About Fritz Klein

Fritz Klein, MD | Dec. 27, 1932 - May 24, 2006

Fritz Klein, MD | Dec. 27, 1932 - May 24, 2006

AIB founder Dr. Fritz Klein was born in Vienna, Austria in 1932. While still a small boy, he fled with his family to New York City to escape anti-Semitism and the impending war. He later received an MBA from Columbia University then left to study medicine in Switzerland at the University of Bern. Dr. Klein was a board-certified psychiatrist for 30 years in New York and San Diego until his retirement. Early in his career, he realized that there was a void in knowledge about sexual orientation, specifically in the area of bisexuality. He placed an ad in the Village Voice for a meeting that resulted in the creation in New York of the "Bisexual Forum” in 1974, the first bi-specific organization in the world. During this period he wrote The Bisexual Option, 1978, and co-authored: Man, His Body, His Sex (Doubleday & Co.) in 1978.

After moving to San Diego, Dr. Klein founded a another "Bisexual Forum" for that city in 1982, wrote several books, and founded and became Editor of The Journal of Bisexuality.

Dr. Fritz Klein is best known for his pioneering sex research and the development of the multi-dimensional Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which measures the complexity and fluidity of sexual orientation.

The Klein Grid, first published in 1978, expanded on the "zero to six" Kinsey scale. The Klein Grid measures actual sexual experiences, but also sexual attractions, fantasies, emotional preference, social preference, lifestyle and self-identification as they relate to a person's past, present and ideal future. Klein's research showed that these factors can change over time for an individual, and vary not just between but also within groups of straight, gay and bisexual people. He concluded that people generalize from their own experiences and feelings to assume, often wrongly, that other people must experience their own sexual orientations the same way.

As a result, Klein concluded sexual orientations are too complex to be broken into simple, well-defined categories. Nonetheless, he was a tireless activist especially concerning bisexual issues and community. He was known all over the world for his groundbreaking research and writing, ranging from the academic publication of the Klein Grid in The Journal of Homosexuality in 1985 to popular books and articles concerning bisexuality, as well as a novel, Life, Sex and the Pursuit of Happiness published in 2005 by Harrington Park Press.

Dr. Klein founded the American Institute of Bisexuality (AIB), a public benefit charity, in 1998 to encourage, support and assist research and education about bisexuality, and served as Chairman of the Board up until his death. He was known for being outspoken, controversial and compassionate, and for his love and support of theater and the arts.

AIB (also known as the Bisexual Foundation) encourages, supports and assists research and education about bisexuality, through programs likely to make a material difference and enhance public knowledge and awareness.