Brian Douglas Bradley

Brian Douglas Bradley

March 27, 1961 - November 5, 1995

Brian was born and raised in New Albany, Mississippi. He lived in New York, Hawaii and finally moved to Houston with his lover Josh Irvin, who died on Oct. 10, 1989. After Josh's death, Brian began his illustrious career as both a gay and HIV activist. First as a member of ACT UP and later as a founding member of Queer Nation, Brian was not shy about bringing the fight against bigotry to the very doorstep of the enemy and he waged this fight with outrageous humor, gay abandon and pure guts.

In grim reaper drag, he disrupted a Baylor College of Medicine commencement address being given by Health and Human Services director Louis Sullivan, chiding the Secretary for a lack of attention to the issue of HIV.

In that same costume, Brian later disrupted Jon Lindsay and Commissioners Court, which was attempting to destroy the Greater Houston AIDS Alliance, of which Brian was an elected member.

Protesting the incompetence of Iva Sue Cooper, the executive director of the HIV Division of the Harris County Health Department, Brian donned Sue Cooper drag and greeted guests attending a breakfast hosted by Ms. Cooper.

Brian also directed his ire against the voices of intolerance, trashing book signings by both Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell. When David Duke held a rally in League City, Brian stood up in a sea of rednecks and unfurled a banner which read, "Nazi go home." A Houston Chronicle photographer caught that moment on film and it won the Chronicle Picture of the Year.

While in Houston, Brian worked as a scrub nurse at M.D. Anderson Hospital until, in a newspaper article, he identified himself as both a person with HIV and also as a nurse at M.D. Anderson. When the hospital administration removed him from surgery and assigned him to a job as a clerk in the shipping department, Brian sued M.D. Anderson and took the case all the way to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the process, Brian appeared on Good Morning America, Oprah, Rolanda and Night Line, where he spoke eloquently, not only for himself, but also for every person diagnosed with HIV. Brian won many awards for his activism, but was proudest of having been selected as Grand Marshal of the Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade of 1993. Also, in 1993 Brian ran for an at-large position on Houston City Council and received nearly 28,000 votes.

Brian will be remembered by his close friends (too numerous to mention), for his kindness, his dedication and humor. Brian Bradley is survived by his father Edward Bradley of Senatobia, Mississippi; his mother Jeanne Bradley, his brother Kevin Bradley and his sister Bronwyn Rogers, all of Hickory Flat, Mississippi; his sister Kristel Erwin of Potts Camp, Mississippi; and hundreds of persons with HIV who will probably never know how much Brian cared about them or how much he did on their behalf.

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