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18 Brave People Reveal What Identifying As Pansexual Means

Photo: Jacob Mejicanos on Unsplash
What Is Pansexuality? The Meaning Of Pansexual Vs Bisexual Orientation
Love, Self

Knowing what to call yourself can make you feel all the things.

Sexuality has become much more complicated than the black and white concept it used to be.

These days, knowing your sexual orientation is more than just identifying as heterosexual, homosexual, or even bisexual.

Sexual identity has become a lot more fluid, and more people are talking about lesser-known sexual identities, like pansexual, asexual or demisexual, especially with the increase in celebrities who identify as pansexual.

What is pansexuality?

According to the definition on Wikipedia, "Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are not determining factors in their romantic or sexual attraction to others."

Urban Dictionary defines pansexuality like this:"Like bisexuality, but even more fluid, a pansexual person can love not only the traditional male and female genders, but also transgender, androgynous, and gender fluid people."

RELATED: Why You Need To Know The Difference Between Pansexual and Bisexual

Many and more celebrities are coming out as pansexual, including singer Sia, trans activist and actor Jazz Jennings, and singer/actor/model/spokesperson Janelle Monae.

Perhaps the most famous celebrity to make a statement is Miley Cyrus, who has said multiple times that she identifies as pansexual, starting in 2015 when she first talked publicly about her sexuality.

Despite being married to Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus wants to make it clear that being pansexual, or having any queer identity, isn't simply erased if you're in a heterosexual marriage.

In a more recent interview with Vanity Fair, Cyrus says,"A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person ... What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality. Relationships and partnerships in a new generation — I don’t think they have so much to do with sexuality or gender. Sex is actually a small part, and gender is a very small, almost irrelevant part of relationships.”

To help others better understand the meaning of accepting your own sexual orientation as pansexual, 18 real (non-famous!) people shared with us what identifying with pansexuality feels like and means for them:

1. Having a term helps you feel less alone

"I just figured out I'm Pansexual. I'm actually so excited to have a label I can claim as my own."

2. People try to say it's not real

"What I hate the most about being pansexual is being told that I'm not valid. That it's a phase, and that I'm just confused."

3. Having a queer identity can be scary

"I identify as pansexual but only date males because I am afraid of what other people will say."

4. There can be a guilt factor

"Lately I've been feeling guilty about being pansexual, but I can't change that. I kinda just hate the fact there are so many people with great personalities [that I'm attracted to] ..."

RELATED: 5 Important Facts You Need To Know About Pansexuality

5. You're concerned about what people will think

"I'm open about being pansexual with my friends, but I'm not sure if they think I'm serious or not because I've never been with anyone but a guy."

6. You can feel so confused inside

"I'm actually ashamed of being pansexual and I don't know why."

7. Or you don't understand how other people are confused by it

"I love being pansexual but I don't get how some people don't understand it."

8. People misunderstand your sexual identity

"I got called 'greedy' for being pansexual. That's not how it works."

RELATED: 3 Reasons Why Everyone Is A Little Pansexual (Yes, Even You)

9. It can cause family conflict and confusion

"I wish my mom was okay with me being pansexual instead of telling me to pick a side."

10. People think you can't be in a relationship if you're pansexual

"I am pansexual and I have a boyfriend who is amazingly sweet. But people doubt me because of my boyfriend."

11. You're not sure how to explain it to your family

"I'm pansexual but I just tell my family I'm questioning because it's easier."

12. You wish people were more familiar with what it means to be pansexual

"It's so hard being pansexual because I have to constantly explain what it means."

RELATED: What You Need To Know About Pansexuality (According To Someone Who Identifies As Pansexual)

13. Coming out to family can be the scariest part

"I'm pansexual, I came out to my friends but I'm afraid to come out to my homophobic parents."

14. You have a lot of people to choose from

"Being pansexual is the greatest because you literally have the widest selection of people to fall for."

15. It's your life — it's not a statement

"Being pansexual sucks because everyone thinks I'm trying to make a statement. I didn't choose this, it doesn't help that I'm gender-fluid."

16. Your family may assume the worst

"I'm pansexual and my dad told me I made it up for attention."

RELATED: 9 Celebrities Who Identify As Pansexual (And What It Really Means)

17. Telling people you're pansexual can be more trouble than it's worth

"Being pansexual leads to people asking a ton of questions and/or telling me my sexuality doesn't exist."

18. There is no better feeling in the world than being able to accept and love yourself for exactly who you are

"I am fully and completely accepting of my being pansexual. I tell you, nothing is more lovely. I enjoy being me."

While the term "pansexual" is newer to most people than other words defining the spectrum of sexual orientation and identity, like homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual, we need to remember that actually being pansexual isn't new at all!

The idea of loving people, or desiring them, regardless of their gender identity has probably been around forever. We just didn't have a good word to explain what it means to be pansexual.

Now that we have the language to describe the way people have felt for their whole lives, everyone can be included in conversations about the sexual identity spectrum.

Most importantly, it's time we accept that at the heart of the spectrum of sexual identity.

RELATED: What Being Pansexual Really Means

Sloane Solomon is a writer who focuses on love, relationships, and dating.