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Let's Talk About Pansexuality!

What is it, and how can you be an ally?

By choreomaniaPublished 6 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - December 2023

December 8 marks pansexual pride day: a day to acknowledge the efforts made by pan community to gain acceptance and awareness. Pansexuality is a sexuality riddled by misunderstanding and misconception, leaving those who identify with the label frustrated and forced to educate those who don't understand. Education is important, it's easy to do, and no one is ever too old to learn new things.

The pansexual flag was designed in 2010, and consists of three colours, although their meanings are debated:

1. Pink, to represent femininity,

2. Yellow, to represent non-genders or genders within male and female,

3. Blue, to represent masculinity.

So, what exactly is pansexuality?

Pansexuality is the sexual attraction to any or all people, regardless of gender. Because gender or sex are not deciding factors in a person's attraction, some pansexual people may refer to themselves as "gender-blind" when it comes to romantic relationships, thereby rejecting the gender binary. A pansexual person has the potential to be attracted to anyone, regardless of their gender, but it doesn't mean that a person who identifies as pansexual will be attracted to all people.

Confused? Let's elaborate.

There are many misunderstandings about the specifics of pansexuality, and how it differs from bisexuality. Although the two are similiar, there is one important distinction: gender. The term pansexual uses the Greek prefix pan, meaning any or all. The term bisexual uses the Greek prefix bi, meaning two or double. The difference is simple: a pansexual can feel attraction to any or all genders, with no consideration to gender (or lack thereof). Similarly, a bisexual can feel attraction to two or more genders, with consideration to gender.

In the past, bisexuality was considered a sexuality in which a person was attracted to both men and women. As our knowledge of language expands, and with the understanding that gender is not binary, pansexuality was introduced. Of course, nobody can decide our own identities except for us, and sexuality is fluid, which means that understanding and labels can change over time.

By Yoav Hornung on Unsplash

I'm sure you've all heard the joke that pansexuals are attracted to kitchenware, and I'm sure, like me, you're all getting tired of it. But with lack of knowledge comes ignorance, and the only way to overcome ignorance is to encourage education.

What are some myths and misconceptions about pansexuality?

1. If pansexual people are attracted to all people, then they'll sleep with anyone!

Imagine this said about a straight woman, for example. "If she's attracted to men, she'll sleep with any man!" This isn't how sexuality works. When it comes to pansexuality, the keyword is potential. Having the potential for attraction does not equate to automatic attraction. A straight man is not sexually attracted to every woman he meets. A pansexual woman is not sexually attracted to every person she meets.

2. Pansexuals are picky. They can't be happy with just one person!

Like people of any sexuality, many pansexual people are polyamorous. Many are monogamous. A person's attraction has no bearing on their ability to be loyal and committed in a relationship.

3. Pansexuality is just a trend. It's a new thing that didn't exist when I was a kid!

The word pansexual was first used in 1914 by Sigmund Freud to denote the idea that libido plays a primary part in all human activity. Although the pansexual community has been actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community since the 1980's, the term pansexual did not emerge as an orientation until the 1990's. As we should all know, many things exist without knowledge or a name. Lack of knowledge of pansexuals never equated to their lack of existence, and it never will.

4. Pansexuality isn't real. It's just a stepping stone to being gay.

Like bisexuality, pansexuality is often criticized as being less than heterosexuality or homosexuality. Many people still believe that nothing exists between straight or gay, and that pansexuals must "choose". Pansexuals, like any other person in the queer community, know themselves and their identity better than critics, strangers, or even their family. Because pansexuality goes against the gender binary and thinks about identity in a way that isn't "traditional", they're often brushed off or ignored, and this needs to change.

By James A. Molnar on Unsplash

How can you be an ally to the pansexual community?

1. Learn about identities and experiences.

2. Amplify the voices of pansexual people. Make sure their stories are heard and acknowledged.

3. Advocate for pansexual rights and visibility in your community.

4. Support businesses, fundraisers, and organizations run by pansexual people.

5. Believe people, and educate yourself on their identities. It takes little time and effort to learn and accept, and means so much to queer individuals. Always remember: you cannot determine or change someone else's sexuality. It's important to educate yourself, educate others, and stand up against misconceptions and criticism.

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About the Creator

choreomania

i'm a a queer writer, poet, cat lover, and author. i'm passionate about psychology, human rights, and creating places where lgbt+ youth and young adults feel safe, represented, and supported.

29 | m.

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Comments (7)

  • Carol Townend4 months ago

    Thank you for writing this. I have a better understanding of pansexuality myself now.

  • Chloe Gilholy6 months ago

    this is a great article. This makes people understand pansexuality.

  • ROCK 6 months ago

    Well procured. Having a young adult child who is pansexual I think this is an excellent piece to share with their grandmother stateside. She has been so confused by the meaning. It would be a great piece for a newspaper article or talk show discussion also. Thanks for sharing ☺️

  • Melissa Ingoldsby6 months ago

    This right here: Imagine this said about a straight woman, for example. "If she's attracted to men, she'll sleep with any man!" This isn't how sexuality works. Boom! You are on point

  • K. Kocheryan6 months ago

    Lovely article on this topic. Simple and to the point. Congrats on Top Story.

  • Davina Zinn McKee6 months ago

    I love the way you broke this down. I’ve always maintained that I have no sexual orientation, but people love to label and classify, so it isn’t acceptable for me to say that. Pansexual is the only thing that makes sense for me to claim since people insist I claim something. The stigma around being bisexual gets passed onto those who are pansexual too, and you did an excellent job of explaining (with tact) why those assumptions are false (and idiotic).

  • Alexander McEvoy6 months ago

    Number 5, “believe people” is maybe the single most important piece of advice on this list imo. Sadly (yes really) I’m a cis het man but for my whole life, no one has believed the het part. The assumption is always that I’m something else, usually not interested in women. I once lost a friend after a screaming match where she begged me to stop lying and come out already. Which was odd. Belief is so important, especially when people’s identities don’t match your interpretation or biases.

choreomaniaWritten by choreomania

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