|Born||December 24, 1946
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 28, 2005 (aged 58)
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Organization||Gay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, BiNet USA, Act Up, Queer Nation and New York Area Bisexual Network|
|Movement||LGBT rights movement|
Brenda Howard (December 24, 1946 – June 28, 2005) was an American bisexual rights activist, sex-positive feminist, polyamorist and BDSM practitioner. Howard was an important figure in the modern LGBT rights movement.
Brenda Howard was born in the Bronx and grew up in Syosset, Nassau County, New York. She graduated from Syosset High School and from Borough of Manhattan Community College with an AAS degree in Nursing.
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.
A militant activist who 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.
She 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. Howard also 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. Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT activists Stephen Donaldson and L. Craig Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word "Pride" to describe these festivities.
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 Liberation where she was female co-chair of the leather contingent and Stonewall 25 in 1994.
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 describing herself, as quoted in 2013 by www.lgbthistorymonth.com, a project of Equality Forum
Only a handful of activists in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement were there at Stonewall and never stopped.
The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why Gay Pride Month is June tell them "A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be."
You needed some kind of help organizing some type of protest or something in social justice? All you had to do was call her and she’ll just say when and where.— Howard's partner Larry Nelson, in "Remembering Brenda: An Ode To the 'Mother of Pride'", June 17, 2014
The Brenda Howard Memorial Award
The Brenda Howard Memorial Award was created in 2005 by the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It was the first award by a major American LGBT organization to be named after an openly bisexual person. The award, which is given annually, recognizes an individual or organization whose work on behalf of the bisexual community and the greater LGBT community best exemplifies the vision, principles. and community service exemplified by Brenda Howard, and who serves as a positive and visible role model for the entire LGBT community.
|2005||Lawrence Nelson||He is a founding member and a current Board Member of PFLAG Queens.|
|2006||Tom Limoncelli||He is a New Jersey BiNet USA delegate, a LGBT rights activist, SysAdmin, and author.|
|2007||Wendy Moscow||She is a LGBT rights activist.|
|2008||Wendy Curry||She is a LGBT rights activist and was President of BiNet USA.|
|2009||Micah Kellner||He was the first openly bisexual person elected to the New York State Assembly.|
|2010||Lisa Jacobs||She is a bisexual rights activist, and the founder and current President of the Transcending Boundaries Conference.|
|2011||Robyn Ochs||She is a bisexual rights activist, speaker and author.|
|2012||Donna Redd ||She is the executive director of Sistahs in Search of Truth, Alliance, and Harmony (S.i.S.T.A.H.).|
|2013||Cliff Arnesen ||He is a bisexual army veteran (U.S. Army, Vietnam era), past president of the New England Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans, and a founding member and former National Vice President of Legislative Affairs of the Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, now known as the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).|
|2014||Estraven||Estraven is a Board Member Emeritus of BiNet USA, an affiliate of the New York Area Bisexual Network. She is the founder curator of the Bi History Project on Facebook and an author. In 2006 she founded a bisexual discussion and meeting group at Westchester's The LOFT LGBT community center and continues to facilitate the weekly group. In 2010, Estraven was asked to attend President Obama's Pride Reception at the White House.|
|2015||H. Sharif "Herukhuti" Williams||Professor Herukhuti is a LGBT rights activist, playwright, poet, essayist, spiritual teacher, sexual healer, scholar, activist and social entrepreneur.|
Other tributes to Brenda Howard
Brenda Howard was named by Equality Forum in 2013 as one of their 31 Icons for LGBT History Month. In 2014 the Trevor Project chose her as one of the role models for their Women's History Month project, "highlighting incredible woman-identified powerhouses who have changed the world for the better" and stating "At The Trevor Project we not only want to celebrate this month, we want to shine a light on the often unrecognized influence LGBTQ women have had, and continue to have, on our youth."
The book Coming Out As Bisexual, by J.F. Fisher, published in 2014 by Lulu, (ISBN 978-1-304-93824-4) is dedicated to Howard. In 2015 Howard’s partner, Larry Nelson, highlighted her accomplishments in a video for the #StillBisexual campaign, which was posted online for Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
- Notice of death of Brenda Howard, bilerico.com, July 2005; accessed January 1, 2016.
- "Gay Liberation Front: In Memorium". Home page. N. A. Diaman. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
- Teal, Donn (1971). The gay militants. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-1373-1.
- Kennedy, Joe. "Summer of 77". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
- Channel 13/WNET Out! 2007: Women In the Movement
- The Gay Pride Issue: Picking Apart The Origin of Pride
- Dynes, Wayne R. Pride (trope), Homolexis Archived July 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Brenda Howard". LGBTHistoryMonth.com. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- Lawrence Nelson. "Brenda Howard (1946-2005)". Nyabn.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "Pride founding mother, Brenda Howard's, memorial service announced". Bilerico.com. 2005-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- In Memoriam, Brenda Howard at the Wayback Machine (archived February 14, 2006)
- The PFLAG Queens Chapter Names New Award for Bisexual Activist Brenda Howard
- Brenda Howard Memorial Award Information
- 3rd Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Awardee: Wendy Moscow
- BiNet USA President Wendy Curry Receives the 4th Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Award February 24, 2009 BiNet USA News and Updates
- NY Assemblymember Kellner Given Brenda Howard Award February 21, 2009 BiNet USA News and Updates
- Gustafson, Anna Queens PFLAG to honor three in February January 1, 2009 Astoria Times.
- Robyn Ochs Receives Brenda Howard Award from PFLAG, Queens Chapter, February 05, 2012 BiMagazine.
- "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2014 Awards Luncheon Page - Fund Raiser to be held 2/08/2015". Pflag-queens.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "PFLAG Queens Chapter 2012 Fund Raiser - Awardees Bio's". Pflag-queens.org. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- Queens PFLAG NYC Chapter Honors Cliff Arnesen and New Out LGBT members of the New York City Council, February 22, 2014 Transgender Bisexual Political Nerd.
- 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed! A look back at Bi one veteran’s story, BiNet USA, 2013.
- "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2014 Awardees Bio Page - Fund Raiser to be held 2/08/2015". Pflag-queens.org. 1999-11-02. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "PFLAG Queens Chapter – 2015 Awardees Bio Page". Pflag-queens.org. 1999-11-02. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
- 2013 Icons Announced LGBT History Month 2013 Now Online, EqualityForum.com, February 22, 2013.
- LGBTQ Women Inspire the Future, March 2014 The Trevor Project
- Ring, Trudy. "WATCH: Bisexual Pioneer Brenda Howard's Husband Celebrates Her with #StillBisexual Campaign". SheWired. Retrieved 2015-09-24.