June 8th: Brenda Howard

Day 8 of Pride Month and I’m back to tell you about Brenda Howard. Howard was a bisexual activist who fought for a number of different causes. 

Brenda Howard was born on December 24th, 1946 in The Bronx. Howard attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College and graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing. She was a part of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War. She even lived in an anti-war commune in 1969 and during her time there she became invested in the feminist movement as well.

Brenda-Howard 5
She’s the one lightly circled on the left

Howard was heavily involved in the Gay Liberation Movement after Stonewall. Howard was openly bisexual and polyamorous. A month after Stonewall in July of 1969, she organized a rally to remember the event. Then one year later, she worked hard to help start the first LGBT Pride march in 1970 and was even called the “Mother of Pride”. She also pitched the idea for a weeklong celebration with different events and a specific Pride Day.

Howard, with Robert A. Martin and L. Craig Schoonmaker, tagged the word Pride onto these events which is why we call it “Pride” month. 

Brenda Howard was invested in a number of rights groups. In 1986, she helped the Coalition of Lesbian and Gay Rights push New York City’s gay rights laws into the City Council. She also helped ACT UP and Queer Nation. When it came to her own community of bisexuals, she worked with New York Area Bisexual Network to create events for bi’s in 1987. She was also a part of the BiPAC/Bialogue and helped create alcoholics anonymous chapters for bisexuals.

Not to mention, she marched around the country with numerous protests. In 1987, she was at the March on Washinton for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In 1993 she was back in Washington as a female co-chair for a March for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, and she marched at the 25th anniversary of Stonewall.

Brenda Howard passed away on June 28th, 2005 – 36 years to the day after Stonewall. There is a memorial award in her name that goes out to a person or organization that does work on behalf of the bisexual and gay community.

All of Brenda’s hard work and fight lives on to this day. She pushed for the equal rights of millions that were left unheard. She made our yearly celebration of who we are possible back in the gay rights infancy. I know I personally owe her a lot.

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On the left

Thank you, Brenda.


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