Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
The story of how Pride came to be is familiar to many in the LGBT community – after police raided a bar called the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969, the predominantly young, working-class patrons––mostly gay and transgender––fought back, rioting for several days, birthing the so-called “gay liberation” movement and inspiring yearly pride festivals across the country in commemoration of the riots.
But what most of our community and our allies don’t know is that Brenda Howard, the “mother of gay pride”––who is credited for organizing the 1970 Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day Parade on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots––was actually bisexual.
Last weekend, 45 years later, activist J. Christopher Neal continued Howard’s legacy when he became the first bisexual person to ever serve as a New York City Pride Grand Marshall.
Neal, who is an artist, educator and founder of an advocacy group for “fluid men of African descent” called Fluid Bi Design, gave a powerful speech where he addressed the intersections of racial justice and the LGBT movement. He also led the crowd in observing a moment of silence in remembrance of the recent deaths of several bisexual youth by suicide.
Standing with Neal on the stage was Larry Nelson, Howard’s widower.
Given the discrimination that bisexual people still face––including biphobia within the LGBT community––and how bisexual identities and needs are so often erased within the broader LGBT movement, it is critically important to recognize that bisexual people have been leaders in this movement since its beginning.
For information on the issues facing the bisexual community and bisexual youth in particular, read our report Supporting and Caring for Our Bisexual Youth.