By Lou Hoffman
At a discussion group recently a woman said that she believed bi activism was at a low point. I was astonished, since in my view bi activism is going like crazy for the last couple of years. Bis have been included in all of the LGBT White House Pride receptions and were on stage when President Obama signed the Federal Employee Act. More importantly for bis was the first ever White House Roundtable on Bisexual Issues on September 23, 2013, which was work, not for show (and there is another one this year).
Locally, BOP and BECAUSE have been on a steady upswing since 2008, and local groups across the nation are connecting for regional support. LGBT groups are being challenged about their “silent Bs and Ts” and some are taking Bi and Trans inclusion seriously.
Having been around bi activism for more than 40 years, right now reminds me a lot of the late 1980's and most of the 1990's. We had a visible presence at large events that were then styled as “Gay and Lesbian”. We had our own national gatherings, our own conferences and newsletters, Newsweek declared us the new latest trend. (Bisexuality gets called new and trending about every 10 years or so.) Local groups popped up all over the place. It was exciting!
But there did come a crash. 2004 was the 8th International Conference on Bisexuality in Minneapolis and while it was very successful, it burnt out many of the local activists. When the BECAUSE Conference failed in 2005, there wasn't anyone to pick up the pieces. BOP lost it's office and while events both local and national never quit completely, there was certainly a down swing in activities.
And as I said, things really picked up again starting in 2008. A few people got their breathe back and decided to restart things, and new people jumped up and grabbed for the possibilities. I am so pleased! But, you can see why this feels so 1990's to me. And why I'm concerned that we are heading for another burnout.
I've said this before: Community is not something you passively consume. If you want to be part of a Bi Community, you have to BE part of it. Go out and make history.
October 2-4, 2020
Location Wellstone Center, St. Paul, MN
Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.
Within the next five years grow Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) into a successfully-run Upper Midwest nonprofit organization with annual funding of $100,000 that provides community building, education, and advocacy for the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community and our allies.