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Lani Ka'ahumanu
(? - living) Hawaii

Lani Ka'ahumanu

Activist, writer

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Ka'ahumanu, a pioneer as both a bisexual and native Hawaiian activist, is living proof that there are second, and even third, acts in American lives. She began her adulthood as a stay-at-home mom to two children during the sixties. Unhappy, she tried to find herself in fundamentalist Christianity, then realized that her true calling lay in living a full life as a woman, gay person, and activist.

Ka'ahumanu and her children moved to San Fransisco, where she became a member of the women's, peace, and gay rights movements and a recognized voice for lesbian mothers. She graduated in 1979 with honors from San Fransisco State, where she helped develop the women's studies program, which seemed to complete her journey.

But in the midst of what seemed like an already established career as an activist lesbian within the feminist movement, Ka'ahumanu fell in love with a man and declared her bisexuality. This led her to be ostracized from those inside both the gay and straight camps; bisexuality was simply not well understood. Ka'ahumanu was instrumental in changing that.

She founded BiPol, the nation's first bisexual political group, in 1980, and BiNet U.S.A., the first bisexual network, three years later. She also brought bisexuality to academic attention by co-editing Bi Any Other Name, an anthology of women's writing on bisexuality that is still a definitive volume on the subject. She won a major victory by getting "bi" added to the title of the 1993 March on Washington, at which she spoke.

She has since turned her efforts to women's sexuality and HIV education. She is the founder of the Bay Area Safer Sex Sluts, a performance troupe that addresses issues of safer sex, and has embraced a broad-based activism that works to see that all marginalized peoples are given a voice.

She travels the country giving lectures and workshops on many topics, including her journey to self-acceptance as bisexual, and safer sex. She is at work on two volumes of memoirs.

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