Ivy Bottini (1926-2021)

IVY BOTTINI was born on August 15th, 1926. She was an artist, a mother and a legendary activist, devoting over 50 years to the feminist & LGBT struggle for civil & human rights.

Ivy was married for 16 years, the mother of two daughters, Laura and Lisa and has a grandson, Jason. Ivy and her husband at the time bought a house in Levittown, Long Island, NY in 1954. They owned and operated three art galleries on Long Island between 1960 and 1965. The galleries concentrated on presenting new artists’ work. Ivy chose to not exhibit her own art in their galleries. She did, however, exhibit in other galleries on Long Island.

She spent her early school years illustrating book reports, creating maps for geography class that were works of art, designing posters for school activities and painting for her own enjoyment. She went on to study at Pratt Institute School of Art in Brooklyn, NY under full scholarship from 1944 to 1947, where she obtained a certificate in advertising graphic design and illustration. After graduation she worked in several art & advertising agencies in New York City and then completed a 16 year career at Newsday, a major east coast daily newspaper, where she was art director and illustrator. She left Newsday in 1971 when she moved to California.

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After leaving Newsday and moving to Los Angeles in 1971, she studied acting at Lee Strasberg Institute and spent several years performing her one woman show, “The Many Faces of Women” throughout the Nation. She is the recipient of the Drama-Logue “Best Performance” award for her role in the play “Against the Rising Sea.”

She was a founder of the first chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) formed in 1966 as well as designing their national logo. As she fought for women’s rights in New York City, she conceived and led the takeover of the Statue of Liberty in 1970 when Ivy’s New York Chapter of NOW, hung a large banner over the top of Statue’s pedestal which read, “Women of the Word Unite.”

She introduced the struggle for lesbian rights into the women’s movement in 1969. Ivy created feminist consciousness raising within her New York chapter of NOW, which was later adapted for all chapters to participate in. In 1970 she was forced out of NOW due to her desire for equality and inclusion of lesbians in the struggle for women’s rights.

Ivy was the Southern California deputy director of the 1978 campaign which spearheaded the defeat of the Briggs Initiative, (No on 6) which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California’s public schools. She went on to chair the No on LaRouche and No on 64 Initiative victories.

She has organized numerous gay-rights marches, protests and “die-ins” in the 1980s. Ivy has fought to get funding and services for the sick and dying during the AIDS epidemic. She founded the first AIDS organization in Los Angeles, AIDS Network LA, which served as a clearing house for early disease information and in 1983 she co-founded AIDS Project L.A.

She was a founder the Los Angeles Lesbian/Gay Police Advisory Board. She has been co-chair of the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for the city of West Hollywood from 1999 to 2010, spearheading work on partner abuse in the LGBT community, Crystal Meth addiction, the annual dyke march, and affordable housing for LGBT seniors. Ivy originally conceived the idea of providing affordable housing for Gay & Lesbian Seniors.

Many years of hard work culminated with the founding of the non-profit Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing, Inc. in 1993. Long before she became a founder and signer on the non-profit, Ivy laid the groundwork by organizing the community. She made the phone calls, held the meetings and provided the leadership that resulted in obtaining the grant of the State to move forward. The group’s first project, Triangle Square contains 103 units in an affordable income apartment complex which opened in late April 2007 in Hollywood CA. It is the first in the Nation.

In the later 2000s Ivy was working on creating a fitting AIDS Memorial for West Hollywood and served as a Founding Advisor to The Lavender Effect. In 2018 her ‘long sought after’ autobiography titled The Liberation of Ivy Bottini: A Memoir of Love and Activism by Judith Branzburg was published. Ivy passed away peacefully on February 25th, 2021 in Florida, where she had moved to be closer to her daughter Lisa.



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