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BECAUSE (Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting, Supportive Experience) is an annual, national conference for the bisexual community and other bi+ people that takes place in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. It was founded in 1992. It has been organized by the Bisexual Organizing Project since 1999. The conference is "dedicated to building an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community." It is the longest-running and largest conference for bi+ people in the United States.
In 1991, the Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council (GLCAC) published a needs assessment for bisexuality in the Twin Cities. One of the needs identified in the study was more community events. As a result, the Bisexual Connection (Minnesota) sponsored the creation of BECAUSE, which stands for Bisexual Empowerment Conference: A Uniting, Supportive Experience.
The first BECAUSE was held in February 1992 in Minneapolis. The planning committee consisted of eight people. Only approximately four others preregistered. On the day of the conference, approximately 120 people showed up. The speakers included Lani Ka'ahumanu, co-editor of Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out.
The conference continued annually until it took a three-year break starting in 2005. In 2008, the first year the conference returned, only around 80 people attended. Funding more than quadrupled between 2008 and 2009. In 2009, over 300 people attended.
On June 4, 2014, Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton issued a written proclamation declaring, "Bisexual Empowerment Conference, A Uniting, Supportive Experience (BECAUSE) is the largest and longest-running conference on bisexuality in the nation" and "the only annual conference on bisexuality in the United States." As a result, he declared June 6-8, 2014, Bisexual Empowerment Days in the State of Minnesota. Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges declared June 7, 2014, to be Bisexual Empowerment Day in the City Of Minneapolis. Approximately 200 people attended that year.
Conferences (partial list)
- February 1992. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Approximately 120 attendees.
- 1999. Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- 2008. Approximately 80 attendees.
- 2009. Approximately 300 attendees.
- June 6-8, 2014. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Approximately 200 attendees.
- April 17-19, 2015.
- April 20-22, 2016. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- November 10-12, 2017. Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- October 12-14, 2018. Wellstone Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- October 11-13, 2019. Wellstone Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- October 2-4, 2020. Wellstone Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Bisexual Organizing Project
The Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) was founded in 1999 and is the organizer of BECAUSE. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Minnesota. Its mission is to "Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice."
BOP organizes a number of bisexual pride events in addition to BECAUSE. BOP has a contingent in Twin Cities Pride. It opened a bisexual community center in South Minneapolis Pride in 2002 (which has since closed). It organized the 8th International Conference on Bisexuality at the University of Minnesota in 2004. Since 2017, a burlesque and variety show called Bi-Lesque has been organized by BOP to help fund BOP and its programs.
Following the 1991 needs assessment, BOP has published a bisexual needs assessment every 10 years. The 2001 Bisexual Social and Community Needs Assessment was published by BOP, OutFront Minnesota, and the University Of Minnesota. The Bisexual Community Needs Assessment 2012 was published by BOP partnering with OutFront Minnesota, the PFund Foundation, and the Gender and Sexuality Student Services Office (GSSSO) at the Metropolitan State University. Its main findings were that the bisexual community needed "greater meaningful inclusion in 'LGBT' organizations" and "to build a more robust bisexual community."
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- "BECAUSE Conference April 17 - 19, 2015" (Press release). Bisexual Organizing Project. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
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- Malik, Taimur Rashid (25 May 2001). Bisexual Social & Community Needs Assessment (Report). OutFront Minnesota; Bisexual Organizing Project; University of Minnesota. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
- Burleson, William E. (April 2013). Bisexual Community Needs Assessment 2012. Bisexual Organizing Project. ISBN 978-1484174838. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
- Beach, Lauren B. (2013). "Bisexual Organizing Project's BECAUSE Conference Builds Community, Inspires Activism, Changes Lives". National LGBTQ Taskforce. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
- Iantaffi, Alex (10 September 2015). "Introduction to Special Section on BiReConUSA 2013: BECAUSE Research Matters". Journal of Bisexuality. 15 (3): 367–368. doi:10.1080/15299716.2015.1069648.