1946 - 2005

Bronx born Brenda Howard discovered activism in the 1960s movement against the Vietnam War. Like many women in the era, she grew critical of patriarchy and became involved in the Feminist Movement. Her activism soon included gay rights as well. Howard is known as the “Mother of Pride” for coordinating a rally followed by the Christopher Street Liberation Day March to commemorate the 1st Anniversary of Stonewall Riot. She originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations now held worldwide. Howard, along with activists Robert A. Martin and L. Craig Schoonmaker is also credited with popularizing the word “Pride” to describe these festivities. 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 LGBT rights law through the City Council in 1986. 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. Her ongoing activism included work on the 1993 March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Rights where she was female co-chair of the leather contingent and helped lobby to have the term “Bisexuals” included in the title. In addition, Howard was an active member of the Gay Liberation Front, chair of the Gay Activists Alliance's Speakers Bureau, and served on the Steering Committee of Stonewall 25. She died of colon cancer in 2005.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Bisexual

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White Jewish

Faith Construct Judaic

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980) Third-wave Feminism (1990-2012)

Field(s) of Contribution

Social Justice

Commemorations & Honors

Mother of Pride Designation

New York Area Bisexual Network Co-Founder (1987)

March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights Organizer (1987)

March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation Leather Contingent Female Co-Chair (1993)

Queens PFLAG Chapter Annual Brenda Howard Memorial Award Created (2005)

National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the Stonewall National Monument Inductee (2019)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell