OLOC’s current SPOTLIGHT Members
To nominate lesbians to be added to this page send your spotlight information to firstname.lastname@example.org
VERA MARTIN – CO-DIRECTOR EMERITA – 1923–2012
Born in 1923 in Natchez, Mississippi, Vera was raised, not by her own parents, but by her mother’s guardians. They were a very strict older farm couple, and their parenting style left little room for Vera to be a child. At age 16, it was arranged for Vera to move to California to live with her mother (a woman she barely knew and with whom she had rarely spent time) and her step-father. After a harrowing ride half way across the country with strangers, Vera arrived in California, ready to finish up her schooling. To her dismay, Vera’s mother insisted (for her own convenience), on putting Vera back several years in school and she had to repeat those years.
Vera married while a senior in high school, and had a daughter a year later. Nine years later her husband returned from World War II, and a son was born. By then her husband was a virtual stranger and the marriage ended soon after his return. She later married a closeted gay man who was a fine father to her young son, and she remained married to him until his death.
Vera worked for Los Angeles County from 1946 until her retirement in 1985. During her tenure, she had worked her way through thirteen different county departments, finally becoming a supervisor and systems analyst. Early in her career she nearly lost her job for refusing to sign a loyalty oath, and has been very active in Civil Rights issues all through her life.
After her husband’s death she came out as a lesbian, and added gay and lesbian issues to the already lengthy list of activist causes about which she is passionate. She served on the Board of the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum, and was a founding mother of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change in 1989. She served on the OLOC Steering committee for fourteen years, seven of those as Co-Director. She was involved with NGLTF, and was one of a group of OLOC members who forced the American Society on Aging (ASA) to form an auxillary group to address the issues of aging LGBT people. In her years as a civil rights worker she belonged to NAACP, Urban League, CORE, Connexxus, and Local 660 AFL/CIO.
Vera generously shared her wealth of experience and insights with OLOC, NGLTF, and various other organizations as well as leading an active life in life in Apache Junction, AZ.
ARDEN EVERSMEYER – CO-DIRECTOR EMERITA – HOUSTON, TEXAS
Born in 1931 in northern Wisconsin, Arden Eversmeyer was the oldest of two girls in a middle-class family. Her father was a white collar worker and her mother a school teacher. They moved to Dallas, Texas in 1943, where both girls finished high school in Highland Park. Arden went to college at Texas State College for Women (now TWU), graduating in 1951. Her graduate work was at Sam Houston University.
Arden spent thirty years in public school work. She set up and taught one of the first driver education/driver training programs in Texas near Amarillo in 1951. She moved to Houston where she taught physical education, and then her last 19 years as a secondary counselor. She retired in 1981. In 1952 she met the woman who became her life partner for 33 years.
After her partner’s death in 1985 and her own retirement, Arden began exploring community activism. During the years of integration (1960’s) she served as an officer with her Civic Club; she served 22 years as a docent with Houston Zoological Gardens; she served six years as a Mayor’s appointee from the LGBT community to the Area Agency on Aging; in 1987 she founded Lesbians Over Age Fifty (LOAF) with a continuing membership of nearly 200 lesbians between 50 and 91 years of age; she served 14 years on the OLOC Steering Committee, the last seven as Co-Director with Vera Martin; and, in 1999 Arden founded, and continues to serve as Project Director for the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project.
Arden continues to travel for the Oral Herstory Project, and lives in Houston, Texas with her partner of 23 years, Charlotte Avery.