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June 28: The “Mother of Gay Pride”

Lawrence Bush
June 28, 2010

Brenda Howard Photo credit: Efrain John GonzalezBrenda Howard, known as the “mother of gay pride” for her work in commemorating the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, died on the 36th anniversary of Stonewall in 2005. Howard was a founder of the New York Area Bisexual Network, a leader of the Gay Liberation Front, and chair of the Gay Activists Alliance for several years. She responded to Stonewall, the historic LGBT resistance to police harassment, by organizing a celebration one month after and then an annual commemoration that evolved into Gay Pride Week. Howard also led the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which won City Council approval for New York’s gay rights law in 1986. Professionally, she was a nurse; Jewishly, she was a Reconstructionist and an active member of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York’s leading LGBT congregation.
“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

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.