VO5 Summer of Love Series: What is Pansexuality?
Just in time for the end of Pride month, and on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, we’ve partnered up with VO5 to bring you this week’s theme: gender, identity and sexuality. This week I'll be talking about pansexuality, bisexuality and a little bit about gender.
What is pansexuality?
Let’s break it down. Pansexuality means an attraction to anyone regardless of their sex or gender identity. Pan simply means all and -sexual is pretty obvious (think of it as “allsexual”). Pretty simple, right?
People who identify as pansexual are open to relationships with people who identify outside of the classic gender binary: masculine and feminine. So those who identify as pan could be up for a connection with someone who is cisgender, transgender, intersex, agender, genderfluid, or any other gender identity or sex.
In a nutshell:
More and more people are becoming comfortable identifying as pan, including some well-known celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie, and drag queen Courtney Act. Can you think of anyone else?
So, what’s the difference between pansexuality and bisexuality?
While there is some overlap, a key difference between bisexuality and pansexuality is that bisexuality recognises gender constructs whereas pansexuality deliberately rejects them.
A lot of people, myself included, view bisexuality as encompassing romantic or sexual attraction to more than just two genders. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that bisexuality and pansexuality are interchangeable. For example, a bisexual cis woman might be attracted to a cis man or woman, whereas a pansexual would be attracted to a cis person. That’s why some people use the term “gender blind” to explain pansexuality – gender is literally not a factor in the attraction.
Personally, I identify as a bisexual cis woman because I think that label best reflects my lived experiences: I am attracted to men (including trans men) and women (including trans women), and open to being attracted to other genders in the future.
While it can be liberating to put a name to your sexuality, it can also be restrictive. You don’t have to choose a label right away, or ever. It’s important to remember that things like gender and sexuality are fluid, how you identify could change on a day to day basis and not be any less valid.
For more information, take a look at our article: https://www.themix.org.uk/sex-and-relationships/gender-and-sexuality/what-is-pansexuality-26809.html
For a more detailed “starter pack” on Pansexuality and its history, make sure to visit: https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/11/pansexuality-101/