Loraine Hutchins was born in the late 1940s in Washington, DC. She graduated with a degree in English and American Literature in 1970 from Shimer College in Mt. Carroll, IL. Some 30 years later, Lorraine earned her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, with a dissertation, Erotic Rites, that explored the relationship between sexuality and spirituality.
Growing up during the 1960s and eventually getting involved in both the gay rights and women’s movements, she realized she herself was bisexual – and as such, was profoundly unwelcome in both movements that she had become passionate about. She set out to create the first-ever safe space in both movements for bisexual folks. She co-founded Bi-Net USA to spread bisexual awareness, share resources, and build community, served on BiNet’s board of directors, and spearheaded the foundation of a direct-action group called the Alliance of Multi-Cultural Bisexuals (AMBi). In 1993, she led BiNet’s media campaign for the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equal Rights, and in 1998, she became the first bisexual grand marshall for the Washington DC Pride Parade, literally leading the charge for equality and bi-visibility.
In 1991 Loraine co-edited (with OUTWORDS interviewee Lani Ka’ahumanu) Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out. She has since published many articles and book chapters. In 2011, she co-edited her second anthology: Sexuality, Religion and the Sacred: Bisexual, Pansexual and Polysexual Perspectives. In September, 2013, the Obama Administration invited Loraine and 32 other bisexual activists to a White House roundtable to discuss pressing issues, such as domestic violence, within the bisexual community.
A fourth-generation Washingtonian, Loraine has spent her life fighting for erotic, economic, and environmental justice. Her efforts has been recognized by the Bilerico Project, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and the Rainbow History Project of Washington DC.
One of Loraine’s most iconic photos shows her arriving at the 1986 Washington DC Pride Parade on her ‘bi-cycle’, dressed as Wonder Woman, with a very visible dildo in her white tights. More than 30 years later, Loraine makes no bones about the fact that she often feels tired and frustrated by the uphill battle for bisexual visibility and inclusion. But she also shows no signs of quitting.
1920s wedding portrait of Loraine’s maternal grandmother, Lucile Knapp Reese, who picketed the White House for women’s suffrage in 1914. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine at 4-years-old. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine and her sister Becky (left) dressed as “Little Women” for a 4th of July parade, Takuma Pask, Maryland, early 1960s. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.High school photo of Loraine, 1965. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Clipping from the Montgomery Blair High School student newspaper featuring Loraine with fellow students in Silver Spring, Maryland, who participated in a racial understanding and dialogue exchange with a Washington D.C. inner city school, 1966. The student newspaper “Silver Chips” was edited by Loraine and she published the word “homosexual” in an issue that was censored with all printed copies being seized. The school principal told her, “high school students shouldn’t be using that word, stop it.” They distributed it anyway. Loraine shares, “One of my early journalistic activism lessons in speaking truth to power!!!!” Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Engagement photo of Loraine “to be married (never did),” 1969. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine with a client at the Washington D.C. Runaway House in 1976. Loraine worked during the 70s as a counselor serving young people who’d run away from home and gotten caught up in the juvenile justice system. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine and friend shopping in the Adams Morgan neighborhood at the local food cooperative, Fields of Plenty, which she helped fund with a community business loan fund, Washington D.C., 1977. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine Hutchins family L-R: Adele Hutchins, her ma; Lucile Reese, her maternal grandma, and Thomas Hutchins, her dad. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine Hutchins photographed for National Coming Out Day, 1992. Photo credit: Douglas William Neal. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine and bi activist ABilly Jones-Hennin, Washington D.C., April 2015. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine Hutchins and Robyn Ochs. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine with presenters at a Bisexual People of Color (BIPOC) event at the Human Rights Campaign building, 2015. L-R: Loraine, Faith Cheltenham, long-time president of BiNet USA; Herukhuti, bi scholar/sex educator who co-edited a book on spirituality and bisexuality with Loraine; Apphia Kumar, bi activist in NYC; ABilly Jones-Hennin; and Penelope Williams, bi social worker in NYC. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine performs the closing ceremony of the third annual Celebrate Bisexuality Week at the White House, instituted by the Obama Administration, Sept. 2016. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine and Micai Newsome, a favorite student, at Montgomery College where Loraine teaches interdisciplinary sexuality studies, Fall semester 2016. They were hosting a New Students Welcome Fair table focused on teaching students, “What consent is … .” Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Photos of four different book covers for “Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out” — the original publication cover, date 1991 (still in print now); the red and black one published by The Advocate, during the late 90s (“we hated it because it tends to perpetuate the stereotypes about bisexuals that we’re only attracted to two genders and into three-ways — only some are, not all”); the new 25thanniversary edition from Riverdale Avenue Books, released in 2016; and the Chinese cover designed by Business Week in Taiwan, which distributes this Mandarin copy. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.Loraine colors her hair with the colors of the bi flag: pink, purple, and blue. Photo courtesy of Loraine Hutchins.
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