I really wasn’t sure how people would respond to the topic of Bi+ History, but I’m so happy that we’ve got contributions from across the U.S. as well as from bi+ communities in Australia and Germany! This issue has a wide variety of articles and interviews noting significant developments within the bi+ community as well as insightful ruminations about people’s own personal histories. Plus, gorgeous artwork and poetry that complements the theme.
Sprinkled throughout are historic moments from the 1983 Democratic Convention in San Francisco to the first bisexual contingent marching in Boston’s Pride in 1984 (and BBWN’s founding in 1983), from the erasure of bisexuals at the 1990 Northampton Pride, to the first queer contingent in Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992 (which included bisexual leadership). And other tidbits.
Bi erasure is strong. Often the things our community has accomplished do not get recognized, honored, or commemorated by the greater LGBTQ+ community. Our own bi+ activism has gone through phases of growth spurts and visibility, followed by silence and regrouping. So often we feel we should be farther along, and then it’s effing amazing that we’ve done what we’ve done with so few resources!
Angel Gravely’s words on page 11 truly resonate for me, “Even as the scars from bi-negativity sting me, I can withstand the hurt because I know our identities are not contingent on who monosexism claims us to be. I know who I am and who we are as bi+ people because bi+ history tells me the truth.” If we can hold tightly to what we know to be true about our bi+ community, then we can nurture ourselves and others around us who need our bi+ supportive spaces.
Our movement owes so much to the activists of the 1990s who worked tirelessly to add the B to the LGBTQ+ movement that we know today. And the T as well. Remember that if someone suggests to you that the bi identity is innately transphobic. When you know that “The Bisexual Manifesto” in 1990 (see page 10) included “Don’t assume that there are only two genders,” you know that the bi+ community was way out front on understanding how sexual orientation and gender identity intersect. I think of those activists who fought for the B when some people try to reduce the movement to a pithy “queer and trans” identity. When you know how hard those early organizers fought to claim our space, our letter, our voices within the larger movement, it is painful to see it erased. In this issue, we honor those who have created and continue to create our beautiful community!
Ellyn Ruthstrom, Guest Editor