THE EARLY DAYS
Bisexuals have been part of the modern Lesbian and Gay Civil
Rights and Liberation Movement since at least the mid-1960s. For a
variety of reasons bisexuals have also organized separately while
continuing to be active in gay, lesbian and other progressive
Throughout the 1970s while popular press articles focused on
"bisexual chic" in the club scene and among celebrities
such as Elton John, David Bowie and Patti Smith, bisexual groups
formed in several large US cities signaling the birth of the
modern Bisexual Civil Rights and Liberation Movement.
Stephen Donaldson (nee Robert Martin,
1946-1996) founds the Student
Homophile League at Columbia University
and New York University; in 1967
Columbia University is first in United States
to officially recognize a gay student group.
1969-1970 - Brenda
Howard (1946-2005) conceives and coordinates a one-month Stonewall
rally, and later, a one year march and celebration. This became
the annual New York
City Pride March that, in turn, spawned Pride Marches around the
country and the world.
1972 - The National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in New
York. Within three years, more than 5,500 members in 10 US
chapters receive what is probably the earliest bisexual
newsletter, The Bisexual Expression.
1975 - Bi Forum, a social, educational, and support group,
forms in New York "to encourage awareness of bisexual issues
in a non threatening and non judgmental environment." At its
peak in 1980, BiForum has more than 200 active members and a
mailing list of several thousand.
1976 - The San Francisco Bisexual Center, the longest surviving
bisexual community center, opens its doors. A social and
educational organization, it offers counseling and support
services to Bay Area bisexuals and publishes a newsletter, The Bi
Monthly, from 1976 to 1984.
1977 - Alan Rockway, a psychologist and bisexual activist,
co-authors the nation's first successful gay rights ordinance put
to public vote, in Dade County, Florida. When former Miss America
and orange juice spokesperson, Anita Bryant, initiates her
viciously homophobic "Save Our Children" campaign in
response to the ordinance, Dr. Rockway conceives of and initiates
a national "gaycott" of Florida orange juice. The
Florida Citrus Commission cancels Ms. Bryant's million dollar
contract as a result of the "gaycott."
1977 - The San Francisco Bisexual Center, in coalition with
members of the gay and lesbian community, sponsor a press
conference with lesbian activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, and
pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock to protest Anita Bryant's
"Save Our Children" campaign.
1978-79 - Grassroots bisexual communities grow with the
formation of Midwestern groups such as One To Five and BI Women
Welcome in Minneapolis, The BI Married Men's Group in the Detroit
suburbs, and BI Ways in Chicago.
1979 - A. Billy S. Jones, bisexual founding member of National
Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays, helps organize the first
black gay delegation to meet with President Carter's White House
staff. Jones is also a core organizer of the 1979 March On
Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.
CHANGES IN THE 1980s
In the 1980s, bisexual groups mushroomed around the country and
the world. Throughout the 1980s bisexuals organized significantly
in the US, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and the UK. In addition to
the various social and support groups arising locally across the
nation, by the mid-1980s umbrella groups formed to consolidate
resources and facilitate regional organizing.
While the groups of the 1970s were often predominantly male, in
the 1980s bisexual women took the organizational lead. Many of
these woman had been working in the Lesbian and Women's Movements
and the groups they formed often reflected their feminist
Also among the new groups were those formed specifically for
bisexual political activism. By the late 1980s, AIDS activism and
service became the focus for many bisexuals in response to the
impact the epidemic was having on the community.
1983 - The Boston Bisexual Women's Network (f. 1983), the
oldest extant bisexual women's group, begins publishing their
bi-monthly newsletter, BI Women. The longest-lived bisexual
newsletter in the US, more than 600 people currently receive BI
1983 - BiPOL, the first and oldest bisexual political
organization, forms in San Francisco. Founded on progressive
feminist principles, BiPOL "educates, advocates, and agitates
for bisexual rights, visibility and inclusion."
1984 - After a two year battle, BiPOL activist, AIDS educator,
and therapist Dr. David Lourea persuades the San Francisco
Department of Public Health to recognize bisexual men in their
official AIDS statistics. This acknowledgment sets the standard
for health departments nationwide which previously had recognized
only gay men. This acknowledgment is significant because it forces
health care providers to recognize the existence of bisexual men,
their potential risk for contracting HIV, and their need to be
targeted for HIV prevention education.
1984 - BiPOL sponsors the first Bisexual Rights Rally outside
the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. The
rally features nine speakers from civil rights groups allied with
the Bisexual Movement.
1984 - The First East Coast Conference on Bisexuality is held
at the Storrs School of Social Work at the Univ. of Conn. About
150 people participate in what is the first regional bisexual
conference in the US.
1984 - The Boston Bisexual Men's Network (BBMN) forms to
address the social and support needs of bisexual men in the
greater Boston area. At its peak in 1988, about 150 people are
receiving their newsletter, Boston Bisexual Men's Network News.
1985 - The Bisexual Connection, a social and support
organization serving the greater Twin Cities Area forms in
Minneapolis. Currently 350 people receive their
newsletter, BI Focal.
1985 - Bisexual organizing on the East Coast reaches a new
level of sophistication as the East Coast Bisexual Network forms.
ECBN sponsors annual regional conferences and retreats between
1985 and 1989 that draw from 150-250 people representing 10
1986 - BiPOL's Autumn Courtney is elected co-chair of San
Francisco's Lesbian Gay Freedom Day Pride Parade Committee.
This election marks the first time an openly bisexual person holds
this or a comparable position in the US.
1987 - A contingent of 75 bisexuals marches in the 1987 March
On Washington For Gay and Lesbian Rights. This event proves to be
the first nationwide bisexual gathering. The first national
bisexual organization is conceived at this gathering, The North
American Bisexual Network. NABN would later change its name to
BiNet USA. The article "The Bisexual Movement:
Are We Visible Yet?" appears in the official Civil
Disobedience Handbook for the March.
1987 - The New York Area Bisexual Network (NYABN), a tri-state
regional group which forms in 1987 spearheads an anti-defamation
campaign that carries into the 1990s. For example, in response to
an October 1989 Cosmopolitan magazine article that maliciously
stereotypes bisexual men as dishonest spreaders of AIDS, NYABN
initiates a letter writing campaign. Cosmopolitan has
printed no articles defaming bisexuals since the campaign.
1987 - The Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN) forms in the San
Francisco Bay Area. BABN publishes a newsletter, sponsors monthly
educational forums, and coordinates a speakers bureau. Currently
BABN has about 1000 members.
1988 - Members of the Philadelphia-based group, BI Unity (f.
1987), successfully lobby the Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on
Sexual Minorities to form a work group on bisexual issues.
1988 - Gary North publishes Bisexuality: News, Views, and
Networking, the first national bisexual newsletter.
1988 - The Seattle Bisexual Women's Network (f. 1985) works
with Seattle city agencies throughout the late 1980s to educate
service providers and policy makers about bisexual issues. For
example, in 1988 SBWN testifies at the Seattle Commission On
Children and Youth Public Hearings On Gay and Lesbian Youth and at
the Seattle Women's Commission of the Mayor's office . Both
appearances result in increased bisexual recognition in Seattle
government agencies. SBWN has published a bimonthly newsletter,
North BI Northwest, since 1988.
1988 - The Bisexual Committee Engaging in Politics (BiCEP), a
bisexual political/educational group forms in Boston. BiCEP's most
enduring contribution are many of the educational pamphlets
currently available through the Bisexual Resource Center.
1989 - Openly bisexual veteran Cliff Arnesen testifies before
the US Congress on behalf of gay, lesbian and bisexual veteran's
issues. Arnesen is the first veteran to testify about gay, lesbian
and bisexual issues and the first openly non-heterosexual veteran
to testify on Capitol Hill about veteran's issues in general.
1989 - Seattle Bisexual Men's Union (SBMU), an anti-sexist
men's education and support group, forms. Members organize a
support presence at the annual Women Take Back The Night marches.
As a result of continuing testimony by SBMU, the current draft of
Seattle's city plan (which includes housing codes) now recognizes
families headed by same-gender partnerships.
1989 - BiPAC, the New York-based Bisexual Political/Public
Action Committee which forms in 1989, challenges biphobia in the
lesbian and gay community with a national letter writing campaign
in 1990. The campaign successfully persuades an educational
institution to remove an offensive workshop it offers called
"Bisexual Men: Fact or Fiction?"
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
In the 1990s, the bisexual political community expands and
consolidates with national and international coalitions. Regional
conferences strengthen smaller and newer communities, especially
in the Midwest and the South. Bisexual groups continue to form as
awareness and discussion of bisexuality broadens. Although the
list is incomplete and growing daily, according to The Bisexual
Resource Guide (published by the Bisexual Resource Center) there
are currently more than 1300 bisexual groups in 48 US states,
Washington, DC and 19 countries.
JUNE 1990 - BiPOL sponsors the first National Bisexual
Conference in San Francisco. More than 450 people attend from 20
states and 5 countries. The mayor of S.F. sends a proclamation
"commending the bisexual rights community for its leadership
in the cause of social justice," declaring June 23, 1990
Bisexual Pride Day. The North American Bisexual Network (NABN) is
formalized as the North American Multicultural Bisexual Network (NAMBN)
at this first meeting of its members. The conference
inspires attendees from Dallas to create the first bisexual group
in Texas, BiNet Dallas.
FALL 1990 - Susan Carlton offers the first academic course on
bisexuality in the US at UC Berkeley.
WINTER 1991 - The Bay Area Bisexual Network begins publishing
the first and only national bisexual quarterly magazine, Anything
That Moves: Beyond The Myths Of Bisexuality.
OCTOBER 1991 - The First International Conference on
Bisexuality is held at Vrije University in Amsterdam. About 250
people attend from nine countries.
FEBRUARY 1992 - The Bisexual Connection (Minnesota) sponsors
the First Annual Midwest Regional Bisexual Conference.
BECAUSE (Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting, Supportive
Experience) draws close to 150 people from at least five
midwestern states each year.
APRIL 1992 - Minnesota amends its State Civil Rights Law to
grant the most comprehensive civil rights protections for
bisexual, lesbian, gay, and transgender people in the country.
Minnesota's bisexual community unites with lesbian, gay, and
transgender groups to lobby for this statute.
NOVEMBER 1992 - The South Florida Bisexual Network (f. 1989)
and the Florida International University's Stonewall Students
Union co-sponsor the First Annual Southeast Regional Bisexual
Conference. Thirty-five people from at least four southeastern
OCTOBER 1992 - The 2nd International Bisexual Conference is
held in London. More than 130 people attend from 13 countries.
German bisexuals announce the establishment of a national bisexual
network in Germany.
NOVEMBER 1992 - Colorado votes to deny civil rights protection
for bisexual, lesbian, and gay people by passing Amendment 2, the
first such amendment to pass by popular vote in the US. The
Colorado Supreme Court declares the measure unconstitutional in
October, 1994. The case is bound for the US Supreme Court.
FEBRUARY 1993 - BiNet USA, the Seattle Bisexual Women's Network
and the Seattle Bisexual Men's Union sponsor the First Annual
Northwest Regional Conference, in Seattle. Fifty-five people
representing Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and British
SPRING 1993 - The East Coast Bisexual Network revises its
mandate and changes its name to the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC).
As an international resource on bisexuality, the BRC provides
educational services and materials, publishes The Bisexual
Resource Guide annually, and maintains an international bisexual
APRIL 1993 - BiPOL (San Francisco) mobilizes a successful
nationwide lobbying campaign for visible bisexual inclusion in the
March On Washington. Openly bisexual people take key leadership
roles in local and regional organizing for the 1993 March on
Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. As
a result, for the first time bisexuals are included in the title
of the March and are represented on the stage by bisexual activist
and author Lani Ka'ahumanu. More than 1000 people march with the
bisexual contingent in addition to the uncounted bisexuals who
marched with other groups. This event signifies the
national recognition and growing awareness of bisexual issues and
the increasing grassroots power of the bisexual community.
APRIL 1993 - In an unprecedented coalition of national and
nationally-recognized bisexual groups, BiNet USA, the Bisexual
Resource Center (BRC), and the Washington, DC-based Alliance of
Multicultural Bisexuals (AMBi) sponsor the Second National
Conference Celebrating Bisexuality in Washington, DC to coincide
with the March On Washington. More than 600 people attend from the
US and Europe making it the largest Bisexual Conference to date.
OCTOBER 1993 - San Diego, CA based BiForum (f.1982) hosts
BiWest 1993, a western regional bisexual conference. More than 250
people attend from at least five states and three countries.
FALL 1993 - Sheela Lambert writes, produces, and hosts the
first television series by and for the bisexual community.
Bisexual Network successfully airs for 13 weeks on NYC Public
JUNE 1994 - Bisexual communities based in Fayetteville,
Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Charlotte unite to form the North
Carolina Bisexual Network (NCBN). In October 1994, NCBN sponsors
the Second Annual Southeast Regional Bisexual Conference.
Approximately 100 people attend from 11 states.
JUNE 1994 - New York hosts the Third International Bisexual
Conference in conjunction with the celebration of the 25th
anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the symbolic origin of the
Gay and Lesbian Rights and Liberation Movement. About 400 people
attend from at least five countries. The visible bisexual presence
at the celebration signifies our link to the past: bisexuals
fought in the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, and celebrate the
changes it has inspired in the present.
OCT 1994 - The 4th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in New York, NY.
OCT 1996 - The 5th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Berlin, Germany
APR 1998 - The 5th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Cambridge, MA.
SEPT 1999 - BiNet USA coordinators Michael Page,
Gigi Raven Wilbur, and Wendy Curry organized the first
Celebrate Bisexuality Day.
AUG 2000 - The 6th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Manchester, UK.
2000 - The BiNet Tri-state (NJ/PA/CT) regional
conference voted to become an independant entity.
2001 - The BiNet tristate conference expanded the
scope of the conference in two ways: expanding the geographical
reach of the conference to include the entire Northeast, and
including transgender and intersex issues as well as bisexual issues
in the conference theme. they changed the name to Transcending
OCT 2002 - The 7th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Sydney, New South Wales, AU
AUG 2004 - The 8th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Minneapolis, MN.
JUN 2006 - The 9th International Conference on
Bisexuality was held in Toronto.
OCT 2006 - Transcending Boundaries conference was
held in Worcester, MA.