Barbara Signer (not Singer) and her wife Fran Epstein, retired from careers in New York and moved to Florida in 2011. Almost immediately they engaged in a variety of visible causes, political and educational, including Democratic Party programs, the Point Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Our Fund and Equality Florida, to name a few of the 26 programs listed on their combined resumes.
Both in their 60s, Epstein was born in Brooklyn and Signer was born in the Bronx. When they came out to their families, both in their 20s, Epstein’s mother said, “Just don’t tell your father.” Signer’s parents asked if she was a lesbian and when she said “yes,” they didn’t speak to her for two years. After that they resumed a close family relationship.
The women met in Boston in 1986 and moved to New York together in 1989. They have been together for 33 years.
They have been married thrice: in Canada in 2003 while vacationing there when the law was changed; when Connecticut, a short ride from New York, made it legal in 2010; and finally in 2015 when the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage.
Both women said they admire the men and women who came out during the 70s and 80s when visibility could be dangerous. They recommend that LGBT people living today continue to be diligent and ready to stand up against people who would reverse what “we’ve got and prevent us from moving forward.”
— Donald Cavanaugh
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