Category: bi history

NOVEMBER 18: Lauren Jauregui comes out as bise…

365daysoflesbians:

On this day in 2016, Fifth Harmony’s
Lauren Jauregui came out as bisexual in an open letter to the then newly
elected President Donald Trump.

In addition to her open letter, Lauren Jauregui spoke on her coming out experience in an interview at 2017 Beauty Con (x).

Lauren was born on June 27, 1996
in Miami, Florida. After being featured on
The X-Factor as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony and becoming a
household name, she entered the realm of social activism and began speaking on
her experiences as a Cuban-American and as the daughter of immigrants. Since the
2016 election of Donald Trump, Lauren has written many open letters calling out
his perpetuation of xenophobia and white supremacy. The first of her open
letters was published on November 18, 2016 and was also the first instance
of Lauren commenting on her sexuality; she writes that she is a “bisexual
Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it.” Read the letter here!

Since coming out, Lauren has been
awarded “Celebrity of the Year” at the 2017 British LGBT Awards. She was also
featured on the Halsey track “Strangers” and was chosen for the feature
specifically for her bisexual identity. Billboard heralded the song as “a
long-overdue bisexual milestone in mainstream music” and Halsey herself said, “I just love that Lauren and I are just two women who have a mainstream
pop presence doing a love song for the LGBTQ community.”

-LC

NOVEMBER 17: Rebecca Walker (1969-)

365daysoflesbians:

Happy birthday to Rebecca Walker! The bisexual activist and feminist writer is most well-known for being the first person to coin the term “third wave feminism” in the late 1990s. 

Rebecca’s latest book is Enduring Violence: Everyday Life and Conflict in Eastern Sri Lanka, which was published in 2016 (x).

Rebecca Leventhal was born on
November 17, 1969 in Jackson, Mississippi. Her mother is none other than the
iconic Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and her father, Mel
Leventhal, is a Jewish American civil rights lawyer. When Rebecca was only 6-years-old,
her parents divorced. She would spend a majority of her childhood alternating
between living with her mother in San Francisco and her father in the Bronx in
New York City. At 15, she legally changed her last name to that of her mother –
Walker. She attended high school at The Urban School of San Francisco and
eventually graduated from Yale University in 1992.

1992 is also the year Rebecca
broke onto the mainstream’s radar with her article “Becoming the Third Wave” in
Ms. Magazine. In the article, she tackles the judicial system and the media’s
treatment of Anita Hill and declares that it is in fact time for a “third wave”
feminist movement. Rebecca writes, “To be a feminist is to integrate an
ideology of equality and female empowerment into the very fiber of life. It is
to search for personal clarity in the midst of systemic destruction, to join in
sisterhood with women when often we are divided, to understand power structures
with the intention of challenging them.” To date, she has written over 10
novels. Her 2001 autobiography was titled Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a
Shifting Self
.

Rebecca publicly identifies as
bisexual. She had a relationship with the fellow bisexual musician Meshell Ndegeocello,
whose son she also helped raise. In 2007, she had a son of her own with her
partner Choyin Rangdrol. Today, Rebecca travels around the country as a public
speaker and operates the non-profit organization the Third Wave Fund, which
encourages young women’s involvement in political and social activism.

-LC

NOVEMBER 1: Hannah Höch (1889-1978)

365daysoflesbians:

The German Dada artist and one of
the pioneers of the photomontage, Hannah Höch, was born on this day in 1889.

A 1926 self-portrait by artist Hannah Höch (x).

Hannah was born as Anna Therese
Johanne Höch in Gotha, Germany on November 1, 1889. Her family was of
working-class status and although Hannah received a short education at the
Gotha Höhere Töchterschule, she was eventually taken out of school in order to
help her mother care for her younger siblings. When her youngest sibling, a
sister named Marianne, was finally old enough to care for herself, Hannah was
able to return to school. This time she chose to attend the School of Applied
Arts in Berlin. Her main passion was painting and fine arts, but she studied
the more “practical” crafts of glassmaking and graphic design in order to
appease her father.

With the outbreak of World War I,
Hannah returned home from school and joined the Red Cross; however, not a year
later she moved back to Berlin and found herself in the midst of the wartime
Dada movement. She continued her studies at the School of Applied Arts and
created embroidery patterns for ladies’ magazines so that she could have a
steady income, but her real life was lived in the bars and nightclubs of the
city where she bounced ideas off the likes of iconic artists such as Kurt
Schwitters and Piet Mondrian. One of her most well-known contributions was that
of the photomontage, which is exemplified in her 1919 piece Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the
Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany
.

One of her most well-known pieces; Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Beer-Belly of the Weimar Republic, 1919, collage of pasted papers, 90 x 144 cm, Staatliche Museen, Berlin (x).

Hannah was known to have relationships with both men and women. She was only married once, to a man
named Kurt Matthies, but one of her longest-lasting relationships was with the
famous Dutch writer and linguist Mathilda Brugman. Although the relationship
lasted 9 years and the two women openly lived together in the city of Hague,
Hannah never spoke publicly about her sexuality or sexual identity. When the Nazis
rose to power in Germany, much of her art was censored or destroyed after being
labeled “degenerate art.” Despite the danger it put her in, Hannah continued to
create photomontages throughout World War II and until her death on May 31, 1978.

-LC

OCTOBER 24: Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008)

365daysoflesbians:

The renowned poet, literary
critic, and Native-American activist Paula Gunn Allen was born on this day in
1939. While she identified as a lesbian in her earlier years, by the end of her
life Paula was identifying as a “serial bisexual.”

Paula Gunn Allen photographed by Christopher Felver in 2007 (x).

Paula was born on October 24, 1939
in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She grew up in the small town of Cubero, New
Mexico, which was a Spanish-American land grant village that bordered the
Laguna Pueblo reservation. Although Paula was of varying descent with Laguna,
Sioux, Lebanese, and Scottish people all along her family line, she always most
identified as a Native-American woman and with the Laguna people. Growing up,
her father owned a small local store and her brother was a much beloved poet
and teacher in the Laguna Pueblo-Anishinaabe community. Together, the family
was well off enough to allow Paula to attend the University of Oregon for her
undergraduate and then later the University of New Mexico for her PhD.

After graduating from college,
Paula became a professor and a writer. She worked in the English department of
over 7 different premier universities throughout her lifetime, even becoming the
head of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center in the 1990s. As a writer, her
breakout work was The Sacred Hoop:
Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions
, which changed the
face of academia when it was published in 1986. By combining Native-American with feminist theory, Paula brought a new radical perspective to both areas
of study; The Sacred Hoop is still
read in college classrooms today. During her life, Paula was also a fiction
writer and published over 15 novels, short stories, and poetry collections.

Although she was not as much of a
vocal member of the LGBT community during her younger years, Paula Gunn Allen
would later recount her experiences of sexuality and of struggling to find a
label that fit her. She began her journey by identifying as a lesbian, but
would later discover that she was bisexual. She eventually married twice and
had two children who survived her at the time of her death on May 29, 2008.

-LC

OCTOBER 23: Lilyan Tashman (1896-1934)

365daysoflesbians:

Film icon Lilyan Tashman was born
on this day in 1896. The bisexual American actress who rocked Vaudeville,
Broadway, and the silver screen throughout her lifetime is most well-known
today for her roles in Millie, Girls About Town, and So This is Paris.

image

Publicity photo of Lilyan Tashman from Stars of the Photoplay (x).

Lilyan Tashman was born to a
working-class Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York on October 23, 1896. She was
the tenth and youngest child to be born to her immigrant mother and father, who
had been born in Germany and Poland respectively. She attended Girl’s High
School and worked as a fashion and figure drawing model throughout her teen
years to help support the family. Her modeling career eventually blossomed into
a Vaudeville career and by 1914 she was a part of a successful travelling
troupe. Performing became cemented as Lilyan’s career when she was picked up to
join the Ziegfeld Follies in 1916.

Her stint with the Ziegfeld
Follies, although only lasting two years, allowed Lilyan to get a supporting
role in the hit musical The Gold Diggers.
She made her film debut in 1921 with the small film Experience, but after her attempt at leaping from the stage to the
silver screen wasn’t going the way she planned, Lilyan moved across the county
to California. Finally in Hollywood, her career took off; she appeared in five
films in just the course of one year and eventually signed a contract with
Paramount Pictures. Starring in over 66 films during her career, she became
known to audiences for her roles as the “other woman” or the seductive “villainess.”

image

Today, many consider Lilyan to
have been a bisexual figure. Her first husband was a colleague from her
Vaudeville days named Al Lee. The two were married in 1914, but soon divorced
in 1921. Her second husband was longtime friend and fellow actor Edmund Lowe.
The two lived together in their lavish Beverly Hills mansion called Lilowe,
threw extravagant parties, and were touted by the media as being Hollywood’s
new darling “it” couple; however, Edmund was a gay man and many believe their
marriage to have been one of convenience. Lilyan herself was rumored to have
had several trysts with women and even an intense relationship with Greta
Garbo
, which left Lilyan heartbroken after Greta called it off. There is even a legend that Lilyan was almost charged with assault (for the SECOND time) after she
caught the actress Constance Bennett in a compromising position with her
girlfriend at the time.

Despite her vitality and
scrappiness, Lilyan tragically contracted abdominal cancer at the young age of
36. She would film five more films during the last years of her life, Frankie and Johnny being the last time
America would ever see her on film. After entering Doctor’s Hospital on March 21,
1934, Lilyan passed away from cancer at the age of 37. Her funeral at the New
York City synagogue Temple Emanu-El saw over 10,000 mourners, fans, and fellow
Hollywood elite in attendance.

-LC

OCTOBER 19: Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950…

365daysoflesbians:

The famous American poet and
playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay passed away on this day in 1950. Only the
third woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, she is believed to
have been an early bisexual icon for her affairs with both men and
women.

Edna St. Vincent Millay in Mamaroneck, NY, 1914, by Arnold Genthe (x).

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born
on February 22, 1892 in Rockland, Maine. Her family was of modest means, her
father being a schoolteacher and her mother a nurse. Her middle name St.
Vincent was derived from the hospital in New York City, where her uncle’s life
had been miraculously saved not long before her birth. Edna would later write
of her childhood and say that she and her family lived “between the mountains
and the sea where baskets of apples and drying herbs on the porch mingled their
scents with those of the neighboring pine woods.” After her parents divorced,
Edna’s mother traveled around Maine with she and her sisters never staying in
one place too long. Despite her unconventional education,
Edna was eventually awarded a scholarship to Vassar College.

It was at Vassar where her affairs
with other women began, most notably with the English actress Edith Wynne
Matthison, who was over twice Edna’s age. After graduating in 1917, she moved
to New York City and lived in the bohemian neighborhood of Greenwich Village where she built a life for herself that she would later describe as having been “very, very
poor and very, very merry.” Although poetry was her main aim, Edna began seeing
much success as a playwright; she had lucrative careers with both the
Provincetown Players and the Theater Guild. Many of her plays and poems are now
legendary for their lesbian subtext, such as “The Lamp and the Bell,” Aria da Capo, and “Renascence.” She
would earn her spot in the history textbooks in 1923 after winning the Pulitzer
Prize for Poetry for her piece “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver,” becoming
just the third woman to ever be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

One of Edna’s greatest loves was
the talented sculptor and famous lesbian expat Thelma Wood, who she met after
moving to Paris in January of 1921. Her relationships with men included a 26-year
long marriage to lawyer and war correspondent Eugen Jan Boissevain, as well as
a lengthy affair with the poet George Dillon. During World War I, Edna was a
staunch pacifist and contributed to the active anti-war campaign in her literary
circle; however, she changed her position with the dawn of World War II and
supported the Allied Forces. She made literary history once again in 1943 when
she became the second woman to every be awarded the Frost Award.

Edna photographed laughing with her friends in Paris, including her lover Thelma Wood (x).

Following an accident where she
fell down the stairs in her home, Edna suffered a heart attack and passed away
on October 19, 1950 at the age of 58. She was buried next to her husband Eugen,
who had passed away only a year earlier. Her estate and bisexual legacy was
eventually restored and brought to prominence in the literary canon thanks to the
work of her sister Norma, biographer Nancy Millford, and fellow Pulitzer Prize
winning poet and wlw Mary Oliver.

-LC

OCTOBER 5: Lani Ka’ahumanu (1943-)

365daysoflesbians:

Happy 74th birthday to Lani Ka’ahumanu! The bisexual activist, editor of Bi Any
Other Name
, and the only bisexual speaker to speak at the 1993 March on
Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation
was born on this
day in 1943.

Lani photographed for The Out Words Archive (x). 

Lani was born on October 5, 1943 in
Edmonton, Canada to a white mother and a Japanese father. She grew up to marry her childhood sweetheart, a man with whom
she had two children. Lani describes herself in the 1960s as having been “a full-time
suburban housewife, Little League mom, and Another Mother for Peace.” That all
changed in 1974 when Lani and her husband divorced and she left the
suburbs for San Francisco, California. In those first few years in San Francisco,
she came out as a lesbian, became the first member of her family to graduate
from college, and became active in the social justice movements of the day. In
1980, her life changed once again when she realized she was bisexual and came
out for a second time.

Lani marching in San Francisco’s 1984 Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade holding signs that read “Biphobia Shield” and “Bi and Large” (x).

During the 1980s, Lani started
creating a substantial bisexual community from the ground up with organizations
such as BiPOL, BiNet USA and the San Francisco Bay Area Bisexual Network
(BABN). In 1991, she co-edited the groundbreaking bisexual anthology Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out
along with Loraine Hutchins, and in 1993 she led a successful campaign to get
bisexual people included in the title of the March on Washington for Lesbian,
Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, of which she was also the only bisexual
activist to speak. Lani was the very first bisexual person to be invited
to join  the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force board of directors. She is currently a member of the editorial board
for The Journal of Bisexuality and is working on her next two books, My Grassroots Are Showing: Stories,
Speeches, and Special Affections
and Passing
For Other: Primal Creams and Forbidden Dreams – Poetry, Prose, and Performance
Pieces.

-LC

SEPTEMBER 29: Halsey (1994-)

365daysoflesbians:

After the music video for “Ghost”
dropped in the summer of 2015, Halsey shot onto every wlw’s radar. Today, the
bisexual pop icon turns 23-years-old. Happy birthday Halsey!!

image

The second single from Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom album, “Strangers,” featuring fellow bisexual singer Lauren Jauregui, has also been bopped to by every wlw with an internet connection since its release in May of this year (x).

Ashley Nicolette Frangipane was
born on September 29, 1994 in Clark, New Jersey. She was musically inclined
from a very young age and played violin, viola, cello, and guitar by the time
she was 14-years-old. When she was 17, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after
a suicide attempt and a 17-day stint in a psychiatric hospital. Early on in her
career, there was a quote floating around claiming Halsey called herself a “tri-bi”
– a bisexual, biracial, and bipolar woman, but she has since debunked such
claims. After falling in with a boyfriend addicted to heroin and dropping out
of college, Halsey’s parents kicked her out of the house and she was left
floating in and out of friend’s basements. She had been writing poems and songs
ever since she was a child and after performing at a small party one night, she
was approached by a producer. The song “Ghost” eventually blew up on SoundCloud
and led Ashley Frangipane into the studio and into a new life as Halsey.

The second music video released for the song “Ghost” shows Halsey with a female love interest.

She chose the name Halsey as a stage name because it was an anagram of the name Ashley, as well as the fact
that much of her street kid days were spent on Halsey Street station in
Brooklyn. In 2014, she began touring with big names such as The Kooks and
Imagine Dragons and released her very first E.P., Room 93. During the months leading up to the release of her first
album, Badlands, Halsey’s internet
fandom exploded and interest in her music was at an all-time high. While the
song “Ghost” was originally written about an ex-boyfriend and an early music
video featured Halsey with a male love interest, a newer music video showing
Halsey with a woman was released in June of 2015 and garnered her an entire new
fanbase of young wlw. This year her second album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, was released and the Hopeless Fountain
Kingdom World Tour begins TODAY! Have you gotten your tickets yet? Which Halsey song is your favorite?

-LC

SEPTEMBER 27: Carrie Brownstein (1974-)

365daysoflesbians:

Happy birthday to Carrie Brownstein!
The bisexual actress, comedian, and musician turns 43-years-old today. 

image

Carrie’s autobiography, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, was published in October of 2015 (x).

Carrie Rachel Brownstein was born
on September 27, 1974 in Seattle, Washington but was raised in the town of
Redmond, Washington. She was born into a middle-class Jewish family and after
her parents divorced when she was 14, Carrie was raised by her father. She
began playing guitar at the age of 15 and received lessons from the legendary
Jeremy Enigk. She would go on to attend college at Evergreen State College and
receive her degree in sociolinguists.

It was while attending Evergreen
State College that Carrie met her eventual bandmates and fellow riot grrrls, Corin Tucker, Kathleen Hanna, Tobi
Vail, and Becca Albee. Soon, the band Excuse 17 was formed and Carrie began to rise
to the top of the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s. She and Corin started the
band Sleater-Kinney as a side project at first, but by 1996, Janet Weiss had
joined the band and Sleater-Kinney was catapulting Carrie to music icon status.
After initially going on hiatus in 2006, Sleater-Kinney released a comeback album in 2015
and today the band has released 10 albums. In 2011, Carrie burst onto the
mainstream media radar with her sketch comedy show Portlandia whose 8th series is to debut in 2018.

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Carrie Brownstein with her Sleater-Kinney bandmates Janet Weiss and Corin Tucker photographed backstage at The Fillmore in San Francisco, September 23rd, 2002 (x).

Carrie was horrifically outed to
her family by an article in Spin Magazine during her Sleater-Kinney days which discussed her romantic relationship with her band mate Corin Tucker. She
would later say, “The ground was pulled out from underneath me… my dad did
not know that Corin and I had ever dated, or that I even dated girls.“ In
an interview released in 2010, she publicly identified herself as bisexual by
saying “It’s weird, because no one’s actually ever asked me. People just always
assume, like, you’re this or that. It’s like, ‘OK. I’m bisexual. Just ask.”

-LC

SEPTEMBER 23: Bisexual Visibility Day (2017)

365daysoflesbians:

Happy Bisexual Visibility Day, everyone!! Although we are called 365 Days of Lesbians, we have also covered countless bisexual women who have lived throughout history on this blog and work hard to be allies to our fellow wlw sisters! 

Source: (x)

Check out some of the bisexual figures and organizations we have covered throughout 2017: Yona Wallach, the bi Israeli poet, rap rockstar Princess Nokia, German burlesque performer Antia Berber, the iconic actress Tallulah Bankhead, the trailblazing poet June Jordan, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Trans activist and Stonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera,  the anthology book series Bi Any Other Name, the Boston-based magazine Bi Women’s Quarterly, and many more! You can go through our bisexuality tag to find more. 

-LC