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social sciences

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Tyler, Robin (b. 1942)  
page: 1  2  

In the late 1990s, Tyler issued another call to march, this time for a 2000 Millennium March on Washington. However, she and other initiators of the march, such as the Human Rights Campaign and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, received a great deal of community criticism for what was perceived as a "top-down" organizing process.

Many grassroots groups, including young queers, queers of color, and labor-based organizations, withdrew support for the march, and a group called the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process formed to confront march organizers and demand a more inclusive structure. Tyler was replaced as executive director of the march.

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Angered by what she later called "the insanity of the politically correct left," she quit the organizing team, determined never to organize another national march. However, in 2005, despite her vow not to work on another national march, Tyler wrote a letter to the feminist journal off our backs, issuing a call for a national glbtq demonstration in April 2008.

Women's culture has always been an important part of the lesbian movement, and Tyler has also devoted her considerable organizing skills to a number of women's music and comedy festivals. As early as 1972, she produced women's music recordings, including a 45 rpm record by Maxine Feldman that is sometimes said to be the first lesbian record.

During the 1980s, Tyler produced several West Coast Women's Music and Comedy Festivals and Southern Womyn's Music and Comedy Festivals.

In the 1990s, she branched out into the travel business with Robin Tyler Tours, offering upscale tour packages for lesbian travelers. On these tours to such exotic locales as China, New Zealand, the Greek isles, Machu Picchu, and Egypt, Tyler accompanies groups of 30 to 50 women who stay at the best hotels, camps, lodges, and yachts available.

Though Tyler has publicly expressed anger and dismay at the various criticisms she has received from the queer community, she remains a passionate activist. In 2000, she became national protest coordinator of the Stop Dr. Laura campaign, a movement that successfully lobbied for the cancellation of the television program hosted by homophobic psychologist Laura Schlessinger.

Tyler is also on the national advisory board of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT), an advocacy group for abused children, and in the early 2000s, she co-produced the Stroll-a-Thon to raise money to care for babies with AIDS.

Tyler is an outspoken advocate of equal marriage laws. She is executive director of the Equality Campaign, which works to legalize same-sex marriage, and national co-chair of, the organization opposing federal and state constitutional amendments that would prohibit same-sex marriage.

Tyler and her partner Diane Olson, the granddaughter of a former governor of California, placed their personal lives in the fight on February 12, 2004, when they filed the first lawsuit for marriage equality in the state of California.

Their lawsuit, subsequently joined to other suits, including those stemming from the San Francisco marriages performed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 and later voided by the courts, culminated in the California Supreme Court's historic ruling of May 15, 2008 that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

In recognition of the role Tyler and Olson played in securing marriage equality, they were permitted to be among the earliest couples married when the court decision became final on June 16, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. The two were married in front of the Beverly Hills Courthouse by a rabbi and then celebrated their wedding at a reception at their home in the San Fernando Valley.

In 2007, Tyler revamped her Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom comedy act to include the decades of glbtq and personal history since it was first written.

Tina Gianoulis

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arts >> Overview:  Cabarets and Revues

Historically, cabarets and revues have been much more likely to mention or imply same-sex desire than the "legitimate" theater; and same-sex desire has been less frequently condemned in cabarets and revues than in mainstream plays.

arts >> Overview:  Comedy: Stand-Up, Lesbian

Lesbian stand-up comedy provides an excellent example of how comedy can foster social and political awareness in both minority and mainstream communities.

literature >> Overview:  Humor

Like other minority groups, gay men and lesbians have had to develop both a particular sense of humor among themselves in order to make their marginal social status endurable and also a defensive awareness toward the rest of the world in order to disarm their adversaries with laughter.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Metropolitan Community Church

The Metropolitan Community Church, a Christian denomination founded to minister to the glbtq community, has grown into a worldwide ministry with over 40,000 members in 18 countries.

arts >> Overview:  Music Festivals

A cultural institution among lesbians, women's music festivals are community-based events that celebrate women's space as much as women's music.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Women's

Stylistically diverse and continually evolving, women's music has broadened over time, but it remains committed to lesbian visibility and feminist values.

social sciences >> Overview:  Parades and Marches

Both parades and marches have served to render the glbtq community visible; whereas marches typically attempt to effect political change, parades and pride events affirm identity and community.

arts >> Overview:  Performance Art

Performance art has been embraced by queer artists as a means of challenging the very idea of traditional in art and culture.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

arts >> Garland, Judy

The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.


Anderson-Minshall, Diane. "Whatever Happened to Her?" Curve 12.4 (2000):

Doyle, J. D. "Script for April 22, 2002, QMH." Queer Music Heritage (April 22, 2002):

Gierach, Ryan. "Always A Bride's Maid, Never A Groom." (February 1, 2007):

"NOW Lesbian Rights Summit: More Mayhem about the Millennium March." off our backs 29.6 (June 1999): 6. 

"Robin Tyler." Matt & Andrej Koymasky--Famous GLTB (February 15, 2002):

Rothblum, Esther. "Lavender Jane Still Loves Women: An Interview with Alix Dobkin." Out in the Mountains (1999):

Simmons, Todd Martinez-Padilla. "March Shuffle." The Advocate (November 9, 1999): 32. 

Tyler, Robin. "An Open Letter By Robin Tyler: Time For Another March On D.C." off our backs 35.7-8 (July-August 2005): 65-67.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Tyler, Robin  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated July 29, 2008  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  


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