Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Sadie for her contribution to the Hop for Visibility, Awareness & Equality.
Because there’s room for all of us under the umbrella.
When Love Is Love
True story: When I sat down to write this post about pansexuality for http://hopforvisibilityawarenessandequality.blogspot.com, AKA The Hop, the first thing I noticed was the absence of pan representation in the logo. Talk about irony!
So, rather than my planned blurb about straight-passing privilege, I’d like to take the opportunity today just to talk about what pansexuality can be/mean, to name a few pansexual people you may be familiar with, and to dispel a couple popular misconceptions about being pan. Bi-identified folks who are reading this have probably heard more than their fair share of that last category, unfortunately.
What is pansexuality?
To put it extremely simply: personality, not parts. Someone who refers to themselves as pan is generally not concerned with the genitalia or gender/sexual orientation of a prospective partner, except of course for things like using the correct pronouns.
Personally, I’m married, so I’m not looking at the moment – but if I were, my inner litmus test would go as such: Are you human, of legal age, and freely consenting? Am I attracted to you? Cool, here’s my number.
Who is pansexual?
Lots of people! Just not too many famous ones, or at least, not that are out. Here in the United States, the two most notable pansexual femmes are probably Miley Cyrus – who is genderfluid, she/her – and Jazz Jennings, the trans advocate.
To my knowledge there are no men in the spotlight in America who specifically label as pan, although both Ezra Miller (the actor) and Deaf model Nyle DiMarco have described themselves in ways that could read as pansexual.
Elsewhere, the movie version of the fictional comic anti-hero Deadpool has been called pan by the film’s director, and the completely real British singer Olly Murs recently came out of the pansexual closet as well. Are you, or is anyone in your life, one of us too?
What’s the difference between bi and pan?
The prefix “bi” means two, whereas “pan” means any or all. Thus, a bisexual person is attracted to people of two (or more) genders, while someone who is pansexual experiences attraction regardless of gender.
For example, a bisexual woman might be attracted to cis women and trans men, but not to cis men; her pansexual sibling, on the other hand, could possibly be attracted to all of those kinds of people, plus those who are intersex, agender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or otherwise non-binary. There is quite a lot of overlap between the terms, but “pansexual” is generally thought to be less limiting and to have more room for flexibility/change.
Because both orientations involve attraction to more than one gender, pansexuality is often lumped into the “bi umbrella” – and that’s what I assume happened with the Hop graphic – but we have our own flag (it goes with everything!), pictured above, and our own sense of togetherness within the larger queer community.
Can you be pansexual and have a different romantic orientation?
Of course! Pansexual people can fall anywhere on the (a)romantic spectrum. Just because you are open to being sexually attracted to anyone doesn’t necessarily mean the same is true for emotional attraction or lack thereof.
Being pan means you’re greedy/promiscuous/unfaithful, right?
Wrong. A pansexual person in a relationship is no more or less likely to test the boundaries of that relationship than anyone else. It’s a description of hypothetical attraction, not a license to act inappropriately or hurt people.
If you’re thinking of an individual who has more than one partner at a time (with the knowledge & consent of all involved), that’s called polyamory, and it’s not greedy/promiscuous/unfaithful either.
And you’re not confused?
I’m confused about many things on a daily basis, but not by my own sexuality, no. It’s actually pretty freeing, because if I think a person is cute or whatnot, I just say so. I don’t care what sex, gender, or orientation they are (or aren’t). Neither does my husband, who is also pan; our house is a judgement-free zone when it comes to attraction.
All that said, as someone who is new both new to Prism, and to LGBTQ+ fiction, I’d love any recommendations my fellow readers might have for pansexual authors, and/or authors who write pansexual characters. Be specific if you can, please – there are a ton of titles out there.
Additionally, everyone who leaves a comment of any type on this post will be entered in our giveaway for a $10 gift card to All Romance eBooks, courtesy of Brandilyn.
Big thanks to Cherie Noel and the Hop team for including us in this great event for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and don’t forget to check out the other participant posts this week. As always, happy reading!
One lucky commenter will win a $10 ARe giftcard.
About the Author
I’m a queer, mentally ill reviewer, music lover, and mom. I have too many books and not enough eyeballs.
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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