Bi The Way, It’s Bisexual+ Awareness Week!
If you are on social media, you may be seeing an abundance of #BiWeek popping up, and for a great reason! Bisexual+ Awareness Week originates from a viral social media campaign seeking to, “accelerate the acceptance of the bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc.) community by drawing attention to the experiences, celebrating the resiliency of the bisexual+ community while also highlighting history, culture, community and current policy priorities of bi+ communities” (https://glaad.org/biweek/).
So why are visibility and education so important? There are several reasons, but two prominent ones are due to the stigmatization of bi+ folks that sometimes comes up in both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ communities. Often, this can be due to harmful stereotypes that perpetuate bisexual identifying folk as being “greedy” or promiscuous, unable to commit to a monogamous relationship, being “attention seeking”, too afraid to “fully” come out at gay, etc. This can lead to “bierasure” (“ignoring, removing or re-explaining the evidence of bisexuality”), which many bi+ folks experience and often negatively affects their mental health.
If you identify as bi+, here are some self-care tips (https://biresource.org/mental-health/):
Celebrate bisexuality through relevant movies, books, culture and history.
Wear bi+-pride colors or incorporate them into your lifestyle, whether through home
decorations, car bumper stickers or office furnishings.
Reach out to other members of the bi+ community, whether online or in person.
Find some quiet time by taking mindful walks, practicing meditation or doing yoga.
Express yourself through writing stories, poetry, journal entries and creating visual and musical art.
Boost your self-esteem with positive, daily affirmations (“I am bisexual and proud!”).
Practice healthy habits, such as eating nutritious meals, regularly exercising and limiting the intake of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
If you are an ally, here’s what you can do to support us (https://biresource.org/mental-health/):
Believe that we exist!!!
Accept our sexual identities without reservation.
Respect our relationships equally, whether they are heterosexual, homosexual, monogamous, non-monogamous, polyamorous, etc.
Speak out against bi+ antagonism and bi+ erasure in your everyday life.
Celebrate bi+ culture.
And when in doubt, ask us how you can best support us!
Kim Johnson, LMHC, MT-BC, is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and board certified music therapist (MT-BC) who graduated with her master’s from Lesley University in 2017. She has experience with adults and adolescents in group private practice and community mental health settings. The levels of care she has worked in are outpatient, with both individual and group therapy and in partial hospital programs for mental health and substance use disorders. Additionally, she has had intensive training in dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive processing therapy for PTSD.
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