A Woman to Know: Ruth Ellis

She was old and black and poor and gay, and happily herself. — Dudley Clendinen

(image via Nancy Andrews)

For entire decades, Ruth Ellis made headlines as "the oldest surviving lesbian." At 80 years of living openly as a gay woman in Detroit, journalists marveled at her tenacity. Ruth and her partner, "Babe" Franklin, turned their home into a salon for the LGBTQ community, known as "the gay spot" amongst Detroit visitors.

After Babe died in the 1970s, Ruth opened their place up as a safe haven for runaway gay teens. Today, the Ruth Ellis Community Center in Detroit fosters homeless LGTBQ youth -- and, most importantly, takes care of elderly gay adults.

Add to your library list:

Read more:

Listen more:

** A note: Lena Dunham recently announced she would match donations to the Ruth Ellis Center.**

** Thank you to Amy Elliott Bragg for recommending Ruth as a woman to know! And for supporting this newsletter. **

** Send your own recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition. You can browse the archive here. **