Well Deserved Bravas

From Ernie McLeod at Vermont Freedom to Marry (where I saw it before I went out for a Free Press) comes this great news: two Vermont-connected lesbians are among the 20 MacArthur Foundation grant award winners for this year.

Mary Bonauto helped Beth Robinson and Susan Murray with the Baker v. State lawsuit that eventually resulted in the groundbreaking legislative recognition for same-sex couples that was civil unions. Vermont's was her first marriage equality case.  Bonauto lives in Maine and has worked on marriage equality in many states. Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer arguing for DOMA repeal on the Edie Windsor case against New york state in the Supreme Court, reportedly told The New York Times, "No gay person in this country would be married without Mary Bonauto."  

After her appearance in this morning's Burlington Free Press for her MacArthur Foundation fellowship grant, few Vermonters will need an introduction to Alison Bechdel, who has made her home in Bolton since 1991.

Bechdel is the creative genius behind Fun Home, a graphic memoir exploring her childhood and relationship with her possibly gay father. She followed that book with Are You My Mother?. And before that, for 25-plus years she drew and gave voice to a varied and diverse community of lesbians, bisexuals, and occasional gay, bi- or straight men in the syndicated comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.  The MacArthur Foundation recognized Bechdel this way:

[Referring to Fun  Home] An impeccable observer and record-keeper, Bechdel incorporates drawings of archival materials, such as diaries, letters, photographs, and news clippings, as well as a variety of literary references in deep reflections into her own past. […]  As in Fun Home, the images in Are You My Mother? do not always correspond to or illustrate the words; rather, they mutually interpret or often tug against each other, creating a space between them that invites a multiplicity of interpretations.


Brava! to both women for well-deserved recognition and congratulations on the grant of funds ($625k) that help provide security on which to base future endeavors.

2 thoughts on “Well Deserved Bravas

  1. Here’s what she had to say about the award to the Bangor Daily News:

    “This award is a testament to the justice-seeking work of innumerable people all across the nation,” said Bonauto, in a press release. “I deeply appreciate the Foundation’s vote of confidence in our movement’s work as we strive to remove barriers to LGBT people’s full participation in society. So many have given so much to bring us to this point – whether our courageous plaintiffs or people whose names history may never know – and every bit of it has mattered. This honor is an investment in a better future for all.”

    Apparently this response is typically modest for Mary Bonauto, giving credit to all the people involved.


    Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. ~ Lois McMaster Bujold

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