Bisexual advocate, writer Denarii Grace to receive Brenda Howard Memorial Award from PFLAG Queens

This Sunday, intersectional advocate, writer, and artist Denarii Grace will be awarded at PFLAG Queens’ Annual Awards Reception and Luncheon celebrating the work of LGBTQ advocates in the greater New York City area. You can follow her on Twitter @writersdelite.

The luncheon and fundraiser highlights and honors the impact of local advocates and supports PFLAG Queens' work advocating for the LGBTQ community. Tickets for the luncheon, held on Sunday, February 4th from 1:00 to 5:00 PM at Riccardo's Restaurant in Astoria, Queens, are available through PFLAG Queens.Denarii Grace

PFLAG Queens will award Denarii the 13th annual Brenda Howard Memorial Award in recognition of her advocacy focusing on bi+ (plus) identity, disability, Blackness, and fat acceptance.

"Imposter syndrome has been settling in for a while so I still can't believe that I was even considered for this!" Denarii told GLAAD in an exclusive statement. "However, I am so honored that community members thought well enough of both me and my work to bless me in this way. I look forward to honoring Brenda Howard's legacy - and then some - in the years to come!"

The late Brenda Howard was a New York City native and a notable advocate for the bisexual+ community. A fixture in the queer community and a figurehead for the movement for LGBTQ equity, Howard earned the nickname "the Mother of Pride" after coordinating what are considered to be the first “Pride” events--the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day March and another rally in remembrance of the Stonewall uprising one year earlier. As the bisexual+ community in New York continued to grow and mobilize in the 1980s, Howard founded the New York Area Bisexual+ Network to coordinate resources for regional bi+ individuals, and continued to work with numerous organizations to liberate and support the bisexual+ community.

Denarii is recognized for her decade-long advocate work, rooted in student activism, with a focus on intersectional LGBTQIA2S+ (plus) issues. She contributed an op-ed to GLAAD's site during #BiWeek last year on the importence of visibility of bi+ issues in light of the Trump administration. She writes:

"And so, as DACA and other immigration issues are under constant threat; as transgender people are under attack (in the military and elsewhere, as is ever the case); as Muslims and Jewish folks find their humanity questioned again and again based simply on their faith; as Betsy DeVos vows to rescind Title IX protections for thousands of sexual assault victims on college campuses; and as Black lives continue to be reminded that we don’t matter, I am keenly aware of the fact that bi+ (plus) people belong to every single one of these groups. 

So this week, and every week, let’s make sure that bi+ (plus) people are included in the movement building, policy making, media campaigns, and political strategizing that we do. Let’s say, “No more!” to the erasure that harms bi+ (plus) people. Let’s Denarii Grace commit to saving bi+ (plus) lives - literally."

She also was on GLAAD's panel of bi+ media influencers in 2016, an event organized to discuss bi+ media representation and the work that each panelist is engaged with.

Denarii is a former board member of and the blog editor for the Boston-based non-profit Bisexual+ Resource Center; as well as a nonfiction editor at The Deaf Poets Society, an online journal featuring literature and art by D/deaf and disabled people. As a freelance writer, she has written for Bitch Magazine, Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, and The Establishment, among several others. Denarii has this to say about her work; "I believe that as an artist I have a responsibility beyond entertainment, to be a truth teller (as Paul Robeson once said), to reflect the times (as Nina Simone once said), to speak with and for the people, to give marginalized groups the visibility and representation we've long deserved, to heal, to love, to liberate." You can donate to her Patreon here.

Denarii has also launched a showcase, "Denarii Grace Presents: HERSELF," in which Denarii uses various modes of artistry to explore personal and political topics, "from romantic love, sex, and Blackness to abandonment, self-love, and fear." She will next be presenting this showcase two nights before receiving the Brenda Howard Memorial Award. Get your sliding-scale tickets for her February 2 performance at the LGBT Community Center in NYC here. 


Alongside Denarii, PFLAG Queens will recognize The Caribbean Equality Project with the 25th annual Morty Manford Award, which recognizes LGBTQ advocacy work that exemplifies the spirit of the late Morty Manford, a visible and positive LGBTQ role model. The Caribbean Equality Project (CEP) is a Queens NY-based non-profit organization committed to strengthening the marginalized voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual+, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people of Caribbean origin and descent. To date, CEP is the only educational-based agency serving the Caribbean-American LGBTQ community in New York City and is dedicated to cultivating a supportive and progressive Caribbean community free of violence, oppression, and discrimination.

Additionally, Abby Maisonave will be awarded the 20th annual Carmel Tavadia Memorial Award in recognition of outstanding work to support true family values. PFLAG Queens will celebrate Abby Maisonave's work as President of PFLAG Jersey Shore, a very large and community/state active chapter and was the North Atlantic Regional Director for PFLAG National, overseeing the PFLAG chapters in NJ, NY, and PA, helping with issues and concerns that face chapters, as well as guiding and start-up of new PFLAG chapters in her region. She has helped hundreds of families and individuals on their journey to acceptance and unconditional love and support and has been honored that families have entrusted their confidence in her.

GLAAD's own Alexandra Bolles was awarded the Brenda Howard Memorial award last year for her work for the bi+community through GLAAD. Alexandra was recognized for spearheading GLAAD's bisexual+ advocacy work: notably, co-founding the online #BiWeek campaign at GLAAD; participating in and helping coordinate groundbreaking White House policy briefings for bisexual+ advocacy leaders; and creating resources for media reporting on the LGBTQ community, including her guide "In Focus: Reporting on the Bisexual+ Community." Alexandra was also recognized for her management of projects including Spirit Day and the Southern Stories Summer Tour, and her work to amplify diverse voices among the LGBTQ community.

The PFLAG Queens Awards Reception and Luncheon promises to be a meaningful celebration of the impactful work of New York City LGBTQ advocates both locally and nationally. Purchase forms for tickets to the event can be found on PFLAG Queens' website, and more information about the event can be found by contacting PFLAG at 718-858-9678. You can also check out the Facebook event.