The B in LGBT History- Brenda Howard

Brenda was an important figure in the modern LGBT rights movement. The past couple years that I have my identity both as an individual and as an actvist, I have gotten the pleasure of getting to know and learn about Brenda’s life from her partner Larry Nelson.

Brenda Howard (December 24,1946- June 28, 2005) a well known American bisexual activist. She is known for being a Bisexual Rights Activist, Sex Positive Feminist.

Brend was born December 24th 1946 in the Bronx, and grew up in Syosset, Nassau County. She graduated from Sysisset High School and from Borough Manhattan Community College (BMCC).

In the late 1960s, Howard was active in the movement against the Vietnam War. In 1969 she lived in an urban commune of anti-war activists and draft resisters in downtown Brooklyn New York. Like many other women in the US anti-war movement at the time, Howard became critical of its domination by men, and she soon became involved in the feminist movement as well.

That was the kind of activism and work that helped plan and participated in LGBT rights actions for over three decades, Howard was an active member of the Gay Liberation Front[ and for several years chair of the Gay Activists Alliance‘s Speakers Bureau in the post-Stonewall era.

Brenda is known as the “Mother of Pride” for her work in coordinating a rally and then the Christopher Street Liberation Day March to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. She and others originated the idea of a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June.

A fixture in New York City’s LGBT Community Howard was active in the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights which helped guide New York City’s Gay rights law through the City Council in 1986 as well as ACT UP and Queer Nation.

In 1987 Howard helped found the New York Area Bisexual Network to help co-ordinate services to the region’s growing Bisexual community. She was also an active member of the early bisexual political activist group BiPAC, a Regional Organizer for BiNet USA, a co-facilitator of the Bisexual S/M Discussion Group and a founder of the nation’s first Alcoholics Anonymous chapter for bisexuals.

On a national level, Howard’s activism included work on the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberationwhere she was female co-chair of the leather contingent and Stonewall 25 in 1994.

In addition to being openly bisexual, Howard was openly polyamorous and involved in BDSM.

Howard died of colon cancer on June 28, 2005. She is survived by her longtime partner Larry Nelson, who wrote in Howard’s obituary, “[W]e forged a bond of mutual bad girl respect…that lasted through the years, including the production of the 1993 March and the work to create Stonewall 25. I miss my colleague in crime. The worst part of growing older is that such missing grows right along with it.”

-Bi, Poly, Switch- I'm not greedy,I know what I want-Brenda Howard

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