Brenda Howard

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
BornDecember 24, 1946
DiedJune 28, 2005 (aged 58)
OrganizationGay Liberation Front, Gay Activists Alliance, BiNet USA, Act Up, Queer Nation and New York Area Bisexual Network
MovementLGBT rights movement


Brenda Howard was born in the Bronx and grew up in Syosset, Nassau County, New York in a Jewish family. 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[2][3] and for several years chair of the Gay Activists Alliance's Speakers Bureau[4] 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.[5][6] Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT activists Stephen Donaldson and L. Craig Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word "Pride" to describe these festivities.[7]

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 both the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and 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.[8]

In addition to being openly bisexual, Howard was openly polyamorous and involved in BDSM.[9]

Howard died of colon cancer on June 28, 2005.[10] 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.[11]


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."

— Tom Limoncelli, in BiSquish, July 27, 2005[12]

Only a handful of activists in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement were there at Stonewall and never stopped.

— Andy Humm describing Brenda Howard in Gay City News August 11–17, 2005

Bi, Poly, Switch—I'm not greedy, I know what I want.

— Brenda Howard describing herself, as quoted in 2013 by, a project of Equality Forum


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

Winners of Brenda Howard Memorial Award (L to R) Larry Nelson 05, Wendy Curry 08, Tom Limoncelli 06, Wendy Moscow 07.

The Brenda Howard Memorial Award was created in 2005 by the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).[13] 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.


Year Recipient Notes
2005 Lawrence Nelson Mr. Nelson is a long-time LGBT rights activist. He is a founding member and a current Board Member of PFLAG Queens as well as being an Advisor to the student LGBT Group at Queensborough Community College.[14]
2006 Tom Limoncelli Mr. Limoncelli who identifies as bisexual is a long-time LGBT rights activist. He was the New Jersey emeritus BiNet USA delegate, has worked with Garden State Equality as well as being a noted SysAdmin, and author.
2007 Wendy Moscow Ms. Moscow who identifies as bisexual is a long-time LGBT rights activist focusing on her home borough of Queens NYC. In the early 1980s she helped found the Lesbian and Gay Political Action Club of Queens and was also one of the founders of Queens Pride where she served as their March Committee co-chair from inception until 2001 and was a Grand Marchal of the 2006 Parade.[15]
2008 Wendy Curry Ms. Curry who identifies as bisexual is a long time LGBT rights activist. They are one of the creators of Bisexual Pride Day and are President emeritus of BiNet USA.[16]
2009 Micah Kellner Mr Kellner was the first openly bisexual person elected to the New York State Assembly.[17][18]
2010 Lisa Jacobs Lisa Jacobs who identifies as bisexual is a long time bisexual rights and Gender Non-conforming community rights activist. They are a founder and President emeritus of the Transcending Boundaries Conference and run the Gender Diverse Bisexuals[19] group.
2011 Robyn Ochs Ms Ochs who identifies as bisexual is a bisexual rights activist, speaker and author.[20]
2012 Donna Redd[21] Ms Redd who identifies as a Bisexual Woman of Color is a longtime LGBT Activist. She is the executive director of Sistahs in Search of Truth, Alliance, and Harmony (S.i.S.T.A.H.),[22] a Brooklyn-based bisexual-led group founded in 1991, that serves all Same gender loving (SGL) women.[23]
2013 Cliff Arnesen[24] Mr Arnesen 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).[25]
2014 Estraven[26] Estraven is a Board Member Emeritus of BiNet USA, a director of the New York Area Bisexual Network, and writer on the topic of bisexual history and mental health. In 2006 they founded the Bisexual Discussion and Activity Group[27] at NY state's Westchester County's The LOFT LGBT Community Center where they continue to act as a senior facilitator.[26]
2015 H. Sharif Williams Professor Herukhuti who identifies as bisexual is a LGBT rights activist, playwright, poet, essayist, spiritual teacher, sexual healer, scholar, activist and social entrepreneur.[28]
2016 Alexandra Bolles[29] Ms.Bolles who identifies as bisexual spearheads GLAAD's bisexual-related advocacy and serves as Senior Strategist – Campaigns & External Engagement. In 2016, Ms. Bolles was instrumental in the publication of In Focus: Reporting on the Bisexual Community,[30] GLAAD's first Media Resource Guide specifically about the Bisexual community[31]
2017 Denarii Grace[32] She is a writer, editor, singer-songwriter, and activist.[33]

Other tributes to Brenda Howard

Brenda Howard was named by Equality Forum in 2013 as one of their 31 Icons for LGBT History Month.[34] 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."[35]

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.[36]

See also


  1. ^ Notice of death of Brenda Howard,, July 2005; accessed January 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Gay Liberation Front: In Memorium". Home page. N. A. Diaman. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  3. ^ Teal, Donn (1971). The gay militants. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-1373-1.
  4. ^ Kennedy, Joe. "Summer of 77". Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Channel 13/WNET Out! 2007: Women In the Movement
  6. ^ The Gay Pride Issue: Picking Apart The Origin of Pride
  7. ^ Dynes, Wayne R. Pride (trope), Homolexis Archived July 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Steve Stein, Living in Leather (2012), p. 38.
  9. ^ a b "Brenda Howard". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  10. ^ Lawrence Nelson. "Brenda Howard (1946-2005)". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  11. ^ "Pride founding mother, Brenda Howard's, memorial service announced". 2005-07-21. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-14. Retrieved 2017-08-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ The PFLAG Queens Chapter Names New Award for Bisexual Activist Brenda Howard
  14. ^ Brenda Howard Memorial Award Information
  15. ^ 3rd Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Awardee: Wendy Moscow
  16. ^ BiNet USA President Wendy Curry Receives the 4th Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Award February 24, 2009 BiNet USA News and Updates
  17. ^ NY Assemblymember Kellner Given Brenda Howard Award February 21, 2009 BiNet USA News and Updates
  18. ^ Gustafson, Anna Queens PFLAG to honor three in February January 1, 2009 Astoria Times.
  19. ^ "Gender Diverse Bisexuals". Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  20. ^ Robyn Ochs Receives Brenda Howard Award from PFLAG, Queens Chapter Archived 2013-07-31 at the Wayback Machine, February 05, 2012 BiMagazine.
  21. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2014 Awards Luncheon Page - Fund Raiser to be held 2/08/2015". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  22. ^ "S.i.S.T.A.H. (Sistahs in Search of Truth, Alliance, and Harmony)". Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  23. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter 2012 Fund Raiser - Awardees Bio's". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed! A look back at Bi one veteran’s story, BiNet USA, 2013.
  26. ^ a b "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2014 Awardees Bio Page". 1999-11-02. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  27. ^ "The LOFT's Programs and Services: Bisexual Discussion and Activity Group". Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  28. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter – 2015 Awardees Bio Page". 1999-11-02. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  29. ^ "GLAAD About, Our Team, Staff". Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  30. ^ "In Focus: Reporting on the Bisexual Community" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  31. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter 2016 Fund Raiser - Awardees Bio's". Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  32. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2017 Awards Luncheon Page - Fund Raiser to be held 2/04/2018". 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  33. ^ "PFLAG Queens Chapter - 2016 Fund Raiser - Awardees Bio's - Fund Raiser to be held 2/07/2016". Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  34. ^ 2013 Icons Announced LGBT History Month 2013 Now Online Archived 2016-01-13 at the Wayback Machine,, February 22, 2013.
  35. ^ LGBTQ Women Inspire the Future, March 2014 The Trevor Project
  36. ^ Ring, Trudy. "WATCH: Bisexual Pioneer Brenda Howard's Husband Celebrates Her with #StillBisexual Campaign". SheWired. Retrieved 2015-09-24.

External links


Bialogue, a portmanteau of the words bisexual and dialogue, is an American activist group that started in New York City, working on issues of local, national, and international interest to the bisexual, fluid, pansexual, queer-identified communities and their allies. Bialogue's mission is to dispel myths and stereotypes about bisexuality, address biphobia and bisexual erasure, educate the public on the facts and realities of bisexuality and advocate for the bisexual community. Its slogan is "Taking Action not just Offense".

Bisexuality in the United States

This article addresses the history of bisexuality in the United States. It covers this history from 1892, when the first English-language use of the word "bisexual", in the sense of being sexually attracted to both women and men, occurred, to the present.

Deaths in June 2005

The following is a list of notable people who died in June 2005.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Gay Activists Alliance

The Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was founded in New York City on December 21, 1969, almost six months after the Stonewall riots, by dissident members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). In contrast to the Liberation Front, the Activists Alliance solely and specifically served to gay and

lesbian rights, declared themself politically neutral and wanted to work within the political system. Some early members included Jim Owles, Marty Robinson, Tom Doerr, Kay Lahusen, Arthur Bell, Arthur Evans, Bill Bahlman, Vito Russo, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Jim Coles, Brenda Howard, David Thorstad, Michael Giammetta and Morty Manford (son of Jeanne Manford). GAA's first president was Jim Owles.

Gay pride

Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements throughout the world. Pride has lent its name to LGBT-themed organizations, institutes, foundations, book titles, periodicals and even a cable TV station and the Pride Library.

Ranging from solemn to carnivalesque, pride events are typically held during LGBT Pride Month or some other period that commemorates a turning point in a country's LGBT history, for example Moscow Pride in May for the anniversary of Russia's 1993 decriminalization of homosexuality. Some pride events include LGBT pride parades and marches, rallies, commemorations, community days, dance parties, and large festivals.

As of 2017, plans were advancing by the State of New York to host in 2019 the largest international celebration of LGBT pride in history, known as Stonewall 50 / WorldPride, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In New York City, the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events produced by Heritage of Pride will be enhanced through a partnership made with the I LOVE NY program's LGBT division and shall include a welcome center during the weeks surrounding the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events that will be open to all. Additional commemorative arts, cultural, and educational programming to mark the 50th anniversary of the rebellion at the Stonewall Inn will be taking place throughout the city and the world.Common symbols of pride are the rainbow or pride flag, the lowercase Greek letter lambda (λ), the pink triangle and the black triangle, these latter two reclaimed from use as badges of shame in Nazi concentration camps.

H. Sharif Williams

Hameed Sharif "Herukhuti" Williams is an American cultural studies scholar whose work focuses on sex research and education. He is also a systems theorist, culture and interdisciplinary social scientist, journalist and public speaker who has written about and lectured on bisexuality particularly among people of African descent.

History of bisexuality

See also Bisexuality#History, Bisexuality in the United States, and Lists of bisexual people.This is an article about the history of bisexuality. The subject is inherent with systematic bias, of non-heterosexuality being seen as less worthy than heterosexuality, and of women's sexuality being seen as less worthy, even of being depicted, than that of men. Bisexual erasure has taken place in many cultures so that bisexuality is often not acknowledged or is interpreted as homosexuality. In many cultures, bisexuals, especially bisexual women, were never thought to exist.

Sexuality that was non-heteronormative was often not discussed, and only allowed if absolutely necessary. In many cases, although male and female bisexuality has arguably existed in every culture, researchers are often able to only document occurrences tied to scandals, criminal proceedings, private correspondence, and/or artistic renderings.

List of Jewish feminists

This is an alphabetical list of Jewish feminists.

List of polyamorists

This is a list of notable and historic figures who have been or are polyamorous. Polyamory is the desire, practice, or acceptance of more than one strong, deep, close and true loving, romantic, and/or intimate relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of all involved.

Micah Kellner

Micah Z. Kellner (born December 5, 1978) is an American politician from the state of New York. A Democrat, he was formerly a member of the New York State Assembly from the 76th district, which includes Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. Kellner was elected to the Assembly in 2007 and served until 2014, when he did not stand for reelection. In September 2013, he narrowly lost a primary election for the Democratic nomination for the New York City Council seat for the 5th District to attorney Ben Kallos. During his Assembly tenure, Kellner was admonished twice by then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver based on findings that he had engaged in sexual harassment.

New York Area Bisexual Network

New York Area Bisexual Network (NYABN) is a central communications network for bisexual & bi-friendly groups and resources in the five boroughs (Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island) of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area. The mission of the New York Area Bisexual Network is to facilitate the development of a cohesive bisexual community in the New York Area. The network promotes bisexual visibility, works to protect the bisexual community from discrimination and biphobia and assists and empowers the individual community members, their families and friends to live full, rich, safe and happy lives.

NYABN provides listings of groups, events and general information of interest to the local bisexual community as well as providing links to Regional, National and International Groups and Events on its website and phone-line. Additionally NYABN has a Bisexual Speakers Bureau, coordinates the Bisexual-Information Phone-Line, keeps up the Bisexual Community PO Box, works with Bialogue an NYC based bisexual activist/political group, hosts various groups, meetings and events of interest to the entire bisexual community, helps new groups form and coordinates arrangements for the Bisexual Contingent(s) at NYC's annual LGBT PrideFest and Parade each June.

New York City LGBT Pride March

The annual New York City LGBT Pride March, or New York City Pride March, traverses southward down Fifth Avenue and ends at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan. The New York City Pride March rivals the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade as the largest pride parade in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants and millions of sidewalk spectators each June. The March passes by the site of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, location of the June 1969 Stonewall riots that launched the modern Gay Rights Movement. The March, along with The Rally, PrideFest, and Pride Island are the main annual events organized by NYC Pride. Since 1984, the volunteers of the non-profit Heritage of Pride (HOP) have produced these events for New York City, supported in earlier days by limited staff.Since 2017, plans were formed by the State of New York to host the largest international LGBT pride celebration in 2019, known as Stonewall 50 / WorldPride, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. In New York City, the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events organized by Heritage of Pride will be enhanced through a partnership made with the I ❤ NY LGBT division and will include a welcome center during the weeks in June. Additional commemorative arts, cultural, and educational programming to mark the 50th anniversary of the rebellion at the Stonewall Inn will be taking place throughout the city and the world; it is believed that 2019 will be the largest international LGBT pride celebration held in history.

PFLAG Canada

PFLAG Canada is a national non-profit organization which brings together family and friends of LGBT people in Canada. It was begun separately and without knowledge of the American PFLAG which performs the same functions in the United States. As of November 2014 PFLAG Canada has over 70 chapters and/or contacts in nine Canadian provinces. The board of directors is responsible for six regions across Canada, and includes a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer among others.

Robyn Ochs

Robyn Ochs (born 1958) is an American bisexual activist, professional speaker, and workshop leader. Her primary fields of interest are gender, sexuality, identity and coalition building. She is the editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide (published annually from 1990 to 2002), Bi Women Quarterly, and the anthology Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World. Ochs, along with Professor Herukhuti, coedited the anthology Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men.

Ochs has appeared on a number of television talk shows, including Donahue, Rolanda, Maury Povich, Women Aloud, Real Personal, Hour Magazine and The Shirley Show, to discuss issues relating to bisexuality. She has also been in Seventeen and Newsweek.

Sex-positive feminism

Sex-positive feminism, also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, is a movement that began in the early 1980s centering on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom.

Some became involved in the sex-positive feminist movement in response to efforts by anti-pornography feminists to put pornography at the center of a feminist explanation of women's oppression. This period of intense debate and acrimony between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists during the early 1980s is often referred to as the feminist sex wars. Other feminists identifying as sex-positive became involved in the debate, not in opposition to other feminists, but in direct response to what they saw as patriarchal control of sexuality.

Some radical feminists reject the dichotomy of "sex-positive" and "sex-negative" feminism, suggesting that instead, the real divide is between liberal feminism and radical feminism.Women who have advocated sex-positive feminism include Kathy Acker, Camille Paglia, Megan Andelloux, Susie Bright, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Diana Cage, Avedon Carol, Patrick Califia, Betty Dodson, Nancy Friday, Jane Gallop, Laci Green, Nina Hartley, Josephine Ho, Amber L. Hollibaugh, Brenda Howard, Laura Kipnis, Wendy McElroy, Inga Muscio, Joan Nestle, Carol Queen, Candida Royalle, Gayle Rubin, Annie Sprinkle, Tristan Taormino and Ellen Willis.

Timeline of LGBT history in New York City

New York has a long history of LGBT community building, activism, and culture which extends to the early history of the city.

Tom Limoncelli

Tom Limoncelli (born December 2, 1968) is an American system administrator, author, and speaker.

A system administrator and network engineer since 1987, he speaks at conferences around the world on topics ranging from firewall security to time management. He is the author of Time Management for System Administrators from O'Reilly; along with Christine Hogan, co-author of the book The Practice of System and Network Administration from Addison-Wesley, which won the 2005 SAGE Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2007 with Peter H. Salus he has published a compilation of the best April Fools jokes created by the IETF entitled The Complete April Fools' Day RFCs.

He has also published papers at conferences such as the Usenix LISA on a wide variety of topics including innovative firewall techniques, coordinating massive network changes, models for improving customer support, and the security issues related to firing a system administrator.

UK Gay Liberation Front 1971 Festival of Light action

On 9 September 1971 the UK Gay Liberation Front (GLF) undertook an action to disrupt the launch of the Church-based morality campaign, Nationwide Festival of Light at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster. A number of well-known British figures were involved in the disrupted rally, and the action involved the use of "radical drag" drawing on Stonewall and subsequent GLF actions in the USA. Peter Tatchell, gay human rights campaigner, was involved in the action which was one of a series which influenced the development of gay activism in the UK, received media attention at the time, and is still discussed by some of those involved.

Wendy Curry

Wendy Curry is an American bisexual rights activist and animal rescue advocate.

Sexual identities

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