Sunday, August 10, 2014

Out Spotlight

Today's is an artist, a mother and a legendary activist, devoting over 40 years to the feminist and LGBT community’s struggle for civil and human rights. Today's Out Spotlight is Ivy Bottini.

Ivy Bottini was born Ivy Gaffney August 15, 1926 in Lynbrook, Long Island, NY, the only child of Archie and Ivy Gaffney. She described her mother as an unhappy housewife while her father drove a cab. She attended Malvern schools where she was an avid athlete who participated in many sports and was very interested in art. She spent her early school years illustrating book reports, creating maps for geography class that were works of art, designing posters for school activities and painting for her own enjoyment. Gaffney had a good life until age 18 when her father was killed in a tragic accident while driving his cab. The family income was severely limited after his death and looked like her plans for continuing Art School were gone. But a full scholarship from Pratt Institute of Art and Design allow her to continue her studies in advertising, graphic design and illustration.

She went on to study at Pratt Institute School of Art in Brooklyn, NY under full scholarship from 1944 to 1947, where she obtained a certificate in advertising graphic design and illustration. After graduation she worked in several art & advertising agencies in New York City and then completed a 16 year career at Newsday, a major east coast daily newspaper, where she was art director and illustrator.

While working at Newsday she married the boy next door, well the boy across the street, Edward Bottini in 1952 and had two daughters, Laura and Lisa.

The couple bought a home in Levittown, Long Island, NY in 1954 and went on to own and operate three art galleries on Long Island between 1960 and 1965. The galleries concentrated on presenting new artists’ work. She chose to not exhibit her own art in their galleries. She did, however, exhibit in other galleries on Long Island.

She was continued working at Newsday, until her move to Los Angeles in 1971.

In 1966, her life change. One day Dolores Alexander, a reporter at Newsday, told her about an interview the reporter had with Betty Friedan, whose book The Feminine Mystique. Alexander insisted Bottini go with her to a meeting, and soon she was helping to found the first chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) which was located in New York City.

Soon after she left her husband and their two daughters and moved in with a woman in New York City. In 1968, she was elected the president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women; she came out as a lesbian later that year.

In 1969, she designed the logo for the National Organization for Women which is still their logo today. Also in 1969, she held a public forum titled "Is Lesbianism a Feminist Issue?", which was the first time lesbian concerns were introduced into the National Organization for Women.

In 1970, she led a demonstration at the Statue of Liberty where she and others from the National Organization for Women's New York chapter draped an enormous banner over a railing which read "WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE!" During her time at the National Organization for Women's New York chapter she also introduced feminist consciousness raising, which was later adapted for all chapters in the organization to participate in.
However, later in 1970 Betty Friedan engineered the expulsion of lesbians from the National Organization for Women's New York chapter, including Bottini.

She left her career at Newsday moved to Los Angeles in 1971. There she founded AIDS Network LA, the first AIDS organization in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Lesbian/Gay Police Advisory Board.

In 1977, she created and hosted the first Lesbian/Gay radio show on a mainstream network (KHJ in Los Angeles.) In 1978, she was the Southern California deputy director of the successful campaign against the Briggs Initiative (No on 6), which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California's public schools. She later chaired the successful No on LaRouche and No on 64 Initiative campaign. The Larouche initiative (Number 64), which was not passed, might have quarantined people with AIDS.

After moving to LA, Bottini studied acting at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and performed a one-woman show, "The Many Faces of Women", nationwide.

In 1981 she was appointed by then-governor Jerry Brown as Commissioner for "California Commission on Aging", making her the first "out" lesbian or gay person to be appointed to a state board or commission. In 1983 she co-founded AIDS Project Los Angeles.

In 1993, Botinni co-founded the nonprofit organization Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, which in 2007 developed Triangle Square, the first affordable housing complex for gay and lesbian senior citizens in the country.

From 1998 until 1999, Bottini co-chaired the addiction and recovery city task force, and established the ad hoc committee City of West Hollywood, to publicize the issue of lesbian and gay partner abuse.

Also in 1999, she chaired the National Organization for Women's annual national conference, called Pioneer Reunion, in Beverly Hills.

She continued her activism into the new millennium. She co-chaired the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for the City of West Hollywood from 2000 to 2010. In 2001, she was part of a lesbian and gay rights coalition that formed the Alliance for Diverse Community Aging Services to help lesbian and gay seniors obtain assisted living and affordable retirement.

In 2009, the film On These Shoulders We Stand profiled Bottini as well as ten other LGBT activists from the early LGBT rights movement in Los Angeles.

In 2011, she designed t-shirts for the Dyke March in Los Angeles.

Bottini continues to work as a graphic artist. She and a group called the Lavender Effect are currently advocating for a LGBT museum in Los Angeles. She is also advocating for the creation of an AIDS memorial in West Hollywood.

Bottini is a proud grandmother to grandson Jason.

Her papers are held by ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.


Florida Tom said...

Last night I watched some music videos of the Supernatural boys. Wow PG I totally get it. HOT !!!!!

destiny said...

Another great Spotlight Special.

What an amazing life she has had, so many groups that she has started, helped, etc. I'm exhausted just reading about it all.

destiny said...

So sad about Robin Williams.