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Madeline Davis, Who Spoke to the Nation as a Lesbian, Dies at 80

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“I am a woman and a lesbian, a minority of minorities,” Madeline Davis told the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach. “Now we are coming out of our closets and onto the convention floor.” That speech was heard by few outside the Miami Beach Convention Center, delivered just after 5 a.m.

on July 12, and the party platform plank that she and other gay and lesbian delegates were supporting — a proposal to enact anti-discrimination statutes to protect gay and lesbian Americans — did not pass.

But it was still a watershed day for lesbian and gay rights. In taking the dais, Ms. Davis, who died on April 28 at 80, stood as the first openly lesbian delegate to a national political convention in the United States.

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