ABilly S. Jones-Hennin, longtime local and national LGBTQ activist and advocate, died January 19 at age 81. Jones-Hennin co-founded the National Coalition of Black Gays in 1978 and was logistics coordinator for the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979. The range of social issues he embraced throughout his lifetime would be hard to match, and the impact of his work impossible to adequately document.
The National Coalition of Black Gays became the first political and advocacy organization—local or national—to represent the views and interests of LGBTQ African Americans. The organization was later renamed the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. On the historic weekend of the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979, Jones-Hennin helped to convene the National Third World Conference for LGBTQ person of color, held at Howard University; this led to the Howard University Lambda Student Alliance, the first known LGBTQ organization at a historically Black college or university in the United States.
Among his other activities, Jones-Hennin organized what became the D.C. Coalition; served as minority affairs director of the National AIDS Network; was a founding member of the Gay Married Men’s Association; and helped co-found the National Association of Black & White Men Together. During the Carter administration, he participated in the first delegation of gay people of color to meet with representatives of the President.
Jones-Hennin identified as bisexual and advanced the presence of the bisexual community within the national LGBTQ community. He was one of the founding members of the Gay Married Men’s Association. Jones-Hennin was also prominent in AIDS education.
To honor these and other contributions, Rainbow History Project named Jones-Hennig a Community Pioneer in 2007
Jones-Hennin is survived by his partner and husband of 45 years, Christopher Hennin, and children.
Explore these Rainbow History Project archives relating to ABilly S. Jones-Hennin:
2007 Community Pioneers biography
1979 Beginnings public panel (2001) stream online with transcripts
Prejudice and Pride panel (2013) stream online