The Mother of Pride
By Anvitha Mattapalli, Edited by Harini Akurathi, Taruni Manam, Geethi Tarra, Art by Sahithi Lingampalli, Blogged by Sierra Tan
“The Mother of Pride” Brenda Howard played a key role in the LGBT rights movement.
Brenda Howard was born on December 24th, 1946 in the Bronx. She graduated with an AAS degree in Nursing from the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She became an anti-war activist and a feminist after realizing the fact that men have a higher influence over this field.
Howard’s passion for LGBT advocacy bloomed when her friends were involved in a riot. In the 1960s, LGBT+ people were not allowed into most bars due to police retaliation. The Stonewall Inn, however, was an exception. Stonewall accepted all kinds of people. The police, aware that LGBT people frequented Stonewall, arrested and charged the owners. On June 28th, 1969, LGBT people rose, sparking 3 days of rioting later known as the Stonewall Riots.
After the Stonewall Riots, The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held,during which, LGBT people paraded with pride for their identities. This march was one of the first LGBT parades in the country and was organized by Howard, a bisexual and polyamorous woman. She also thought of holding week-long festivities for the LGBT march, which later became the worldwide LGBT Pride festivities we see today. She and two other activists are known for calling this “Pride”.
Howard was ready to support anyone who was not given their alienable rights. She was arrested multiple times in her life due to her widely unaccepted perspective. In 1988, she was arrested for protesting for women’s, people of color’s, and people with HIV/AIDS’s right to healthcare. In 1991, she was arrested for protesting against a lesbian’s firing from the state office. Despite this, she continued to fight for what she believed was right.
Howard’s work focused on the bisexual community. She co-founded the New York Area Bisexual Network. This organization, which still exists today, allows bisexual people within the area to communicate with one another. She also fought to include bisexuality in the 1993 March on Washington, which used to mainly revolve around gay and lesbian people.
Although she passed away on June 28th, 2005 due to colon cancer, her impact and influence still live today. In the same year, the Queens chapter of Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays started the Brenda Howard Memorial Award in honor of Howard. This award is given annually to someone who has positively contributed to the bisexual and LGBT community in the same manner Howard did. Past recipients of this award include Lawrence Nelson, Lisa Jacobs, and Denarii Grace among others.
Today, people in the LGBT community are able to march with pride of their identities and their families thanks to Brenda Howard, the woman who began organizing LGBT marches and took the first step in the LGBT movement.
Originally published at https://issuu.com:443.