2022 marks 24 years of celebrating bisexuality. September 23rd is Bisexual Visibility Day marking the beginning of a week to recognize and celebrate bisexual, pansexual and queer people. Visibility is a key word here: bi+ (an umbrella term used to describe people who are attracted to more than one gender) people are often referred to as the “invisible majority” as research has found that bi+ individuals compose approximately 52% of the broader LGBTQ population, but experience significant erasure and invisibility in both straight and queer spaces.
This week is a time for bi+ folks to be seen, heard and witnessed. As an openly bi+ and queer therapist, this is a week of personal and professional significance. Bi+ people are the largest sexual minority, but are often overlooked and underrepresented in health care (mental and physical health) and in many other facets of life. 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.
Despite this, bi+ people 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, whether as an ally or if you are part of the community:
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.
As with all identities, there is no “right” or correct way to be bisexual, pansexual or queer. These terms hold different meanings depending on the person. Some folks may use the terms polysexual or omnisexual, some may use 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.
Celebrate bi+ representation (just a starting point):
in TV and film: Schitts Creek, The Bisexual, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Bold Type, Vida, Heartstopper, Sex Education.
In real life: Janelle Monae, Alan Cumming, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Abby Jacobson, Frank Ocean, Margaret Cho…the list goes on.
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.