OLOC's current SPOTLIGHT Members
To nominate lesbians to be added to this page send your spotlight information to email@example.com
Vera Martin 1923–2012
Born in 1923 in Natchez, Mississippi, Vera was raised, not by her own
parents, but by her mother's guardians. They were a very strict older farm
couple, and their parenting style left little room for Vera to be a child. At
age 16, it was arranged for Vera to move to California to live with her
mother (a woman she barely knew and with whom she had rarely spent time)
and her step-father. After a harrowing ride half way across the country with
strangers, Vera arrived in California, ready to finish up her schooling. To her
dismay, Vera's mother insisted (for her own convenience), on putting Vera
back several years in school and she had to repeat those years.
Vera married while a senior in high school, and had a daughter a year later.
Nine years later her husband returned from World War II, and a son was
born. By then her husband was a virtual stranger and the marriage ended
soon after his return. She later married a closeted gay man who was a fine
father to her young son, and she remained married to him until his death.
Vera worked for Los Angeles County from 1946 until her retirement in
1985. During her tenure, she had worked her way through thirteen different
county departments, finally becoming a supervisor and systems analyst.
Early in her career she nearly lost her job for refusing to sign a loyalty oath,
and has been very active in Civil Rights issues all through her life.
After her husband's death she came out as a lesbian, and added gay and
lesbian issues to the already lenghty list of activist causes about which she
is passionate. She served on the Board of the BlackGay and Lesbian
Leadership Forum, and was a founding mother of Old Lesbians Organizing for
Change in 1989. She served on the OLOC Steering committee for fourteen
years, seven of those as Co-Director. She was involved with NGLTF, and was
one of a group of OLOC members who forced the American Society on Aging
(ASA) to form an auxillary group to address the issues of aging LGBT people.
In her years as a civil rights worker she belonged to NAACP, Urban League,
CORE, Connexxus, and Local 660 AFL/CIO.
Vera generously shared her wealth of experience and insights
with OLOC, NGLTF, and various other organizations as well as leading an
active life in life in Apache Junction, AZ.