Here’s a collection of bi+ history resources for you. All of them are free. Feel free to share any of them, or anything you learn from them, and tag it #BiHistoryMonth for everyone to find! You can also go even farther and share anything you’re inspired to create.
This year’s theme is “Bisexual Spaces.”
Every time we share examples of other bi+ people living their lives, we create more space in the world for each other.
When we read or watch their stories, we create bisexual spaces in our minds: room for ourselves and/or others to exist, to be accepted and whole.
And you’re invited to go even farther than that. You can create bi spaces in all sorts of ways. Inspired by an event or zine you come across? Create one like it, or about it! Found a great passage in a zine or book? Do a video with a dramatic reading of it! Learn about someone cool who’s still around? See if they’ll chat with you!
“Queer spaces are largely inaccessible to me because of my disabilities, and I longed for a sense of connection. After a disappointing visit to a queer library with only 5 books about bisexuality in the whole building, I slowly began to build my own private library.”
The Bi Pan Library has a very thorough collection of zines, podcasts, and periodicals, and many of them are available to read or listen to online.
“The Bi History project began as a research project on Instagram (read more about it on Autostraddle) and is developing into a physical archive which will be available for public consultation and used in workshops and outreach work. We also aim to support the inclusion of bisexual+ history in all archive collecting.”
They have created three zines and a number of infographics. Most of their history information they have online right now is on their Instagram, but their website is still worth a visit.
“Information gathered from over thirty different studies/surveys, focusing on topics related to health, well-being, inclusion, safety, and victimization, shows that when pansexual people’s experiences are addressed, the same patterns tend to show up. Which is also reflected in research done on those ‘under the bisexual umbrella’.”
Verity Ritchie makes great videos exploring many aspects of nonbinary orientation and gender. She has several on bi+ history, including but NOT limited to:
The ArQuives collects materials in any medium, by and about LGBTQ2+ people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada. They have some bi+ history available online:
The key is to do searches elsewhere, looking for bi+ people in specific groups/events, or checking to see if a creator was bi+. (Particularly trans creators, and any creators who are only being described as queer.)
The Bi History Group, on Facebook, is an especially fantastic resource.
Not only does it contain over a decade’s worth of posts about bi+ events, writing, performance, activism, and other history, but it’s also chock-full of the very people who were there and did that.
The members of the Bi History Group are often very active, knowledgeable, and eager to answer questions about whatever comes to mind.
And if they don’t know the answer, they have a good idea who would.
The OutWords Archive is a great resource because not only have they made an active effort to include bi+ people in their oral history project, but they also have searchable transcripts of every single one. A few of their bi+ profiles:
Marcus Arana, a Native, bi+, trans activist
Gigi Raven Wilbur, a bi+ intersex activist
ABilly S. Jones-Hennin Black bi+ activist
Tom Mosmiller, bi+ activist and AIDS activist
Lani Ka’ahumanu, Japanese-Hawaiian-Jewish-Irish bi+ activist
One of the members of the Bi History Group, Angélique Gravely, wrote this pay-what-you-want guide. I’ll let the author describe it:
“Have you ever wanted to know more about the history of the bisexual+ community or about bisexuality in general but not known where to start? Have you ever sat through a presentation or film about LGBTQ+ history and wondered where all the bisexual people were?
“If, like me, your answer to either of those questions is yes, then this ebook is for you!
“”Finding the B in LGBTQ+ History is a short guide with insights on how to uncover bi+ history and pages of resources to help you get started!”
The vast majority of trans people have nonbinary orientations. In the US Trans Survey, 53% were bi+, and 10% were ace, for a total of 63%. In the UK LGBT Survey, 50% were bi+, 5.4% were ace, and another 12% chose Other, Don’t Know, or Prefer Not To Say, for a total of 67.4%.
So it’s not surprising that the Digital Transgender Archive has a lot of good bi+ content.
Among their interviews and other personal stories, there are bi+ trans people talking about being Black, Buddhist, autistic, intersex, musicians, Jewish, anarchist, communist, feminist, Indigenous, Korean, actors, athletes, sex workers, and of course, activists.
The National Park Foundation. and the National Park Service have a project called Telling All Americans’ Stories, which includes a full book of LGBTQ+ history.
They specifically “commissioned chapters providing broad historical contexts for two spirit, transgender, Latino/a, African American Pacific Islander, and bisexual communities,” as well as one on intersectionality.
Bi+ activist Loraine Hutchins wrote the chapter called Making Bisexuals Visible.
It’s fantastic, and is far and away the closest thing we have to a bi+ history book.
2020 SF BiCon included a presentation on “Local Bi+ Activism 1970s & Forward, with Lani Ka’ahumanu, in conversation with Jen Yee.”
Lani Ka’ahumanu has been called one of the mothers of the bisexual movement. She has a deep and fascinating knowledge of local bi+ history, because she was there for most of it.
Come be a fly on that wall!
Anything That Moves was a groundbreaking, influential bi+ magazine, published from 1991-2001 by the Bay Area Bisexual/Pansexual Network. Not only did it talk about bi+ history, but it serves as an excellent archive of what was happening in the movement locally, nationally, and sometimes globally – including its broad overlap with the trans community.
Bi activists Lani Ka‘ahumanu, Emily Drennen, Martin Rawlings-Fein, and Lindasusan Ulrich, curated this exhibit on local bi+ history for the GLBT Historical Society.
The exhibit, called “BiConic Flashpoints: Four Decades of Bay Area Bisexual Politics,” ran from May 2014 – April 2015.
But Martin made this short film about it for Bi+ History Month 2020. So you can “visit” the exhibit any time you want!