WEST HOLLYWOOD — For more than 40 years, pioneering lesbian activist Ivy Bottini has been on the front lines in Los Angeles and West Hollywood fighting for LGBTQ civil rights and against bigotry.
Bottini, 90, has helped lead several milestones:
- In 1978, Bottini was the Southern California deputy director of No on 6, the campaign that defeated the Briggs Initiative, which would have outlawed gays and lesbians from teaching in California’s public schools.
- In 1986, Bottini later chaired the successful No on LaRouche and No on 64 Initiative campaign that defeated Proposition 64 also known as The LaRouche Initiative, which some people feared might have quarantined people with AIDS.
- In 1993, Bottini co-founded the nonprofit group Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, which, in 2007, developed Triangle Square, the first affordable housing complex for gay and lesbian seniors in the United States.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Bottini was named Woman of the Year for the 50th District earlier this month by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica). The 50th District includes Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood and West Los Angeles.
“At a time when LGBT rights and women’s rights are increasingly under attack, it is important to recognize those trailblazers who inspire today’s aspiring leaders to reach their fullest potential,” Bloom said in a statement. “Ivy Bottini exemplifies the courage, resilience, and principled steadfastness that we should all aspire to have in fighting for justice and equality in our communities.”
“Ivy fights, unrelentingly, to bring justice and equality for marginalized people and communities, and has championed women’s rights and LGBT rights even when it came at personal cost,” Bloom said.
EARLY LESBIAN ACTIVISM
Bottini began her career as an illustrator and graphic artist in New York. She studied at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute School of Art, obtaining a certificate in advertising graphic design and illustration, and spent 16 years as an art director and illustrator at the newspaper Newsday.
Bottini was a founder of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, also known as NOW, where she was an activist and artist — She designed the organization’s national logo. Bottini also pushed for lesbian rights, but in 1970, NWO’s president, Betty Friedan, who didn’t see lesbian activism as part of the women’s rights movement, expelled Bottini and all the other out lesbians.
Bottini relocated to Los Angeles in 1971 and jumped head first into gay and lesbian activism:
- In 1981, Bottini was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown as Commissioner for the California Commission on Aging, making her the first out lesbian or gay person to be appointed to a state board or commission.
- From 2000 to 2010, Bottini co-chaired the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for the City of West Hollywood.