Pat Norman (activist)

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Pat Norman
Born Pat Richardson
(1939-01-21) January 21, 1939 (age 79)
Brooklyn, New York
Education Antioch University, B.A., M.A., Clinical Psychology
Known for Community activist
Partner(s) Karen Norman (since 1983)

Pat Norman (born Pat Richardson, January 21, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American activist for the African American and LGBT communities.[1][2]


Norman was the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department. While employed with the San Francisco Health Department from 1978-1986, she created the position of Coordinator of Lesbian/Gay Health Services in which she served the gay and lesbian community in San Francisco and helped initiate community response to the AIDS epidemic.[3][1][4] She was also the first openly lesbian African-American on the San Francisco Police Commission.[5]


  • In 1971, Norman founded the Lesbian Mothers Union (later known as Lesbian Mothers and Friends); it was concerned with custody problems and provided support for lesbian mothers.[1][2][6]
  • 1972-1973: Community Health Worker for Center for Special Problems, San Francisco, CA.[1]
  • In the 1980s, Norman was a leading activist against apartheid.[1]
  • Further, in 1980, Pat Norman was a speaker at the First Black Lesbian Conference which took place at the Women's Building in San Francisco. In her speech, Norman shared her personal experiences and spoke on internalized racism and how it was a major obstruction and cause of divide and oppression. Further, she connected internalized racism and the difficulties it presented to the emergence of African American lesbians during the time.[7][8]
  • In 1984 she became the first open lesbian to run for San Francisco city supervisor and co-chaired California's Mobilization for Peace, Jobs, and Justice rally.[1]
  • In 1987 she co-chaired and organized the National March on Washington for Lesbian/Gay Rights.[9][1]
  • At the 1988 Democratic National Convention she was a delegate for Jesse Jackson, and that year she again co-chaired California's Mobilization for Peace, Jobs, and Justice rally.[1]
  • In 1990, she co-chaired the United States' Nelson Mandela Reception committee, and in 1991 she was elected to the California State Democratic Party Central Committee.[1]
  • In 1991, while the Executive Director of the California AIDS Intervention Training Center, which was to be later renamed the Institute for Community Health Outreach (ICHO), Pat Norman participated in the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).[4]
  • In 1992, Norman and her partner Karen appeared on billboards across San Francisco as part of an anti-defamation campaign advertisement that was sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.[1]
  • In 1994, Norman served as the National Co-Chair for "Stonewall 25," a Lesbian and Gay Rights March on the United Nations which took place in New York City.[1]
  • Co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), located New York City.[1]


In 2007, Pat Norman was honored with the San Francisco Pride's Lifetime Achievement Award and was the Grand Marshall for the San Francisco Pride Parade that year.[5][2][8] Norman as also received numerous awards from places such as Ms., The Bay Area Women's Leadership Forum, San Francisco Mayors Dianne Feinstein and Art Agnos, the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays, and Physicians for Human Rights.[1]

Whoopi Goldberg plays her in the 2017 miniseries about LGBT rights called When We Rise.[10]


Throughout her career, Pat Norman has been a member of several organizations including:

  • California State Democratic Party Central Committee,
  • AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP),
  • Women's AIDS Network,
  • National Gay Task Force,
  • Lesbian Rights Project,
  • Human Rights Foundation,
  • Community United Against Violence,
  • Larkin Street Youth Center,
  • State Community Planning Working Group, and
  • San Francisco Black Coalition on AIDS.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Norman, Pat 1939–". Contemporary Black Biography. March 28, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Laird, Cynthia (June 21, 2007). "Grand marshals: A lifetime of fighting for justice". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ el Khatib, Khalid (February 25, 2017). "When We Rise Hammers Home the 'We' of the LGBTQ Community". Retrieved March 2, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Boellstorff, T. Thinking Through Activism, Sexuality, and Scholarship (revision reprint of J21). King's Review, July 2014 issue, posted 23 July.
  5. ^ a b "Grand Marshals". SF Pride. 2014. Archived from the original on January 26, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2017. 
  6. ^ Wolf, D. G. (1980). The Lesbian Community: With an Afterword, 1980. University of California Press.
  7. ^ Daniels, Gabrielle. "First Black Lesbian Conference." Off Our Backs 10.11 (1980): 4–8. Print.
  8. ^ a b Cassell, Heather (December 17, 2009). "Black lesbians display their Sapphic history". The Bay Area Reporter Online. Retrieved April 29, 2017. 
  9. ^ Ghaziani, Amin (2008). The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington. University of Chicago Press. 
  10. ^ Goldberg, Leslie (April 26, 2016). "ABC's Gay Rights Mini Enlists Michael K. Williams, Sets All-Star Guest Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 27, 2016.