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Authority record

Daughters of Bilitis

  • GB 1543
  • Corporate body
  • 1955 - c.1971

The Daughters of Bilitis was set up in 1955 by Phyllis Lyon (pseudonym Ann Henderson) and Del Martin in San Francisco. The name 'Bilitis' was taken from a poem written by the French poet, Pierre Louys (1870 -1925), in which Bilitis is described as Sappho's lover on the Isle of Lesbos.
The aim of the women's group was 'for the purpose of promoting the integration of the homosexual in society' firstly through the education of the 'variant, with particular emphasis on the psychological, physiological and sociological aspects, to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society...this to be accomplished by establishing and maintaining as complete a library as possible of both fiction and non-fiction literature on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions on pertinent subjects to be conducted by leading members of the legal, psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behaviour and dress acceptable to society'. Secondly, it aimed to educate 'the public at large through acceptance first of the individual, leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices'. Thirdly, it aimed to participate in research and lastly, to investigate the penal code 'as it pertains to the homosexual.' (Taken from description in cover of <em>The Ladder</em>, the society's monthly publication).

Poster-Film Collective

  • GB 1543
  • Corporate body
  • 1970s-1980s

The group was first formed in 1971 when a group of artists, photographers and filmmakers came together at the Slade School of Art to produce posters in response to the Miner's Strike and the wars in Vietnam and Ireland. The Collective was soon supplemented with other artists with left-wing, anti-imperialist and socialist sympathies from St Martin's, Hornsey, the Royal College of Art and other art colleges. It had a global outlook and its members included people from Chile, Holland, Africa, USA, Ireland, Brazil and Argentina. The group was voluntary and worked on a non-profit basis. It produced individual and handmade posters for causes such as the struggle for women's liberation, and posters against colonialism in Africa and against racism, often in collaboration with other organisations. In addition it made three history sets of educational posters, each set consisting of twelve posters, these were: 'Whose World is the World', a history of colonialism; 'Between Future and Past' (1983), a history of women's struggle for equality in the west; and 'Future Fictions', a historical view of technology. The group also put on exhibitions and produced films.

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