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social sciences

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Bisexual Movements  
page: 1  2  

The first bisexual organizations outside the United States developed in Europe in the 1980s. The London Bisexual Group was created by men involved in the anti-sexist men's movement in 1981. Bisexual organizations subsequently began in the Netherlands (1983), Scotland (1984), and West Germany (1984). The Netherlands group, the Dutch National Bi Network, is the oldest continuing bisexual organization in the world.

Toward a U. S. Bisexual Movement

A bisexual movement began to take shape in the United States when a call for a bisexual contingent at the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights brought together 75 activists from around the country and laid the groundwork for the establishment of the North American Bisexual Network.

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The movement further took shape at the first national bisexual conference, held in San Francisco in 1990. The following year, the group's name was changed to BiNet U.S.A.

BiNet fought bias against bisexuals and bisexuality in the popular press and increased the visibility of bisexuals, with members appearing on television talk shows and being quoted in mainstream and lesbian and gay newspapers and magazines.

The organization also educated national lesbian and gay groups about the importance of using bi-inclusive language and recognizing the involvement of bisexuals in what was more appropriately called the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and rights movement.

One major victory was convincing lesbian and gay organizers to include bisexuals by name in the 1993 March on Washington, the first time that bisexuals had been acknowledged in a national political action, and to have an openly bisexual speaker at the rally afterward.

The 1990s

In the 1990s, the number of bisexual organizations in the United States and Western Europe grew tremendously and groups formed in many other countries. The 2001 edition of the Bisexual Resource Guide lists 352 bisexual and 2,134 bi-inclusive organizations in 68 countries, including Botswana, Colombia, Fiji, Hungary, Lithuania, Namibia, Singapore, South Korea, and Uruguay.

The proliferation of bisexual and bi-supportive groups has been facilitated by the development of bisexual electronic mailing lists (the Bisexual Resource Guide includes more than one hundred) and Internet resources on bisexuality, such as,, and

Also important have been the creation of international, continental, and regional bisexual conferences and the publication of an increasing number of books on bisexuality. Beginning in 1991, nine international bisexual conferences have been held, one about every other year in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia; and since 2001, European and North American conferences have been held during the year between international gatherings.

The first texts to consider bisexuality from an affirming perspective were not published until the mid-1970s, and few books addressed the topic through the 1980s. The 1990s, however, witnessed a boom in the number of works by and about bisexuals. Among the most influential were Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu's Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (1991), Elizabeth Reba Weise's Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminism (1992), the Bisexual Anthology Collective's Plural Desires: Writing Bisexual Women's Realities (1995), and The Off Pink Collective's Bisexual Horizons: Politics, Histories, Lives (1996).

Important research on bisexuality has also been published in the Journal of Bisexuality, the first academic periodical devoted to the topic, which began publishing in 2001.

New Century, New Choices

Because of the sustained prominence of bisexuals and bisexual groups in North America, Europe, and elsewhere and the inclusion of bisexuals in many formerly "lesbian and gay" campus and community organizations in the 1990s, people growing up in the early twenty-first century generally have a much greater awareness of bisexuality than previous generations.

As a result, many youths today openly identify as bisexual when they first begin to acknowledge their sexuality. They do not feel compelled to come out as lesbian or gay or to forefront heterosexual relationships, as was the case for many bisexuals in the 1970s and 1980s.

Brett Genny Beemyn

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social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexuality

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social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Activism

Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.

social sciences >> Daughters of Bilitis

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Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.

social sciences >> Mattachine Society

One of the earliest American gay movement organizations, the Mattachine Society was dedicated to the cultural and political liberation of homosexuals; but in the face of McCarthyism, it adopted conservative policies of accommodationism.


Highleyman, Liz A. "A Brief History of the Bisexual Movement."

Ochs, Robyn, ed. Bisexual Resource Guide. 4th Edition. Boston: Bisexual Resource Center, 2001.

The Off Pink Collective, eds. Bisexual Horizons: Politics, Histories, Lives. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1996.

Raymond, Dannielle, and Liz A. Highleyman. "Brief Timeline of Bisexual Activism in the United States." Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions. Naomi Tucker, ed. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harrington Park Press, 1995. 333-37.

Udis-Kessler, Amanda. "Identity/Politics: A History of the Bisexual Movement." Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions. Naomi Tucker, ed. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harrington Park Press, 1995. 17-30.


    Citation Information
    Author: Beemyn, Brett Genny  
    Entry Title: Bisexual Movements  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated September 7, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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