Jen Brown, LICSW
Bisexual/Pansexual Awareness Week
September 23 is Bisexual Awareness Day, marking the beginning of a week that brings reconition to the lives of bisexual, pansexual, and queer people. #BiWeek is an opportunity for bi+ (an umbrella term used to describe people who are attracted to more than one gender) folks to be seen, heard, and witnessed. As an openly bi and queer therapist myself, this is a week of personal and professional significance. Bi+ people make up a substantial percentage of the overall LGBTQ+ community, but are often overlooked and underrepresented in health care (mental and physical health) and many other facets of life. Bi+ people represent the largest sexual minority, but often experience erasure, invisibility, and stereotyping. As a result of these various forms of marginalization, bi+ folks have higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm; are more likely to experience isolation due to not being “out” to loved ones compared to lesbians and gay men; and may lack the same degree of social support as their straight or gay and lesbian peers.
At the same time, bi+ communities are resilient and have existed for centuries, and #BiWeek is one small step toward increased inclusion and celebration of bi+ identities. Here are some ways to acknowledge bi+ people this week and beyond:
As with all identities, there is no “right” or correct way to be bisexual, pansexual, or queer. These terms hold different meanings for each person. Some folks may use the terms polysexual or omnisexual, some may hold more than one sexual identity, and others may not use a label at all. All of this is more than ok - in fact, it’s welcome and deserves to be celebrated.
See if you can spot the bisexual pride flag (pink, purple and blue) or the pansexual pride flag (pink, yellow, and blue) waving from local storefronts or homes.
The Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) is a Boston-based center for bi, pan, and queer people that offers virtual support groups, community spaces and events, resources and information for youth and adults to learn more about bi+ identities.
Learn more about openly bi+ famous individuals like actor Alan Cumming, music star and actor Janelle Monae, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, writer Roxane Gay, and many more throughout history, as well as fictional characters in books and films, through Bi.org’s incredible directory.
Jen Brown, LICSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has been in clinical practice since 2014. She received her MSW and Certificate in Urban Leadership in clinical social work from Simmons University School of Social Work. She has worked in outpatient mental health and integrative settings in community health centers, college mental health, and in affordable housing. Jen has experience working with depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, substance use and addiction, ADHD, identity shifts/adjustment issues, chronic illness, body image concerns, and relationship issues.
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