The erasure of bi people does persist, but this is despite the fact that it was a bisexual activist who started the first ever Pride parade. The tradition of marching was organised by a bisexual activist (and polyamorist). So much of GRSD history tries to erase bi contributions, but one of the highlights of the year for many GRSD people wouldn’t have been possible without Brenda Howard.
Marches are often central to every Pride. They’re one of the most visible forms of organising. They can empower but they can also show onlookers that GRSD people are proud, and will stand up for their rights. It’s an ironic legacy that such a watched event was started by someone who is often erased.
“It was a bisexual activist who started the first ever Pride parade”
Howard’s activism was committed towards being inclusive of all GRSD people. Howard co-founded the New York Area Bisexual Network in 1988, and agitated for the inclusion of bi people in what were became gay focused marches. Howard was arrested several times as she protested for better healthcare and then again against the firing of a lesbian in the 90s. She was also an active member of ACT UP, a leading organisation in the fight against HIV, as well as Queer Nation.
Howard’s work should be remembered and celebrated with every Pride march. We also should continue to carry out her incredible work; pushing for greater bi inclusion but also ensuring that we are inclusive to other GRSD people. Bi rights may underpin our motives but many other GRSD people are also bi, and regardless, we should stand in solidarity with the rest of the community. Recgonise the work of Brenda Howard. Respect it, and do better for all bi people.