Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Joan Fleischmann

Joan Fleischmann was born on June 3, 1933, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from West Chester University and became a teacher, then became involved with the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950s after her employer received a letter outing her as a lesbian and forced her to resign. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, she wrote for DOB’s publication, The Ladder, and for several years she served as the secretary of the New York City chapter. She was arrested in the 1960 Radnor Raid, in which police in suburban Greater Philadelphia raided a home where Mattachine Society of New York leaders were trying to organize a Philadelphia chapters. Police claimed that pornographic films were being shown and arrested over eighty gay men and lesbians. In response, Fleischmann and others founded the Mattachine Society of Philadelphia, which changed its name to the Janus Society in 1964. Fleischmann subsequently served as the secretary, president, and conference coordinator of East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO), an organization that united various homophile organizations along the East Coast (1962-1966). She died on January 3, 2013. To learn more about Fleischmann’s life and legacy, visit her interview with the Philadelphia LGBT History Project, 1940-1980, by Marc Stein.