Pansexual Definition: What Does Pansexual Mean?
So, what is a pansexual person? How do you define ‘pansexual’ as an orientation?
Well, a Pansexual is a person who is romantically and sexually attracted to people regardless of gender identity. What this basically means is that sex or gender doesn’t factor into their desire for others.
Pansexuality is seen as a rejection of the gender binary, or the idea that there is only male and female. Pansexuals may be attracted to people who identify as men, women, transgender, gender-fluid, or non-binary.
The pansexual pride flag is made up of three colours: pink (for the feminine identities), blue (for the masculine identities), and yellow for the non-binary identities.
What Is The Difference Between Bisexual And Pansexual?
Pansexuality as an orientation is pretty hotly contested in the LGBTQ+ community. Let’s take a look at both sides of the pansexual vs bisexual debate.
On the one hand, many people feel that it’s the label that fits them best. Some studies have estimated that the number of young people who identify as pansexual doubled from 2012 to 2018. This speaks to a larger paradigm shift about relationships, love, sex, and gender – and a push towards more inclusive terms and identities.
Some people prefer the pansexual term because it doesn’t just accurately describe their sexual orientation, but an overall essence of being fluid and free-spirited. This, plus the ability to fall in love with not just a person’s body but also their mind and soul, gives “pansexual” more meaning.
But while it’s great to celebrate whatever label makes you feel comfortable, some people in the bisexual community have raised a few concerns over pansexuality.
One of the reasons people may choose to identify as ‘pan’ is because they feel that the term “bisexual” doesn’t quite cover all the bases. Supposedly, the prefix “bi-”, which means two, implies that there are only two genders/sexes you can be attracted to – male and female. Pansexual attempts to expand on that by including trans and non-binary people, among others.
But some bisexuals argue that that idea is actually wrong and that the BI in bisexual DOES mean attraction to two categories – that is, “my gender” and “genders other than your own”. And there’s also the assertion that creating a separate sexuality to mean “attraction to trans people” (who may identify as male or female) is transphobic in itself.
Bisexuals are commonly a target of bi-erasure and hate, not just from society at large but even from people IN the LGBTQ+ community, so their concerns about being viewed as non-inclusive and potentially transphobic come from a very real, very valid place.
If you’re confused about all of this, you’re not alone. There isn’t a consensus on whether pansexuality is a “real” orientation or just another term for biphobic people to distance themselves from the bisexual identity. To make things even more complicated, some people may choose to identify as both pansexual and bisexual.
Sexual orientation, much like most things in life, isn’t black and white. It’s more like a rainbow, appropriately enough – a mix of different identities, preferences, and expressions.
Demisexual Vs Pansexual
Thankfully, differentiating demisexual and pansexual is much easier. A demisexual is a person who does not feel romantic or sexual attraction to someone unless there’s a strong emotional connection. Demisexuality is considered as one “shade” of asexuality.
But much like pansexuality, there’s some debate about whether or not demisexuality is a separate sexual orientation, or if it’s just being a normal human being – but talking about that would need another article altogether!
What Issues Do Pansexuals Usually Face?
Pansexuals generally face the same issues that other members of the LGBTQ+ community face, such as homophobia, biphobia, and discrimination. But there are also a couple of issues that are specific to the pansexual community.
One issue is that some people (including people in the LGBTQ+ community) believe that pansexuality is a made-up sexual orientation to appease “special snowflakes”. These people will often acknowledge heterosexuality, homosexuality, and maybe even bisexuality, but don’t understand why another label is necessary.
Another issue that pansexuals face is people misconstruing the meaning of “pan”, which is Greek for “all”. Besides the joke that pansexuals are sexually attracted to kitchenware, there are people who take the label to the extreme – asserting that pansexuals are attracted to all things, including objects, animals, and other non-human entities.
Of course, even with all of the confusion about what pansexuality is, attraction to everything is definitely what it isn’t.
Famous Pansexual Celebrities
We live in an era where major celebrities can proudly declare who they are without worrying about their careers. Here are just some of the most famous people who have come out as pansexual (or something like it):
- Courtney Act, from Australian Idol, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Celebrity Big Brother, and So You Think You Can Dance
- Janelle Monae, award-winning musician and actress
- Miley Cyrus, actress and singer
- Sia, award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer
- Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! At the Disco
Some of you might still be asking yourselves, “so, wait, am I pansexual?” But you’re not going to get answers from a blog article, or at least, not all of the answers.
Finding your label isn’t easy. There are no “signs” to look out for or an online test that will tell you who you are. It’s mostly about which one you relate to the most. Just keep in mind that your preferred labels may change over time, and that’s totally fine too!