Alum Lani Ka’ahumanu, Bisexual Rights Pioneer, Helped Found SF State Women and Gender Studies Department

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Photo of Lani Ka’ahumanu marching in Pride Parade holding shield reading "Bi-Phobia"
Lani Ka'ahumanu marches in the 1984 San Francisco Pride Parade. Photo courtesy of Lani Ka’ahumanu.

THE BOLD ITALIC -- Lani Ka’ahumanu (born 1943) is a bisexual rights activist, poet, author and mother. She is considered one of the foremothers of the bisexual rights movement, which began in earnest in the 1980s. She originally came out as a lesbian and moved to San Francisco in 1974, leaving her two children in the care of her ex-husband. Ka’ahumanu later came out a second time as bisexual after falling in love with a man who also identified as bisexual. She helped found the San Francisco State University Women and Gender Studies Department.

Ka’ahumanu was the sole bisexual speaker at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, speaking last. Organizers forced her to cut her speech drastically short moments before she was due to go on, but her words echoed powerfully across the national mall: “It ain’t over till the bisexual speaks!”