Remembering Edith Windsor, a Lesbian Pioneer and So Much More – Vogue.com

One thousand one hundred thirty-eight—this was the number of federal benefits same-sex couples were denied when Edie Windsor sued the government for equal protection under the law. Thea Spyer, the woman Windsor had been with for 40 years, the life partner she had married in Canada in 2007, had died, and since the federal government did not recognize their union, Windsor was slapped with a hefty tax bill. She lawyered up, she fought, she won, and she paved the way for legal gay marriage in every state.

Windsor, who passed away today at the age of 88, will be remembered for spearheading this legislation, and her fierce fight was a gift to the world—but she was so much more than a mere litigant. She lived a rich gay life when there were barely any words (well, any nice words) to describe such a choice; she climbed the steep ladder at IBM, becoming a computer programmer at the company in 1958, which was quite a feat for a woman in those Mad Men days.

In her long life, Windsor saw the blossoming of a gay movement she could never have imagined. If anyone would have told her, growing up in working-class Philadelphia during the Depression, that someday she would be a runner-up to the pope for Time magazine’s 2013 person of the year, that she would be crowned a grand marshal of New York City’s LGBT Pride Parade, she would have thought it was a crazy fairy tale.

And maybe it started out that way. But, Edie, you and others like you made it mighty real! Thank you for your brilliance and your courage, your strength and your imagination, your willingness to dream. We are all in your debt.


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