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The group Bi+ Pride Milwaukee began when Sarah Wallisch was searching for a way to connect to other bisexuals to discuss issues. "I took to the internet to find bisexual and pansexual groups. At the time, there was 521 in Madison – where I first heard the term 'non-monosexual' – but nothing based in Milwaukee."
A Bisexual support group, Bi Definition, had been formed in Milwaukee in 1995 when two Counseling Center of Milwaukee groups merged to create a "social, support an activist organization." But attendance and funding dwindled over the next decade, and by 2004, Bi Definition was out of business. For the next ten years, there was no bisexual support organization in Milwaukee.
It was an opportunity to be the change needed in the world. So in 2014, Sarah created the Bi+ Pride Milwaukee Facebook page so that bi+ people searching for connection could find their community. Within two years, their online community grew from 100 to 700 followers.
The organization really took off when Amy Luettgen found and joined the Facebook group in 2018. Sarah and Amy, along with several other passionate local activists, got together in 2018 to form a dedicated steering committee for a new Bisexual-awareness group, to fill a void left by the disbanding of the earlier Bi Definition group. Called Bi+ Pride Milwaukee, and using the Facebook discussion group as focal point, the group hosted a series of regular monthly events that brought people together from across the region.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic stalled their social schedule in 2020 and into 2021, and planning virtual events proved more difficult than expected, Bi+ Pride MKE is committed to their community.
"We know how important a sense of belonging is for bi+ people, and we hope to make that happen again soon," said Luettgen. "We're enjoying this rare moment for reflection."
Wallisch, agrees: "If you google 'bisexual Milwaukee,' Bi+ Pride MKE is pretty much it! Even if you go to the LGBT Center's website, and search 'bisexual,' you will only find one program. When people are looking for community, they want to engage with people who have some understanding of their experience. The first instinct for many LGBTQ folks is to check out the local LGBT center, so I think it's especially important for centers to offer programming."
With the COVID pandemic gradually receeding late in 2021, largely due to vaccinations, the group hopes to get the discussion group at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center started again, as it lifts restrictions and allows non-virtual meetings again.
While 'Bi+ Pride' does have a web site, it is primarily a placeholder; all activity is on their Community page on Facebook
In 2021, founder Sarah Wallisch and co-activist Amy Luettgen were interviewed by LGBT historian and Curator of the Wis LGBTQ History Project, Michail Takach. He wrote an extensive article about the group and Bi awareness as a result of that interview.
Credits: History on this group by Michail Takach.
Web site concept, contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: October-2021.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.