Lilli Vincenz

Lilli Vincenz is a lesbian activist and the first lesbian member of the gay political activist effort, the Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW).[2][3] She served as the editor of the organization's newsletter and in 1969 along with Nancy Tucker created the independent newspaper, the Gay Blade, which later became the Washington Blade.[4]

Lilli Vincenz
Born (1937-09-26) September 26, 1937 (age 85)[1]
Hamburg, Germany
Known forThe Mattachine Society

Vincenz invited women to meet every week at her home during the 1970s to create a safe venue for gay women to discuss gay activism and other lesbian-related issues, and her home became known as the Gay Women's Open House (GWOH).[5] These meetings became the Gay Women's Alternative. She described her decision in an interview:

I decided to have women come into our home every week for seven years, and it just become an establishment. And it was wonderful to have them come, and we had musicians come ... lots of women who didn't know where to go, they didn't want to go to the bars, they just wanted to be in a place that was safe, so we provided that.[3]

Vincenz was the only self-identified lesbian to participate in the second White House picket with Frank Kameny in 1965.[2] A January 1966 photograph of Vincenz, taken by Kay Lahusen, appeared on the cover of the lesbian magazine The Ladder, making her the first woman with her face showing to do so.[6]

Vincenz made an appearance on PBS' David Susskind Show in 1971, along with six other lesbians, including Barbara Gittings and Barbara Love. They were among the first open lesbians to appear on television in the US, and debated long-held stereotypes about gays with Susskind.[7]

In 2013, her papers, films, and other memorabilia were donated to the Library of Congress. [4][8]


  1. ^ "LGBT History Month: Lilli Vincenz". Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  2. ^ a b Jack Nichols (1999-08-30). "Lilli Vincenz: A Lesbian Pioneer". Gay Today. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  3. ^ a b Mark Meinke (2011-10-13). "The Rainbow History Project: Preserving Our Community's History, 50th Anniversary of the Mattachine Society of Washington Panel Discussion with Paul Kuntzler and Lilli Vincez,Transcript" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-13. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  4. ^ a b Lou Chibbaro Jr. (2013-07-30). "Library of Congress acquires papers of Lilli Vincenz". The Washington Blade. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
  5. ^ "Gay Women's Open House -- March 10, 1971". The Rainbow History Project. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  6. ^ "Kay Lahusen". Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  7. ^ Bullough, Vern, ed. (2002) Before Stonewall: Activists for gay and lesbian rights in historical context. Page 247. Harrington Park Press; ISBN 1-56023-192-0
  8. ^ Monica Hesse (2013-07-25). "In Lilli Vincenz's papers, a trove of gay rights history". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-03-27.

External linksEdit

The Lilli M. Vincenz Collection at the Library of Congress includes her documentary films: