Peace Activism and GLBT Rights
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Published in: September-October 2004 issue.


AS GAY MEN AND WOMEN have come out of the closet and achieved basic civil rights, many in the movement have focused most of their attention on gaining full equality, including the right to serve in the armed forces. But GLBT people have also played a vital role in peace and antiwar activism, speaking out against military conflicts from World War I to the current war in Iraq.

One of the earliest U.S. antiwar organizations, the War Resisters League (WRL), was formed in 1923 by activists opposed to World War I. Among its founders were Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon, two Bryn Mawr graduates who lived together in a romantic friendship for more than sixty years and devoted their lives to women’s suffrage, peace, and social justice activism.

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Liz Highleyman, a freelance writer based in San Francisco, has written widely on health, sexuality, and politics. An earlier version of the first section of this article was originally published by Q Syndicate (


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