"The bisexual movement has arrived at a new level of maturity." -- Wayne Bryant
Bisexuals Invade Boston - City Rejoices
Compiled by ATM staff from various sources, including the Bisexual Resource Center and activist Lani Ka'ahumanu
[Boston, MA] -- More than 900 bisexual activists from around the world gathered to meet, organize, and rejoice at the Fifth International Conference on Bisexuality.
It was the biggest and most international conference yet to date, with bi activists from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
"This conference will be seen as a watershed in the world bisexual movement," said Wayne Bryant, primary organizer from the Bisexual Resources Center. "We're seeing unprecedented interest in understanding bisexuality in a serious multicultural fashion. The bisexual movement has arrived at a new level of maturity. From here on, we'll begin to see large-scale regional conferences held in conjunction with the international conferences to accommodate the rapidly increasing global demand."
Groups from Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, and many other cities are expected to host regional bi gatherings between the bi-yearly International Conferences.
The three-day gathering reached far beyond Harvard University's conference space, as print, radio, and television media from the United States and around the world covered the conference, including a live broadcast of Houston's After Hours radio show. And look for footage shot throughout the weekend in director Elaine Holliman's upcoming movie, Gone Straight -- to Hell.
Not bad for an idea about a national network that started with a local conference -- come full circle in Boston in only 10 years.
According to Bay Area Bi Political Action Group (BiPOL) activist Lani Ka'ahumanu: "Ten years ago BiPOL stalwarts Autumn Courtney and I sat with yet another huge shopping bag of mail sent by people from around the U.S.A. who had answered the call of a flyer 'Are we ready for a National Bisexual Network?' This flyer was produced by the Boston Bisexual Women's Network, who were organizing a bisexual contingent for the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
"BiPOL handled the tremendous and favorable response to the flyer. The mail spilled off the table. We tallied which states had responded, created regions, copied, cut and pasted responses into a 'newsletter' which we enclosed with an update. After several months and more than 300 hundred letters, we decided BiPOL would sponsor a conference in June 1990.
"Our initial vision was to host the first International Bisexual Conference -- we had stationery printed and mailed out the call. We realized very quickly that our well-intentioned international vision did not have the resources to bring together an international body of bisexuals that was inclusive of people and countries other than the U.S.A., and maybe Canada and Europe. The vision gave way to the realities of communication, language and access among other things. We scaled back to what we felt was a more honest effort -- the first National Bisexual Conference."
Eight short years later, the International Conference is truly international in scope.
"The marked success of the conference's outreach efforts is expected to strengthen the multicultual nature of future bisexual events," conference and Bisexual Resource Center organizer Lisa Sheehy said. "We hope to support our sister communities in Latin America as they hold similar events, and to strengthen the cultural diversity of our own program."
The BRC is in the process of organizing and archiving the conference's proceedings for other bi-conference planners. More information can be found at http://www.biresource.org. The Sixth International Bisexual Conference is set to be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2000, and the seventh will be in 2002 in Sydney, Australia.
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