Lesbian Icon and 'It's My Party' Singer, Lesley Gore, Dies

Feminist icon and singer-songwriter Lesley Gore passed away yesterday at the age of 68, after suffering from lung cancer.

A close-up of Lesley Gore smiling

Gore was only 16 years-old when she recorded everyone’s favourite spoilt-girl anthem, It’s My Party, in 1963. Thereafter, she recorded upbeat Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows and the feminist anthem You Don’t Own Me. She then went on to have a guest spot on the 1960s Batman TV show and co-write the Academy Award-nominated song Out Here On My Own from Fame.

Lesley Gore was never afraid to display and celebrate her feminist ideals, partaking in a PSA about women’s reproductive rights, which used her song You Don’t Own Me.

“I recorded ‘You Don’t Own Me’ in 1964. It’s hard for me to believe, but we’re still fighting for the same things we were then. Yes, ladies, we’ve got to come together. Get out there and vote and protect our bodies. They’re ours.”

“You Don’t Own Me” PSA – Upworthy from The Department of Peace on Vimeo.

In 2004, Gore started hosting the PBS program In the Life, which focused on LGBT issues, and then came out as gay in a 2005 interview.

“Well, I didn’t know until I was in my twenties, so if [anyone] knew it, they knew it before I did. [Laughs] You know, maybe someone did think that. I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t know it until I was in my twenties. …. I just kind of lived my life naturally and did what I wanted to do. I didn’t avoid anything, I didn’t put it in anybody’s face. Times were very different then, so, you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible.”

“It gave me the gravitas I needed to get beyond doing the pop song,”

Her death was first reported by her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson. Sasson, a jewellery designer, said that Gore “was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian.”

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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