It became the first nationally distributed lesbian publication in the U. and was distributed to a closely guarded list of subscribers, due to rational fear of exposing.
Barbara Gittings was editor for The Ladder from 1963 to 1968 when she passed her editorship to Barbara Grier, who greatly expanded it, until the publication met its end in 1972 due to lack of funding.
As a national organization, the DOB folded in 1970, although some local chapters still continue.
During its fourteen years DOB became a tool of education for lesbians, gay men, researchers, and mental health professionals.
The DOB followed the model of the homophile movement as developed by the Mattachine Society by encouraging its members to assimilate as much as possible into the prevailing heterosexual culture.
The DOB advertised itself as "A Woman's Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society." When the club realized they weren't allowed to advertise their meetings in the newspaper, Lyon and Martin began to print the group's newsletter, The Ladder, in October 1956.
There is debate over to what extent lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, intersexed people and others share common interests and a need to work together.