Honoring Kate Millett (September 14, 1934 – September 6, 2017)

By Evelyn Bailey

Katherine Murray Millett was an American feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist.

She attended Oxford University and was the first American woman to be awarded a degree with first-class honors after studying at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. She has been described as “a seminal influence on second-wave feminism“, and is best known for her book Sexual Politics (1970),[1] which was based on her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University.

Journalist Liza Featherstone attributes previously unimaginable “legal abortion, greater professional equality between the sexes, and a sexual freedom” being made possible partially due to Millett’s efforts.

The feminist, human rights, peace, civil rights, and anti-psychiatry movements were some of Millett’s principal causes. Her books were motivated by her activism, such as woman’s rights and mental health reform, and several were autobiographical memoirs that explored her sexuality, mental health, and relationships.

On Saturday, September 23, 1978 in Rochester, speaker Kate Millet said the Rally For Rights, conceived as an answer to Anita Bryant’s visit to Rochester, marked the “beginning of a community through the enlargement of our understanding of oppression”. Kate Millet added to one of Anita Bryant’s favorite hate-phrases “Save our children” … “for the Revolution.” At the same rally, Millet said, “We are the future and we know what we want.”

Shoulders To Stand On is proud to recognize Kate Millet as one of our early equal rights activists who is a part of our Rochester LGBTQ history.



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