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RAZZ Pride Icons: Brenda Howard

Brenda Howard was a bisexual, polyamorous, LGBTQ+ activist. In a movement that sadly has a tendency to erase bisexual people, Brenda Howard led a fierce fight for bisexual people and helped her LGBTQ+ peers admirably. Most notably, she coordinated a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, AKA the first ever Pride march. Otherwise known as the “Mother of Pride”,  she helped evolve the march into Pride Day, and then into Pride Month. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Brenda Howard

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Bayard Rustin

Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand man, a tireless Civil Rights activist, and an openly gay man – Bayard Rustin fought throughout his life against prejudice, yet he still faces a great deal of historical erasure. Born in 1912, Rustin learnt and adopted Quaker values of nonviolence from a very early age. In 1937, he went to college in New York and joined the Young Communist League because of their progressive views on racial issues but left at the start of the Second World War when it began to emphasise support for the Soviet Union. His focus then shifted to socialism and he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in 1941. In 1944, Rustin was arrested as a “conscientious objector” because he refused to register for the draft, being so against the war as he was, and faced a number of other arrests during his time with FOR. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Bayard Rustin

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny

Affectionately known by many as the mother and father of the Gay Rights Movement in America, Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny worked tirelessly, both independently and together, for gay rights. Gittings, in the late 1950s, followed on from Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (see profile) and started the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) and, in 1963, went on to take over as editor of The Ladder, their national gay women’s magazine. Kameny, however, never intended to become an activist until, in the midst of the ‘Lavender Scare,’ he was fired from the Army Map Service (the precursor to NASA) for refusing to answer questions about his sexuality. With a derailed career as a budding astronaut, Kameny appealed to the Supreme Court about his firing and, though it declined to consider his case, it became the first civil rights case based on sexual orientation filed in a U.S. court. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Liza Cowan and Penny House

Liza Cowan and Penny House had been best friends since they were four, and in their mid-twenties in 1975 decided to launch DYKE magazine – a quarterly of lesbian culture and analysis. Living in 1970s New York at the time, the pair were in the midst of explorative conversations around lesbian culture, with their magazine following the lesbian separatist ideology. Lesbian separatism mainly followed the ideal of living without men entirely in patriarchy-free, women-only communities. The magazine said “We want to publish a magazine that fulfils our need for analysis, communication and news of Lesbian culture. We believe that “Lesbian culture” presumes a separatist analysis. If Lesbian culture is intermixed with straight culture, it is no longer Lesbian; it is heterosexual or heterosocial because energy and time are going to men”. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Liza Cowan and Penny House

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Stormé DeLarverie

Born in 1920 New Orleans, Stormé DeLarverie was a biracial lesbian without a birth certificate (because interracial marriage was illegal) who went on to become a brilliant drag king and a queer legend. She was racially abused a lot in her youth and when she realised she was also gay, she moved, fearing that she’d be murdered if she stayed in the South. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Stormé DeLarverie

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Mabel Hampton

Mabel Hampton was born in 1902 in North Carolina, later moving to Harlem. She met Lillian Foster in 1932 and the two were together for 45 years. Foster said in 1976: “Forty-four years ago I met Mabel. We was a wonderful pair. I’ll never forget it. But she’s a little tough. I met her in 1932, September twenty-second. And we haven’t been separated since in our whole life. Death will separate us. Other than that I don’t want it to end.” Foster died two years later in 1978. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Mabel Hampton

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RAZZ Pride Icons: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

Born in 1945, Marsha P. Johnson was an African-American trans rights/gay rights/AIDS activist, sex worker, and drag queen. Whenever someone asked her what the “P” in her name stood for, she would reply: “Pay it No Mind.” Sylvia Rivera was born in New York City in 1951 of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent, and worked as a trans rights/gay rights activist and drag queen as well. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera