b. December 24, 1946
d. June 28, 2005
“Bi, Poly, Switch—I’m not greedy, I know what I want.”
Brenda Howard was an LGBT activist. She organized the first Pride parade and is known as the “Mother of Pride.”
Born in the Bronx, Howard was raised on Long Island. In the 1960s, she became involved in the anti-war and feminist movements.
Howard participated in the 1969 Stonewall riots that marked a turning point in the gay rights movement. A year later, she organized the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March to mark Stonewall’s anniversary. The march was the first Pride parade in the world. Her efforts encouraged other cities and countries to hold similar events, laying the groundwork for Pride parades internationally.
During the 1970s, she chaired the Gay Activists Alliance and was an active member of the Gay Liberation Front. In 1978, she graduated from Manhattan Community College with a degree in nursing. She was actively involved in the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, successfully lobbying for LGBT rights laws in New York City.
In 1987, Howard cofounded the New York Area Bisexual Network. She also founded the first chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous specifically for bisexual people. She successfully lobbied for the inclusion of bisexuality in the 1993 March on Washington at a time when the movement was focused on gay men and lesbians. Howard participated in ACT UP protests and other rallies for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Brenda Howard Award, created in her memory by PLFAG, is presented annually to a group or individual advocating on behalf of the bisexual community. Howard is survived by her partner, Larry Nelson.