From Such Humble Beginnings

David Tiktin

When asked to write "one" positive experience about amBi, it is not an easy task. I could easily name dozens, maybe hundreds! I'm almost at a loss where to begin. So..... I'll begin at the beginning!

I count myself very fortunate to be among the original founding members of amBi. It began as just a group of 5 or 6 of us hanging out once a month at a Venice, CA coffeehouse (though full disclosure: I wasn't at the first meeting, but I was there by meeting #2 or 3, and never looked back!).

This was about 2006-07, and at that point, the Los Angeles bi community --- what there was of one --- was quite dormant. There had been a few active organizations in the late '90s and early 2000s, but by this point, the only bi-focused community existed on some online forums.

I had been friends with Mimi Hoang for a number of years, and she and I had both been involved in several prior bi organizations. She told me of her plans to form a new group----one meant to move the bi community offline into real life, full of energetic people who wanted to hang out, socialize, and have fun, and most importantly---be SEEN by the world as a viable, cool, energetic community that people would want to be a part of! That was amBi's mission then, and it remains the same today.

Until amBi, my world was divided into gay and straight. Though I could (and still can) comfortably navigate both of those communities, I could never feel 100% me. The ability to hang with others and completely be myself is one of the most liberating things I ever experienced. Only in amBi is the gender of whomever I might be dating at the time irrelevant. I never have to "explain" my identity, since I am with people who "get it." The amazing friendships I made within amBi, which still exist to this day, and the wonderful experiences have been such a foundation to me! I have never had so much fun and had so much support. I feel like I've been a part of helping build a community where one was sorely needed!

To see the group blossom from a little group of five to well over a thousand members with chapters in multiple cities is something I couldn't have imagined eight years ago! To see the genuine excitement of people who watch our group march in Pride parades proves to me that we're more than just a cool, fun social group (though we ARE that!). We are a diverse, welcoming community that shows the world we bisexuals are real, we exist, we show up, and we're awesome. For those who aren't bi, we're changing hearts and minds. For those who are bi, we're changing lives!

Not a bad journey from a Venice coffeehouse. And the journey's still barely begun! And THAT is an amBi experience I wouldn't trade for the world!

- David
Los Angeles Chapter