top of page

Pansexuality

Updated: Jan 30

What is Pansexuality?



Pansexuality means an attraction to all gender identities. The prefix “pan” was chosen because it comes from the Greek root meaning “all.” Oftentimes, pansexuality is also defined as "attraction regardless of gender."


Pansexuality and Bisexuality


Pansexuality lies under the Bi+ Umbrella.


While both bisexual and pansexual refer to attraction to multiple genders, pansexuality is commonly considered a more inclusive label. Bisexuality is often misunderstood as meaning "attraction to men and women," and some find this definition to be too limiting. Hence, individuals may choose pansexuality as their label to include non-binary, transgender, gender fluid, and other gender non-conforming people within the scope of their attraction.



Others may identify as pansexual because they consider themselves attracted to others regardless of genderor, as it's sometimes called, "genderblind." It's important to note, however, that this is not the case for everyone; many pansexuals do have gender preferences.


Ultimately, whether a person decides to identify as bisexual or pansexual is a personal choice and should never be invalidated.


Pansexual History


Multi-gender attraction has been documented in humans—and animals!—throughout history.


Although some of the earliest records of the term pansexual come from 1914, when it was called "pan-sexualism," the word as we know it came into play by the 1970s. This era was a pivotal time for LGBTQ+ identities that existed outside of the gay/lesbian box. Pansexuals had carved themselves a place in the bi+ community. Then, in the 1990s, "pansexual" was finally being used to refer to a community that had long been existing and thriving.


Because all bi+ identities share a similar history up to a point, check out our Bisexuality article for a more in-depth look at multi-gender attraction throughout time. 


Pansexual Issues


Misconceptions


There are many myths surrounding bi+ identities, like pansexuality. Some of these include:


  • Pansexuals are really either gay or straight and just need to figure things out

  • Pansexuality is just a phasea transition between straight and gay

  • Pansexuals are more likely to cheat because they are attracted to everyone

  • Pansexuals are more likely to sleep around because they are attracted to multiple genders

  • Pansexuals think they are better than bisexuals because they are attracted to people's personalities and not their looks

  • Pansexuals are never allowed to have gender preferences

  • Pansexuals are not allowed to be explicitly sexual because they're supposed to be attracted to people's "souls", not their bodies


These myths unfairly marginalize pansexual folx and erase and invalidate their sexuality. To learn more about the issues that affect all bi+ identities, see our Bisexuality article.


Pansexual Symbols


Pansexual Flag


The pansexual pride flag was created in 2010 on the internet and has grown in popularity since. It has three colored bars: pink on top, yellow in the middle, and blue on the bottom.


Pink - Attraction to those who identify as female Blue - Attraction to those who identify as male

Yellow - Attraction to those who identify outside of the gender binary


The P Symbol


Another common symbol is a “P” with an arrow and crossed tail.

The cross represents the symbol for Venus, which signifies female identity, while the arrow represents the symbol for Mars, signifying male identity. The two combine to form a "P", standing for pansexual.





 

References



The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. (n.d.). Pride Flags


GLAAD. What is Pansexuality?


Goldberg, Abbie, ed. (13 April 2016). The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. SAGE Publications. p. 833. ISBN 9781483371290


Hayfield, Nikki (2020). Bisexual and Pansexual Identities: Exploring and Challenging Invisibility and Invalidation. Routledge. pp. 1–17. ISBN 9780429875410


HuffPost. Wong, B. (2018, June 27). 9 things pansexual people want you to know. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/things-pansexual-people-want-you-to-know_n_5b328d99e4b0b745f17877cc


Ka'ahumanu, Lani; Hutchins, Loraine, eds. (2015). Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out (2nd ed.). New York: Riverdale Avenue Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-1626011991


Rolling Stone. Zane, Z. (2019, October 4). What's the real difference between bi- and pansexual?


Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page