Don’t confuse pansexual with bisexual
by Jordan Redman
Pan day of visibility falls on May 24.
Alexis Young of Weatherford, Oklahoma came out as pan recently. She came out as pansexual and transgender at the same time.
“I decided to come out as both at the same time, though my being trans rather overshadowed my pansexuality,” Young explained.
To her, pansexuality is, “Being attracted to people regardless of gender. I suppose a better way to put this is that gender is irrelevant to me in my ‘matchmaking’ process.
“Likewise, I suppose you could say I’m attracted to all genders. Gender is this one part of people that don’t really seem that important to me when finding people to date/hook up with. I don’t really care what gender they are or what is between their legs.
“That isn’t to say I don’t have any preferences, but I can be attracted to people of any and all genders. I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity partner.”
There is a common confusion between the terms pansexual and bisexual.
Quick definitions: Pansexual: Not limited in sexual choice about biological sex, gender or gender identity. Bisexual: Sexually attracted to both men and women.
Young said she is often mistaken for bisexual.
The confusion between pansexuality and bisexuality can often lead to pan-erasure from the LGBT+ community.
“Many in the LGBT+ community feel like pan people are just bisexual people who feel the need to be ‘special snowflakes.’ Many spread an older, rather transphobic definition that pansexuality is someone who is attracted to men, women and trans people, as if trans people are some third ‘other.’
“This simply isn’t what pansexuality is nor is it what we represent as a group. As a trans woman myself, I try and correct this definition as much as possible, but it is quite widespread. I’ve even met trans people who thought this was the definition of what pansexuality was.”
Lack of representation in the media also leads to pan-erasure.
Young said, “Pansexual representation is a funny thing. At one level, I feel like there aren’t too many openly pan people in media, but there are people who are widely known who are pansexual.
“Miley Cyrus, for example. She is probably the biggest. Laci Green and Jazz Jennings are a couple of others, but I’m unsure how much coverage those two get outside of people who watch their shows.”
She continued, “In terms of fictional representation, there isn’t a whole lot. Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty was described as pansexual as well as Deadpool. I do wish there was more [pan] representation. I feel like it would help cement the idea that pansexuality is a legitimate thing in the mind of the public.”
Young concluded with a plea for the pan-jokes to stop.
“Don’t make the ‘oh, you have sex with your kitchenware?’ jokes. We have all heard it a million times. It isn’t original. It just gets old really fast.
Also, remember that pansexuality and bisexuality are their own separate, distinct identities; if someone says that they are pan, don’t turn around and call them bi. Respect their identity.”
The Gayly. May 24, 2018. 9:54 a.m. CST.