Bisexual Forum Is Founded Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

Bisexual researcher and medical doctor Fritz Klein created the Bisexual Forum as a support and discussion group that also helped his research into the life experiences of bisexuals. The forum was one of the first groups for bisexuals in the United States, opening the door for bisexuals in the closet.

Summary of Event

In many ways, the bisexual movement’s history mirrors that of the gay and lesbian rights movement, but on a smaller scale. Few homosexual or bisexual communities existed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Fifty years later, homophile groups such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) began to develop in the United States, but there were no organizations devoted exclusively to bisexuals. [kw]Bisexual Forum Is Founded (1974) Bisexual Forum [c]Organizations and institutions;1974: Bisexual Forum Is Founded[1020] Klein, Fritz Mishaan, Chuck

Indeed, just as gays and lesbians felt compelled to conceal their identities, even from friends involved with other counterculture movements, so too did bisexuals feel obligated to keep their bisexuality secret. Though bisexuals often joined groups such as Mattachine or DOB, they did so identifying as gays or lesbians. It was assumed by many gays and lesbians that bisexuals could pass as straight and “hide” behind their straightness, and heterosexuals generally assumed the opposite: that bisexuals were actually homosexuals.

The gay and lesbian liberation movement proved to be ideal for bisexuals wanting to express their own unique sexuality and for placing bisexuality in the larger framework of gay, lesbian, and transgender issues. Much activity in the gay rights movement of the late 1960’s and early to mid-1970’s flourished in cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. College and university towns also had some draw, especially those that had connections to the counterculture movement of the era. For example, the Sexual Freedom League at the University of California, Berkeley, hosted orgies for several years. These movements and communities encouraged sexual fluidity, and thus welcomed bisexuals. The early bisexual movement flourished, though, when gays and lesbians began to position themselves as strictly gay or lesbian. Bisexuality was often considered a defection from homosexuality, and bisexuals who needed a group identity initially had few resources because of the stigma.

Fritz Klein, who earned his medical degree in Switzerland in 1971 and became a board certified psychiatrist in 1976, created the Bisexual Forum in 1974. (Other sources have listed the founding as 1975, but Klein has confirmed that the correct year is 1974.) Klein, now considered a pioneer of the bisexual movement, found it difficult to locate resources on bisexuality for his research, so he founded the group as a discussion and support group and also as an aid to his research.

Meetings, held weekly at Klein’s home on East 84th Street in New York City, were led most often by Chuck Mishaan, and, as was the case with most bisexual groups at the time, the Bisexual Forum focused primarily on bisexual married men. It would be some years before bisexual women gained ground with their own movement specific to women, or before bisexual groups of both genders began to form. An earlier group had formed, however, during the 1970’s. The National Bisexual Liberation Group was founded in 1972, also in New York City.

Significance

Klein’s book, The Bisexual Option: A Concept of One-Hundred Percent Intimacy Bisexual Option, The (Klein) (1978), represented groundbreaking research into bisexuality and presented the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid. Klein Sexual Orientation Grid Like Alfred Kinsey’s famous scale, Klein’s grid identifies an individual’s behaviors as homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual. Klein’s grid, however, also allows for change in an individual over time and suggests that a person can be different sexualities at different times in their life.

As the HIV-AIDS epidemic swept into the United States in the early 1980’s, and gay and bisexual men found themselves unfairly vilified and inaccurately blamed for spreading the disease to the mainstream population, bisexual groups turned to supporting those with HIV-AIDS. The Bisexual Forum in New York stopped meeting in 1982, but the forum’s founder went on to found a bisexual forum in San Diego that same year, which is still in existence. Bisexual Forum

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Serena, ed. Women and Bisexuality: A Global Perspective. New York: Haworth Press, 2003.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Beemyn, Brett. Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories. New York: Routledge, 1997.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">_______. “The Silence Is Broken: A History of the First Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Student Groups.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12, no. 2 (2003): 205-223.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Bisexual Foundation. http://www.bisexual.org.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Fox, Ronald C., ed. Current Research on Bisexuality. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2004.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Haeberle, Erwin J., and Rolf Gindorf. Bisexualities: The Ideology and Practice of Sexual Contact with Both Men and Women. New York: Continuum, 1998.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Klein, Fritz. The Bisexual Option: A Concept of One-Hundred Percent Intimacy. 2d ed. Binghamton, N.Y.: Haworth Press, 1993.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Mishaan, Chuck. “The Bisexual Scene in New York City.” Journal of Homosexuality 11, nos. 1/2 (December, 1985): 223-226.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Rust, Paula C. Rodríguez, ed. Bisexuality in the United States: A Social Science Reader. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Suresha, Ron Jackson, and Pete Chvany, eds. Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2005.

May 6, 1868: Kertbeny Coins the Terms “Homosexual” and “Heterosexual”

1905: Freud Rejects Third-Sex Theory

June 27-July 2, 1969: Stonewall Rebellion Ignites Modern Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement

June, 1990: BiNet USA Is Formed

March-April, 1993: Battelle Sex Study Prompts Conservative Backlash

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