A few days short of two months after I'd written in to the London Bisexual Group in response to the 'Double Trouble' article published in The Guardian in February 1986, I got a reply.
This was partly down to the delays inherent in using a mail-forwarding service, British Monomarks, and the way that the group met once a week, but mostly because I wasn't the only one…
London Bisexual Group
BM BI, London WC1N 3XX
Thank you for your enquiry & for your SAE.
Sorry you have had to wait a long time for a reply. We have had an enormous number of letters to answer recently in response to the Guardian article and we have not been able to do this as quickly as we would have liked.
We are enclosing information about LBG and the latest issue of Bi-Monthly magazine
We hope you find something here to interest you sufficiently to support us by sending 60p to cover the cost or better still to inspire you to take out a subscription as well.
It should be clarified that the Fourth National Conference mentioned inside the back cover will be a conference for women and men,This one was explicitly organised by a group of women, so presumably some people thought that it was just for women. focusing both on our personal experiences of and the political implications of Bisexuality.
The previous conferences were fun, supportive and stimulating – we hope you will join us at this one.
You may be interested to have the names of two contacts, who live in your area.
[Names and addresses deleted]
I remember being somewhat horrified at the last bit: was my name and address going to be given to random people who wrote in?? (Why yes, this was decades before the GDPR was a thing.) At the time, I was living at my mother's home and not out to her about anything in relation to my sexuality, seeing it as literally none of her business.
I know I did meet someone locally via Bi-Monthly a year or so year later, but I can't remember if it was one of these two and I don't know if they'd given permission for this or not. I have a slight memory that whoever it was got in touch with me, so perhaps my details were indeed given out.
A couple of months later, I was effectively living in London and regularly going to the..
London Bisexual Group
THE LONDON BISEXUAL GROUP exists to provide social contact and support for women and men who think of themselves as being open to sexual and/or emotional relationships with both sexes.Yes, I know that's rather gender binary: it was the 1980s.. It was set up in the summer of 1981 and has been meeting regularly each week since September of that year,I still date the history of the UK bi community from September, because that's when the public meetings of the LBG started – I think the earlier meetings were of a group of men that had met at … Continue reading welcoming those who seek an alternative to exclusively heterosexual or homosexual circles.
There have been many thousands of enquiries about the group from all over the country,Mostly by phone, I believe – the Double Trouble article talks about David getting over 5,000 calls over five years. and many hundreds of people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds have attended meetings. Although such a diverse group will embrace all political persuasions and have no particular line of its own, those most actively involved intend it to play a positive part in the struggle for lesbian and gay rights, as well as contribution to a wider understanding of human sexuality.
In addition to providing a meeting place, there is usually a personal group where people can share their feelings about sexuality, and there are separate discussions on topics such as monogamy, bisexual lifestyles, sexism, sexual fantasies, transvestism, and relationships with parents and children. Talks by guest speakers, films or workshops such as massage, self-defence, or non-competitive games are arranged and members of the group have led discussions on bisexuality for lesbian and gay groups and also as part of social work courses.
Group activities have included theatre trips, meals, parties, swimming, walks , and telephone counselling sessions with the help of Gay Switchboard.At the time, what would soon be 'London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard' insisted that you had to identify as lesbian or gay before you could volunteer on it. There are within the group a number of volunteer counsellors and several professional psychologists and psychotherapists who are willing to make themselves available to members seeking help beyond the scope of the weekly meetings.
The group has sponsored and organised a number of annual conferences on the Politics of Bisexuality both in London and in Edinburgh.
Bi-Monthly, the magazine for bisexuals is published six times a year, and is part-financed by the group. Aimed at national readership it is the only publication of its kind in Europe. There are several Women's Bisexual Groups in London,One 'closed', i.e. attendance was restricted to women who'd gone to the first one or a similar 'introduction' meeting, and one 'open' that – at that point – met at London's Drill Hall … Continue reading in addition to local groups in Brighton, Edinburgh, Tyneside and Glasgow.
The 'Radical Lesbian/Gay-Identified Bisexual Network' is a national grouping working for radical change in society. A manifesto has been produced by its members, who are active in many fields.
THE LONDON BISEXUAL GROUP has become an umbrella organisation linking the various groups throughout the country.
Meetings are held every Monday at 8pm at 'The Fallen Angel', a friendly mixed brasserie type pub at 65 Graham Street, N1., near Angel tube.
Contact by post:
London, WC1N 3XX
by phone: [David Burkle's then phone number]
[David Smith's then phone number]
or women only: [blank on the one sent to me, because I'm not a woman..]
When I scan the copies of Bi-Monthly (and redact the loads of names in them) I'll link to the issue that was also sent with these.
I subscribed to Bi-Monthly and went to the Fourth National Bisexual Conference, or what we'd now call BiCon 4 or BiCon 1986.
|↑1||This one was explicitly organised by a group of women, so presumably some people thought that it was just for women.|
|↑2||Yes, I know that's rather gender binary: it was the 1980s..|
|↑3||I still date the history of the UK bi community from September, because that's when the public meetings of the LBG started – I think the earlier meetings were of a group of men that had met at an Anti-Sexist Men's conference and I'm not sure if there were any women involved. Anyone know?|
|↑4||Mostly by phone, I believe – the Double Trouble article talks about David getting over 5,000 calls over five years.|
|↑5||At the time, what would soon be 'London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard' insisted that you had to identify as lesbian or gay before you could volunteer on it.|
|↑6||One 'closed', i.e. attendance was restricted to women who'd gone to the first one or a similar 'introduction' meeting, and one 'open' that – at that point – met at London's Drill Hall theatre.|