Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Feminism on Trial


Most of the two decades of Ginny's life following her "not guilty" verdict were spent in relative anonymity, compared to what it had been before and during her ordeal. She kept a high profile for awhile, touring, lecturing, appearing on talk shows, and promoting her book, but by the late 1980s she had receded into the shadows. She was never again high in the hierarchy of NOW which, by this time, had been going off in a different, more mainstream direction.

According to her current online resume, Ginny was Founder/Executive Director for Legal Advocates for Women in San Francisco from 1984 to 1987, and co-owner of a West Hollywood restaurant/cabaret for two years after that. For the next nine years she served as Executive Director of Caring for Babies with AIDS in Los Angeles, and briefly as National Director of Regional Field Services, YWCA of the USA. Presently she is the owner and corporate officer of a property management company in Palm Springs, head of her own nonprofit consulting agency, and Vice President of Operations for O'Leary & Associates, Inc., a political phone management company. The latter company was founded by noted, recently deceased lesbian activist Jean O'Leary who co-founded the first "National Coming-Out Day" in 1988.

Over the years Ginny was also involved in numerous civic and charitable causes and won numerous awards. She also stayed active politically, being elected to fill an unexpired term on the Palm Springs City Council in 2003 and then was elected to a full four-year term the following year.

Ginny Foat
Ginny Foat

At what point Ginny Foat came out and openly declared her proclivity toward lesbianism cannot be ascertained from information available in the public record. When she was elected to the Palm Springs City Council it was already a matter of record. She had been advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians for many years prior to that.

During her most recent election, Ginny's past was dredged up by the local newspaper, the Palm Springs Sun, and she was once again forced to deal with it, which she did in a formal letter to her constituency and on her campaign website. In her letter she said "I have never tried to hide my past" and she accused the Sun of "slanted journalism." Emphasizing her long history of civic and charitable involvement, Ginny implored voters to focus on the future and not the past. She was elected with about 15% of the vote citywide in a city of about 40,000 people, with an estimated gay population of 35-40%

However, though her past is largely behind her, Ginny Foat will probably never be entirely free of it, as stated in the title of her book, Never Guilty, Never Free. Despite receiving a "not-guilty" verdict, a number of right-wing, Pro-Life, Anti-Feminist organizations, continue to consider her guilty. Their websites perpetuate lies and serious factual inaccuracies, regardless of what the record shows. Several of these sites, apparently copying from each other with identical information, call her a "double murderer," completely ignoring the fact that she was acquitted, and they actually come out and say she murdered both Moises Chayo and Donald Fitting. They also erroneously say she spent four years in prison.

Although it would be easy to blow these inaccurate accusations off to the work of crackpots, at least one of these organizations has a measure of credibility within conservative circles. The American Life League, headquartered in Stafford, Virginia, claims to be the largest pro-life educational organization in the U.S., boasting a membership of 375,000.

So, at age 64, with a life filled with tragedies and triumphs behind her, Ginny Foat attempts to forge ahead on a life that still shows great promise. Whether or not she is eyeing higher political office or other lofty ambitions can only be speculated, but for a brief period of time, she was in the national spotlight with the fate of a powerful movement hanging in the balance.


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