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.