so there are these people running around going, “what the fuck is pansexuality?” and there are some other people running around going “pansexuality is (insert panphobic slur)”. there are also some very calm people going, “well, i’m pan and i’d be glad to clear that up for ya”— but the people running around don’t always pay attention to the calm people. to make stuff even more shitty, we also have a few of pansexuals who are extremely transphobic and biphobic (every crowd has some asshats, k?).
so this post is directed at the bigots who spread panphobic myths around without accepting input from NON-TRANSPHOBIC/NON-BIPHOBIC pansexuals. so if you’re not a bigot and you’re reading this going, “why are they mad at ME?!”— i’m not mad at you. i’m only mad at bigots— and they know who they are.
i also invite all you peoples to share your ideas on this topic and to CERTAINLY call me out if you feel that this article is in any way misleading or just damn wrong. i love reading different opinions and discussing them! yes! tell me why i’m wrong and i’ll fix my shit, k?
1. pansexuals are a bunch of “speshul” snowflakes. they made up pansexuality to feel unique and queer.
i’m not a special snowflake. are you? cuz i just want to be seen for what i am by people who don’t give a fuck about my sexual orientation. seriously. i want society to acknowledge that i exist— and that’s pretty much it. a little less erasure would be orgasmic.
when the people around me think i’m a hetero cis woman– i feel like a weirdo. seriously. i feel special in a bad way. but when i’m out and open about my sexuality and my gender, i feel like i’m just another human being.
plus, special snowflakes don’t discriminate; they come in all sizes, colors, sexualities, genders, religions, geographies. if intelligent life exists in, say, the next galaxy over, i’ll bet cash that special snowflakes are part of that society. so don’t point at pansexuals and say that we ARE the special snowflakes, ok? cuz that’s not cool.
2. pansexuality is only a fad; get over it.
no. i have no idea what the media is up to these days and i have no idea what the trends are— and i don’t really give a fuck. pansexuality may be considered a popular party trick these days, but that doesn’t mean pansexuality is ONLY a fad.
pansexuality is a valid sexual orientation. pansexuality resonates with some people and the concept of pansexuality helps us to understand our own sexuality.
plus, any fad that involves having a sexual orientation which is widely considered invalid is kinda a shitty fad. fads are supposed to be fun and hip, peoples. fads are not supposed to include erasure.
3. there are only 2 genders/sexes; pansexuality can’t exist. you’re attracted to one, the other, neither or both.
there are more than 2 sexes; try googling “intersex” and see what comes up. do some research before puking up some ignorant opinion.
as for there not being more than 2 genders? i’m still here. i’m a non-binary trans* person and telling me that i’m not real won’t make me fall down dead. i’m not tinkerbell.
my gender is non-binary. my gender has always been non-binary. that means that my gender is neither male nor female. if you’re confused, feel free to ask me some questions. but don’t run around erasing people because you’re confused, k?
4. unless you’re literally having sex with at least one person of each of the 2 trillion possible genders at the same time— you’re not pansexual.
right. so when brenda (heterosexual woman) marries jim (heterosexual man), brenda becomes jimsexual and jim becomes brendasexual— because they will never again watch porn or check out the eye candy jogging on the waterfront. right?
and when brenda and jim get divorced and are single for awhile, they become asexual, right?
no. their heterosexuality will still be considered valid and they will probably continue to experience attraction to other people. heterosexuals are considered heterosexual whether or not they’re currently fucking someone of the gender they’re attracted to— so why are pansexuals expected to simultaneously fuck EVERYBODY in order to “validate” our pansexuality?
5. “pan” means “ALL” in greek, so pansexuals are attracted to EVERYTHING— like dogs, corpses, kids, toasters, bathtubs, people they hate, goats etc.
you’re being silly and YOU KNOW IT. silly is rad; i’m often veryvery silly. but being silly while pretending to be serious in order to discredit someone’s sexual orientation isn’t actually silly— it’s assclown-ery.
you know perfectly well that “pansexual” isn’t an umbrella-term for “necrophile-pedophile-zoophile-etceteraphile”. you know perfectly well that we’re talking about being attracted to live human adults. further more, please don’t confuse paraphilia with sexual orientation. google them; they’re different.
pansexuals aren’t automatically attracted to ALL human adults. would you expect, say, a homosexual woman to automatically be attracted to ALL women? i bet you wouldn’t. i bet you’d expect her to have a “type” or to want a lover with an attractive personality— whatever that meant to her.
6. pansexuals are attracted to women, men— and trans* people! cuz pansexuals think trans* people can’t have binary gender!
lotsa people keep saying shit like this— including some self-identified pansexuals. look, don’t judge all of us based on a few assholes who don’t know that trans* women are women and that trans* men are men. there’re a few assholes in every crowd.
tons of pansexuals ARE aware that trans* people can have binary gender; we know that someone who is attracted to, say, men (trans* and cis) doesn’t need a special label to indicate that they’re attracted to trans* men, too. me, when someone says they’re attracted to men, i assume they mean MEN.
pansexuality is not transphobic by definition, ok? and to all the pansexuals who think they’re pan because they experience attraction to binary trans* people; you might wanna rethink that.
7. bisexuality and pansexuality are totally different; bisexuals are only attracted to people of two genders, while pansexuals are attracted to people of all genders.
this is only one over-simplified piece of a vast and fluctuating truth. i use the word “fluctuating” because different people often apply very different definitions to the same words.
in my experience, “bisexual” can refer to people who are attracted to people of two specific genders, people who are attracted to people of more than one gender, people who are attracted to people of genders both similar and different to their own, people who are attracted to people regardless of their gender.
and in my experience, “pansexual” can refer to people who are attracted to people regardless of gender, people who are attracted specifically to people of all genders, people who are attracted to people of more than one gender.
please don’t consider this short list of definitions to be, well, definitive; it’s a complicated topic and there are no rigid definitions. actually, i’d love it if you’d tell me what these words mean to YOU. that’d be rad.
bisexuality and pansexuality may, in some instances, appear totally different. it is important to remember, however, that bisexuality and pansexuality do overlap. this doesn’t mean that they aren’t both totally valid and distinct sexual orientations— they are. just don’t tell some bi person that they have to be pan cuz they experience attraction to non-binary trans* people, for example. ok? nobody HAS to be anything.
8. bisexuality and pansexuality are the same thing; one of them must be an invalid sexual orientation.
no. just, no. bisexuality and pansexuality overlap, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.
if they overlap and often appear identical how do we categorize other people’s sexual orientations? we don’t. we ask people what their sexual orientation is (if we feel that such a concern is appropriate) and then we take their word for it.
people claim bi identities or pan identities for various reasons and they don’t have to explain their logic to anyone. in fact, there doesn’t have to be logic involved; feelings are enough. sexual orientation is very personal and it doesn’t have to make sense to other people.
yes, i’m aware that many pansexuals could call themselves bi (or vice versa) and get away with it because there’s so much overlap between bisexuality and pansexuality. however, if “bisexual” feels wrong to someone and “pansexual” feels right (or vice versa), nobody fuckingNOBODY has the right to argue with them. everybody has the right to decide on their own terminology (barring problematic/erasive shit).
that means that if someone claims a sexual identity, that sexual identity is valid. we know it’s real because someone is living it. this is about basic respect for other people and for their experiences.
9. pansexuals and bisexuals hate each other.
i love bisexuals. not all of them automatically because they’re bi, but some of them over time because they’re cool people.
some pansexuals are biphobic, some bisexuals are panphobic— and that bites. i find that biphobia and holier-than-thou attitudes are problems in the online pansexual community, but we’re working on it and we’re going to keep working on it. and like i said before, there are a few assholes in every crowd. we’re just a bunch of people and we shouldn’t be judging ANYBODY based on fucking stereotypes.
furthermore, pansexuality and bisexuality should not be considered dependent on one another. saying shit like, “bisexuality is _________, therefore pansexuality must be _________” is rife with erasure and phobia. so, no. don’t pull that shit.
10. stop with all the labels! too many labels! just pick an existing label and stop splitting hairs!
that’d be great if we felt comfortable with one of the existing labels— but we don’t. if we were comfortable with one of the existing labels, those of us not suffering from special snowflake syndrome would just pick one of the existing labels.
for example, i’m uncomfortable with calling myself bi. i’m not biphobic; i used to identify as bi and i don’t believe the bullshit about all bisexuals being binarist cads. that said, i don’t feel very bisexual, even though lotsa bisexuals also express attraction to people regardless of gender. personally, i like how the word “pansexuality” includes attraction nonbinary folks right there in the first syllable for all to ogle. but that’s just me.
so, no, we won’t pick an existing label and stop splitting hairs. it doesn’t feel like a hair to us— it feels like a fucking elephant.
so, yeah. tell me what you think about this, folks. it’s a big and twisted topic and i know there are tons of differing opinions on it— and i wanna know yours!
i especially want to know what bisexuals think of my inclusion of them in this post. did i get anything right? if you convince me i’m wrong, i’ll edit the post.
read the related brain-workings of bidyke: some differences and similarities between bisexuality and pansexuality and why i identify as bisexual and not pansexual. they are pretty genius and you shouldn’t just take my word on bisexuality (i’m not bi).
update! here are some responses from tumblr peoples (yay!):
“It doesn’t even occur to me to factor in gender as a deciding factor on whom I have romantic inclinations. Either there is a romantic connection between myself and another individual, or there is not. Simple as that.” (Habitual Insanity)
“I was always frustrated having to identify as bisexual because it was a term that I just didn’t feel I fit perfectly. Not because I disliked bisexuality, but because it just didn’t cover my identity correctly.
“Over time I got tired of having to give long winded explanations, about how I like people regardless of what they identified as, when people asked me about my sexuality, and so I started to allow people to call me bi. Eventually I even started referring to myself as bi.
“Then one day I stumbled across the term pansexual. For me, it was an epiphany. An absolutely monumental moment in my life that I will never forget. I had found a name for how I felt. I was stunned and thrilled that I finally had a word to describe how I fall for people regardless of descriptors, and that how they identify doesn’t alter my affection for them.
“I’m proud to be pansexual. I’m glad that I have a word to relate to my identity. I hope everyone can find something to relate to, regardless of what that is, and not feel excluded, ignored, dismissed, or belittled <3” (xombiekitty)