Friends of Michela Griffo
Michela Griffo, MFA, MSW, started her political life by becoming a member of the Redstockings after witnessing, at the age of 16, a close friend almost die of an illegal abortion. In June of 1969, Michela was living with her high school sweetheart who she planned to marry when she graduated from Pratt Institute. Religious differences caused the end of the engagement. At the time, Michela was working at The Rat as the “paste-up artist” where she would meet Martha Shelly and Karla Jay. She also was one of the first twelve members of The National Organization for Women. In August of 1969 Michela met and fell in love with a woman. She was told that now she could lose her job, be thrown out of her apartment etc. To Michela it simply boiled down to “this is unacceptable” and she found her way to the GLF in December of 1969. She subsequently resigned from NOW and worked full time with GLF to end the Mafia control of lesbian bars. In March of 1970, after reading Susan Brownmiller’s article in the NY Times calling the “lesbian issue” in the Feminist Movement “a Lavender Herring”, Michela made a T-shirt that said “Lavender Herring” and wore it to a GLF dance. The rest is history as the Lavender Menace and Radicalesbians began their history of formulating demonstrations and involvement in all social justice issues. A clear legacy of GLF membership is her continued volunteer work as a social worker with Remote Area Medical (ramusa.org), which brings free Dental and Vision care to the most economically challenged areas of the United States. She is also a Visionary member of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art; and as an artist continues to create politically provocative work.
Marching in the First Gay Pride March was one of her proudest moments.
Her story can be found in Arthur Dong’s PBS documentary “A Question of Equality:Outrage 69” as well as Steve Dansky and John Knoebel’s “OUTSpoken: Oral History from LGBTQ Pioneers. As an artist her work has been exhibited in galleries and Museums throughout the country. Her work will be included in the historic exhibit: “Art After Stonewall: 1969-1984” which will open in April 2019 in New York City. Michela lives in New York, NY and Black Rock, CT.
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