made in LGBTQ civil rights, here, in Los Angeles, as well as around the globe, it is difficult for government agencies, organizations, and individuals to understand that our "landmarks" are unusual and unique. As an illegal activity for so many years, there are few, if any, purpose-built gay landmarks. Generally our social activities took place in rented facilities that were built for a myriad of other purposes including restaurants, cocktail lounges and importantly - homes. Very much parallel to the Harry Hay house in Los Angeles, the Lyons-Martin home was in all likelihood considered in some quarters, a place where illegal activity took place, or was at the very least, suspect of taking place there. These women placed their residence at risk in order to further their belief and commitment to equality. Can we do less than acknowledge and honor that commitment?
Additionally, recognizing a residence, especially one of long duration as this is, also demonstrates that these individuals were part of a neighborhood, part of a community, part of a city. Honoring their residence would demonstrate our recognition that the LGBTQ community has always been with us, always been a part of us.
I would like the committee to consider approving this rare and significant residential structure as a landmark for its contribution to the social and community history of San Francisco. I believe this will be of great service for future generations.
Richard Adkins, President
Hollywood Heritage, Inc.