Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Diversity Lesson 101: "Pansexuality"

Pansexual is a term that has been growing in recent years as a way for people to better identify their sexual identity. The word Pansexual is derived from the Greek prefix pan, meaning "all". The term is reflective of those who feel they are sexually/emotionally/spiritually capable of falling in love with all genders.

Pansexuals have the capability of attraction to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. A pansexual could be open to someone who is male, female, transgender, intersex, or agendered/genderqueer.

Pansexual FAQ:
Do Pansexuals like everyone?
Pansexual identified people have the physical/emotional/spiritual capability of falling in love or being with someone regardless of their gender. This doesn't mean they like everyone, and some Pansexuals do have physical preferences. The identity is used merely to express the openness and fluidity to people of all genders.

How is Pansexuality different from Polysexuality?
Pan means "all" while Poly means "many" and so there are some similar overlaps, a Polysexual may be attracted to some gender variant people but not have the capability or desire to be with some others. Pansexuals are open to any person regardless of their gender or sex.

Aren't Pansexuals really just Bisexual?
Pansexuality is not to be confused with Bisexuality in which "Bi" denotes two genders (male & female) and "Pan" being "all" is open to people who fall at all points or even outside of the gender continuum.


Alexandra said...

This is really clear and consise. Thanks for the "definition". I love that new words keep cropping up to express one's sexuality...I think it really demonstrates how unique each person is, because I don't think we are going to ever fit perfectly in one box. We are way more complex than a dictionary definition, and I think that's great.

Not to degrade one's sexuality to one's food preferences, but in a way, it's like, I'm a vegetarian, and have been for years and years, but damn, whenever I walk past KFC, I have total cravings!!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for the information. I learned something new. I'm glad that there are people like you out there spreading the new words and their meanings.

Queers United said...

Thanks Alexandra - I understand about cravings from time to time. As a vegan though I have zero cravings for KFC, will get rid of any cravings you have for that nasty place.

Ceara - I am glad to help, thanks so much for your continued support =)

Laurie said...

Wow, now I'm confused as to if
I'm 'pan'sexual or 'bi'sexual. I
didn't think there was such a
name for just falling in love with
the whole person male or female.
I know that I do have the capacity
to love someone as a whole male
or female (transgender too).

Anonymous said...

Bravo to you for posting this. I've heard this term bounced around here and there but confused it with polysexuality. Thank you for posting such a clear and interesting topic. I'll definitely be a repeat visitor to your blog.

Anonymous said...

bisexual, a rose is a rose by any other name. pansexual fits in the bisexual umbrella, no need to cut sexuality into 500 names.

Queers United said...

i disagree with you a. I think bisexual fits in the pan umbrella as bi is more specific. Bi means male and female, whereas pan is open to all gender identities male, female, trans, intersex.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I was glad to see a clear explanation of this term somewhere other than wikipedia. Am I correct in assuming that pansexuality and omnisexuality are synonymous?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm a pansexual lady and it's neat to see it's getting out there nowadays. I'm a bit tired of explaining the idea to people. Hopefully it'll be a more widely used and understood term soon.
Hopefully acceptance will follow that. Homophobia bothers me more than anything else in the world.

Anonymous said...

I am pansexual. Tried and true. I am attracted to biological women, biological men, transwomen, transmen, genderqueers, agenders, those who are intersexed and there are probably others that I have missed! That is because I'm all about the person, and what I find attractive is often on a per-person basis--if that makes any sense.

There was a time I really used to loathe the term 'bisexual' that people would often used to label me, as I never felt that, by definition, it truly described my complex sexuality and who I am attracted to. When I discovered there was a word that most closely described my sexuality, I was elated. Finally!

Currently, I am in a serious relationship with a biological male who identifies as heterosexual. I have never dated a biological, heterosexual male so open and understanding of my pansexuality, and of the varying types of sexuality as a whole. Also, I must say that when I met him, I was not looking for anyone in particular. I never really am. It just goes to show that I just can't help who I fall in love with! Nowadays, people I know are quick to comment that I'm "straight again"! They say, "oh! So you're into guys now? You changed your mind? You've decided to be straight?", and assume sexuality is a light switch. Something to turn on and off. A choice. That is simply not true. It's not always about "either or". I love who I love, and I certainly don't base that on sex, sexual orientation, or gender. I am very happy and in love, but if the relationship ever were to end, I surely would not limit myself to biological males. Why? Because I'm interested in everyone, remember? And for crying out loud, being pansexual does not make me greedy or indecisive. It does not make me immoral.

I really hope that people like yourself can continue to post such valuable educational information so that we can create awareness of the fluidity of sexuality. Also, I would like to say that nothing is ever as 'cut and dry' as we like to pretend it is. Words and concepts will always have a myriad of definitions and meanings, as we each have unique perspectives. With that being said, we should be focusing on creating an inclusive, unprejudiced, loving, understanding global community, intent on truly celebrating our differences instead of waging war on them.

Thanks again for the article!


Queers United said...

Elisha thanks for joining us and I am glad you like the article, it is my intent to educate others. Hope you make a username and continue to provide your insight to other postings as well :)

Anonymous said...

OH WOW. i am very very new to the term pansexual. before my discovery i considered myself "bi-sexual" but felt it never really explained my sexuality. the lack of knowledge and utter frustration almost made me want to give up sexuality (and sex) completely!! thank god i found some way to

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Vixen and I'm a moderator on a pansexual webpage on bebo (I will be reccommending this site and link).

This is by far the best piece of information that clears up and doubts or queries, by being so clear and easy to understand.
I get a lot of people who say I'm a lesbian(last 2 relationships were with females), but now that I am with a hetro male they think I'm turning my back on the gay/bi/pan/poly "ways of old that Vixen had".
That was a direct quote by the way lol.

My best friend is a gay male, my cousin is a lesbian, my last female ex was bi and my last male ex was androgynous to the point of cross dressing everday.
We all understood eachother and as oppossed to me having a hetro male who just doesn't "get" me, my new boyfriend does.

My parents arent religious but said if either I or my brother was "gay" they would still love us but be dissappointed! Grrrrr.
They know I have had girlfriends and boyfriends who are, effemminate, as THEY would put it, but I dont think they will ever be able to accept my sexuality for what it is.

My mums cousin Linda is gay and my mum simply adores her, so maybe Linda and I could explain to them together.

Anyway, lovely site, I will definatly be looking at it again.
Vixen x

Danielle said...

What is the difference between Pan and Omni? and if they are the same then why are there two terms for the same thing?

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy to have found something online that clearly defines how I feel. People don't always understand, nor do they try to. I could fall in love with anyone. I'll never limit myself to gender and I think I can live happy knowing that I figured that out at a young age :)

Anonymous said...

In response to Tallis, Omnisexual and Pansexual synonymously exist because our word origins come from numerous countries. "Omni" is the greek root of the word "all"; "Pan" is the latin root of the word "all". They mean the exact same thing.

And Queers United, thanks so much for posting this cohesive clear definition! More people need to read the truth about sexual minorities. There can be a lot of confusion circulating around all these labels, but for the sake of identity and self-realization, they can be extremely necessary. Thanks so much for the post.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm pansexual too! I don't care about gender.. I see people as a whole and i fall in love with their personalities.. Nothing else matters.

Angela M said...

I am a married woman--to a hetero man--who, for the last 12 years has considered herself bisexual. I am attracted to both the same and opposite gender, but am als attracted to transexuals, as well as the intersexed, effeminate men, masculine women... As you can see, there are mor than two genders I'm attracted to, so the term "bisexual" just doesn't cut the mustard. Reading this gave me a new way to understand my sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Oh for the love of god, we're all human regardless of sexuality. Love is love, no need to give it a million names.

Anonymous said...

I have called myself pansexual since I understood the meaning around the age of 18 (before then, 'bi' was the best I could find)... I've dated men, women, a few trans, am the daughter of a bisexual woman and a man who later revealed himself as a woman (thank you incorrect hermaphrodite assignment...), and when I found this definition, it made so much more sense to me than 'bi' ever did.

Ultimately I think the names come to nothing, you are who you are and you love who you love. I do, however, understand that people are always looking for classification, looking for a better understanding. So, if that's the case, pan is the best box I could fit myself into for their pleasure. **shrugs*

I think so far one of the hardest points of realizing myself as pansexual is that it's really hard to place yourself into a community... as a bisexual, transsexual, intersexed, transgendered, gay/lesbian, hetero there seems to be a plethora of ways to have a sense of community with like-minded individuals. It seems to me very hard to find this same feeling for myself.

Anyhow, I appreciate this page, and will likely be pointing people to it when they ask.

Skylor M. said...

I agree with everyone, on that this is an amazingly helpfull post. And to Alexandra below me I TOTALLY agree, I'm still a newbie veggie-monster only 2 years, and I still have cravings for chicken!! I do consider myself pansexual and I don't refer to myself as any gender, or will change it as I please depending on the day :)

Thanks for the post!! :D

Scarlet Rhapsody said...

This so clears things up. I used to think of myself as bisexual, but that term didn't seem to satisfy what I really was. I'm only in high school, and haven't had much dating experience, but it would explain the reason why I was attracted to a guy who seriously doubted his heterosexuality.
Thanks for this!

Anonymous said...

May I just say that this is the most concise summing up of pansexual I have ever read. EVER. Thank you. I have identified as pansexual ever since I knew the word, because I knew I wasn't really bi. I just assumed I was questioning, then found pansexual and *boom* made sense.

For those curious, I'm a biological female (who also identifies female) currently in a relationship with the most amazing transexual woman on the planet. And I really don't care that her gender and her bits don't match. She is who she is. And I love her so much for it.

My favorite, though, is those that insist that because she's biologically male I must therefore be straight. Or that I'm bisexual. No, I think anyone who is confident in their gender is attractive, thanks. Gender matters to me in how it can define my relationship with someone, but gender fails to eliminate anyone from my potential-attraction spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Wow..... I think Pansexual is the new trendy word for bisexual.

Anonymous said...

I am attracted to people, just because they are genuinely nice people in every way that counts. That includes: loyalty, trustworthyness ,friendliness, and just common goodness, Sex and gender do not necessarily have a great deal to do with how I relate to the people I meet.
Pansexual means being and having a good friend. Having any-thing is a welcome bonus.

Anonymous said...

See I don't see this as clear and concise, I find it confusing and ambiguous. How can one keep up with all of these labels, can't we just all be.

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