Tammy Bruce collaborated with Los Angeles professional women to create one of the first ad-hoc independent pro-choice activist groups. The group’s early feminist activism began in 1987. This group confronted anti-abortion group protesters, and helped develop a strategy to stop “Operation Rescue” from successfully blocking the entrance to abortion clinics. During the years 1987-1990 she also participated in the Los Angeles chapter of the AIDS activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power
For seven years, Bruce served as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) (1990–1996). Bruce served two years on NOW’s board of directors, but later criticized the organization in one of her books. During the early 1990s, she spearheaded the campaign to publicly criticize the sexualized violence in the novel American Psycho, and led an effort to boycott all titles by the book’s publisher, Knopf, for a year.
In 1996, the NOW Executive Board voted nearly unanimously to censure Bruce for what it claimed were “racially insensitive comments” during the O.J. Simpson murder trial. In May 1996, Bruce resigned as president of Los Angeles NOW. Bruce claimed that the censure was due to her focus on domestic violence, as opposed to defense attorney Johnnie Cochran’s “racial issues” trial argument. Since then, Bruce has written about the dispute in her critique on what she sees as the failings of NOW, and the political left in general. She has said that the feminist establishment in the U.S. has abandoned authentic feminism.
In 2004, Bruce argued that gay Americans were not uniformly supportive of same-sex marriage, and that marriage should be restricted to heterosexual couples. She described civil unions as an alternative providing equal rights.
Personal lifeIn her book The Death of Right and Wrong, Tammy Bruce writes of her involvement with Brenda Benet, who killed herself in a home she had shared with Bruce. They were romantically involved for a time after Benet left Bill Bixby. Bruce had moved out two weeks prior to Benet’s suicide. On the day of the suicide, Bruce thought that she would meet Benet for lunch. According to Bruce, Benet was locked inside the bathroom of her home when she arrived. She sensed something was wrong and went to get help, but once Bruce stepped outside, Benet shot herself. The book Soap Opera Babylon said that Benet was involved with a male costar on Days of our Lives just prior to her death.
Bruce holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Southern California.