Bisexuals = people who ♥ people of Same Gender as themselves + ♥ people of Different Genders/Gender Presentations from themselves
The Stonewall Riots themselves began as a police instigated brawl at a club where many of whose customers were primarily black + latin@, (if you’ve ever seen “Paris Is Burning" you’ll have a good idea of much of the the clientele). It quickly morphed into a generalized street riot that included many run-away + throw-away queer street kids who congregated close by at Christopher Park (at the intersection of Christopher, Grove, and West 4th Streets).
It was extremely chaotic and continued on for quite some time, so over the years it is hard to figure out exactly who was where when. So given our prevalence as over 50% of the LGBTQ community, it would be surprising and downright odd if a good proportion of the people caught up Weren’t bisexual, (that being said people certainly do know many Elders of the LGBT Community who are members of the Stonewall Veterans Association, who have over the years, had lovers of various genders and who have used various labels over time that include bisexual, as well as homosexual, gay, tranny, trans, queer, if not more). Interestingly enough one of the the most seriously hurt people arrested that first evening was a straight folksinger, (and a colleague of folksinger Phil Ochs, the uncle of bisexual activist Robyn Ochs) who finished a gig and walked out onto the street and into the wrong place at the wrong time. The police beat him about the head, dragged him from the street into the bar and then arrested him.
In the political movement that immediately grew from the aftermath there certainly was a great deal of Bisexual Representation, including in leadership roles.
Some of the most well know were the late Brenda Howard, called the "Mother of Pride" for her work in coordinating a rally and then the Christopher Street Liberation Day March to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Howard also originated the idea of a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June.
Additionally the late Sylvia Rivera, a great friend and colleague of Brenda Howard, was also a non-monosexual person having had lovers of different genders, including her long-time partner Julia Murray. For which Rivera endured a great deal of flack from many people - including "respectable" gay/lesbians - who felt it necessary to remark, that in their opinion if she was going to have a female-identified partner then why didn’t she just stay as a male-identified person herself, thereby being "normal". And in this way showed their complete lack of understanding of the differences between gender and sexual orientation.
Also there was the late Steven Donaldson who among other things, (those were busy times) founded the first official Student LGBT Group (then called a Homophile Group) in on April 1967 The Student Homophile League (SHL) (now called the Columbia Queer Alliance) at Columbia University. He then went on to assist students at other colleges and universities to found their own groups. By 1971, there were an estimated 150 gay student groups at colleges and universities “often with official sanction and with remarkable acceptance from fellow students”.
[Image: The hardest thing to do is to say that I am Bisexual. Lesbian or Straight always seems easier.]
Once upon a time (not too too long ago) it was also considered SO horrifying to admit to being a Lesbian — a word that in popular imagination associated with licentiousness, loose morals, mental illness, suicide, porn, and perversion — that the early Lesbian Pride Group of the 1950’s, the Daughters of Bilitis wrote instead in their mission statement, which was printed on the inside of every cover of their magazine The Ladder until 1970:
1. Education of the variant…to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society…this to be accomplished by establishing…a library…on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions…to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.
2. Education of the public…leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices…
3. Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.
4. Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,…and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.”
New York chapter president Barbara Gittings noted that the word "variant" was used instead of "lesbian" in the mission statement, because "lesbian" was a word that had a very negative meaning in 1956.
It wasn’t until Homosexual (and Bisexual and Trans/Gender Non-Conforming) people finally heeded the call of Harvey Milk to "Come Out" even when difficult and started standing up and correcting the Myths + Stereotypes by publicly self-identify as Lesbian - actually using the Word - and by the example of their own lives show that the meaning the general public understood + universities + learned academics and doctors were teaching as fact, was a complete lie did the word “Lesbian” (and Gay which originally also had a sexual connotation of being a paid hustler and general low-down immoral slut) become the "respectable" words we think of today.
An example that people who shy away from the word Bisexual and try to twist and turn and rename themselves into "something more ‘respectable’ like … for example Lesbian + Gay" would do Very Well to Remember History and emulate what Lesbian Women and Gay Men did.
To quote bi writer Eponymous Fliponymous, ”The word is not the problem.”
“Homosex Changes: Race, Cultural Geography, and the Emergence of the Gay” by Kevin J. Mumford. 1996. American Quarterly.
SO it turns out, BLACK GAYS AND LESBIANS [Ed Note: and Bisexual + Trans], heavily influenced the “modern” GAY AND LESBIAN [Ed Note: and Bisexual + Trans] movements in such a way that previously PRIVATE (miscegenation balls) that were not just code for interracial sex but gender “inversion” (gay and lesbian behavior) PRIVATE IS POLITICAL…meaning the crafted narrative that I was made to believe my whole life about how “black men cant be gay” IS FALSE! The whole narrative of white men teaching black people homosexuality IS FALSE!
WOW…so many questions remain about how black gay, lesbian [Ed Note: and Bisexual] and Trans-folk get pushed, silenced and altogether left out of histories and narratives WE seem to be at the forefront of …
some of it our own doing and then others the doings of white people who think of our bodies and forget our minds…….hmmmmmm (via howtobeterrell)
Interesting Side Note: In her book “Freedom to love all: Homosexuality is not Un-African”, Nigerian bisexual activist Yemisi Ilesanmi makes a case for LGBT Rights as Human Rights while also debunk the myths surrounding homosexuality in Africa.