a pansexual timeline
CW/TW for provided quotes/linked sources: uncensored slurs, derogatory terms, and outdated language.
You ever see those posts about “pansexual history” that are made by panphobes who clearly want you to be a panphobe, too, so they leave out anything that doesn’t fit their narrative, painting a completely negative picture of pansexual history?
Well, this is a timeline of those things that don't fit their narrative; the pansexual history panphobes don’t want you to know about.
I want to stress that this is not a complete documentation of pansexuality. Internet searches only go so far, and if you want to know the more problematic elements of pansexual history, there’s a super helpful (sarcasm) Medium article all about it.
But just know that pansexual’s positive/neutral history is older and more extensive than its negative history. And a lot of the negative stuff stems from non-pan people, and the stuff that does come from pan people is not proof that pansexual is “bad” and “needs to be done away with”, because if that were how things worked, we wouldn’t have any labels.
Before starting, I want to point out that “attraction to all genders” and “attraction regardless of gender” are the pan definitions used by organizations, such as Bi Net USA, Bisexual Resource Center, GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC, LGBT Foundation, PFLAG, and The Trevor Project.
SEE ALSO: pansexual representation and pansexual statistics
CREATED BY: posi-pan on Tumblr, PansexualityOrg on Twitter
LAST UPDATED: October 3rd, 2021
I know if I don’t address Freud, someone will complain, so let’s get that out of the way. Freud is credited with the theory of pansexualism, which suggests all desire and interest is driven by sex instinct.
It is discussed; “the pan-sexualism of mental life which makes every trend revert finally to the sexual”, and criticized; “let us therefor from now on remember that even a large contingent of the Freudians [...] has given up this pan-sexualism, and that we therefor seem to have a right to challenge this; [...] and that one is justified in acknowledging just a little nausea at this incest theme which runs like a fugue throughout the writings of all these Freudian enthusiasts.” by J. Victor Haberman in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 1915 [x]
This use of pansexual is nowhere near how it’s used today. Pansexualism is an entirely different thing than pansexuality. Over time the term pansexual lost the criminal and immoral indications of pansexualism lent by psychoanalysis and was adopted to mean a handful of things before it evolved into how we use it today.
While there isn’t record of pansexual being a sexuality label yet, there were reports of people in the 1920s and 1930s who “loved across labels and boundaries” in Harlem and Chicago’s South Side. [x]
To further expand on that, some men in 1930s New York were described as “difficult to argue that they were really homosexuals” but “neither could they plausibly be regarded as heterosexuals” and “nor were they bisexuals”, rather, they were argued to be “men who were interested in sexual activity defined not by the gender of their partner” in George Chauncey’s Gay New York. [x]
Even without pansexual being used, these two examples show what pansexuality represents and the language pansexual people use today in a historical context, and, in the second example, it being distinguished from bisexuality.
Freud’s pansexualism concept continued to be used, discussed, and criticized throughout the 1940s and 1950s in medical texts, for example, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in 1952: “His pansexualism suffers from basic rational defects repeatedly confusing causes and effects, means and ends; these various shortcomings have been criticized particularly by such psychologists as C.G. Jung, R. Allers, R. Wahle, and S. Behn.” [x]
A notable example was when in a 1952 address, Pope Pius warned against the “pansexual method of psychoanalysis”, that it goes against Christian values; “For a man and a Christian there is a law of integrity and personal purity, of self-respect, forbidding him to plunge so deeply into the world of sexual suggestions and tendencies. Here the ‘medical and psychotherapeutic interests of the patient’ find a moral limit. It is not proved—it is, in fact, incorrect—that the pansexual method of a certain school of psychoanalysis is an indispensable integrating part of all psychotherapy which is serious and worthy of the name.” [x]
In 1962, John Calhoun conducted a study on the behavior of Norway’s rat population and described rats who showed “indiscriminate sexual behavior” in regard to sex as pansexual. [x]
A film review in The Village Voice in 1963 didn’t provide a definition for pansexuality, but listed it alongside lesbianism. [x]
People did a piece on novelist and activist Rita Mae Brown, in which Rita says she was kicked out of university in 1963 for her “pansexuality”, which she described as “open to loving anybody”. [x]
The Lesbian in America in 1964 described pansexuality as getting pleasure from “oneself, those of one’s own sex, and those of the other”. [x]
In The Village Voice in 1967, an ad for Evergreen Review promoted a feature on the love and sex lives of hippies, and asked, “What’s all this talk about her new pan-sexuality?”. [x]
In 1968, the Los Angeles Press published an article about Lonesome Cowboys and stated it, “like all Warhol films, is pansexual”. “Just now, when lesbianism is accepted in popular fashion and group sex is surfacing from the underground, Warhol is years ahead. Everyone from Buckminster Fuller to Margaret Mead is predicting popular pansexuality by A.D. 2000.” [x]
In the book, The Downtown Pop Underground, about the New York City culture in the 1960s-1970s credited the so-called pansexuality of the glitter/glam rock movement to Jackie Curtis and makes a David Bowie comparison, who also has been described as pansexual in this context. “In addition to developing a now-ubiquitous pansexual style, Curtis anticipated punk’s DIY fashions by wearing ripped thrift store clothes that were safety-pinned together.” and “‘What Jackie did was more like performance art,’ Melba LaRose said. ‘I never thought of him as a woman. He went back and forth so many times.’” and “‘That was the beginning of pansexuality, and David Bowie picked up on that,’ said Tony Zanetta, who worked with the glam rock singer. ‘I find a lot of similarities between Jackie Curtis and David Bowie.’” [x]
Alexis Del Lago talked about being part of “a pansexual group in the late 1960s-early 1970s that was not about being gay or straight, what mattered was the expression of ourselves”. [x]
The 25th anniversary edition of Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual Speak Out stated that pansexual people have been “actively involved in the bisexual community since the 1970s”. [x]
Rolling Stone described Jackie Curtis as “one of a whole new breed of pansexual apparitions” in 1970. [x]
Pansexual is listed in The Village Voice in 1971, along with homosexual and asexual, as a group “now claiming their share of respect and power”. [x]
A 1971 issue of Common Sense stated everybody is “born ambisexual, multisexual, polymorphous perverse, pansexual, call it what you will”. [x]
Pansexuality is described in Ramparts in 1973 as a “none of the above” sexual identity, an “I-don’t-care-what-you-call-me, anything-that-feels-good-goes, open-ended” attitude, and attraction to “people, their auras, vibrancies, minds and good looks, not to genders”. [x]
Rolling Stone described David Bowie as having “show biz pansexuality” in 1973. [x]
The Village Voice in 1973 described omnisexuals as having the “same hump-a-brick if-it’s-hip-this-week image as in ‘pansexuality’”. [x]
In 1973, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld stated in the Los Angeles Press, “It is simply untrue that a woman necessarily receives more sexual pleasure from another woman than from a man. Or that women who have known other women this way are never fully satisfied again by men. Then I asked a well-known pansexual designer what she thought of the statements of the ‘well known lesbian poet’, her reply was a succinct ‘Bullshit!’” [x]
Pansexual is given as an alternative to bisexual in a 1974 issue of Pandora: A Washington’s Women’s News Journal. A trans woman talks about how her sexual relationships have changed since having surgery, how people who wouldn’t have sexual relationships with her before, now will, and people who would before, now won’t. She criticizes this genitalia based relationship determination; “anybody who is not bisexual (or pansexual, whichever you want to say) you could say in a way is being grossly unjust, is saying ‘I am accepting you for whatever genitalia you have vs. who you are.’” [x]
In 1974, Alice Cooper said he liked the concept of pansexuality, “the prefix ‘pan’ means that you’re open to all kinds of sexual experiences, with all kinds of people. It means an end to restrictions, it means you could relate sexually to any human being.” And when asked if he could be pansexual, “anything is possible. I’m just saying it might happen, and if it does, I’ll be open enough to take it as it comes.” [x]
Dr. Wardell Pomery, who worked with Alfred Kinsey, referred to people who “have the capacity to develop sexually in many different ways” as pansexual in Daytona Beach Morning Journal in 1974. [x]
A list of terms was provided in New York in 1974 for a person “able to have sex with a male or female”, whose “sexual persuassion is certainly nothing new”, and among those terms were bisexual, ambisexual, pansexual, and omnisexual. [x]
The New York Times in 1974 mentioned people “going bisexual this year” which “seems to be different from going homosexual, which was last year” and added, “I know what comes next season. It’s pansexuality.” [x]
In 1974, the Calgary Herald published an Ann Landers letter in which someone complained about “articles on unisex, omnisex, pansexual, transexual, homosexual, and bisexual confessions staring at me from the pages of every newspaper and magazine” they pick up. [x]
Saturday Review described what they call “pansexual theater”, in 1974, where “sexual anarchy is a given”. [x]
Stereo Review described David Bowie and “other painted persons” as “happy to be asexual, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, whatever works” in 1974. [x]
In a 1974 issue of The Rag, Marc Sanders stated, “The label ‘Human Intimacy’ potentially embraces us all: gay, straight, or pansexual.” [x]
In a 1976 radio interview, Tim Curry described Frank N. Furter as “completely pansexual” and finding “most people attractive” and willing to “entertain the notion of sleeping with anybody”. [x]
Pansexuality is brought up in Mother Jones in regard to how feminism should create choices that “extend beyond the narrow framework of sex; lesbianism, bisexuality, pansexuality, heterosexuality” in 1976. [x]
In the 1976 book, The View from Another Closet: Exploring Bisexuality in Women, Janet Bode interviewed women about their bisexuality, and noted that not all the women identified as bisexual or with any labels at all, but “were willing to be interviewed because they met the ‘requirements’, but they had chosen this life-style because they refused to be shoved by society into a gay or straight category.” The bisexual women interviewed “did not race out to convince friends that bisexuality was the only and best game in town”, believing it’s the “preferable sexual orientation” for them. One of the women interviewed, Maria, said, “If I must have a label call me pansexual, ambisexual, antisexual, androgynous, neutral, undecided...just don’t make me into something I’m not!” [x]
The Washington Post described Peter Allen’s appeal as “pansexual” in 1977. [x]
The experiences of “bisexual and pansexual” women are included in the 1979 book, The Gay Report: Lesbians and Gay Men Speak Out about Sexual Experiences and Lifestyles, for example, a nonmonogamous pansexual discusses their relationship dynamics. [x]
Gay L.A. A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians discussed the “acknowledged pansexuality norm” of punk rock women in the 1970-1980s; “There was an amorphous sexual energy, who you slept with didn't have anything to do with gender.” and “You’d go to a club, come back to the crash pad shit-faced, and end up sleeping with another girl as likely as with a guy, and you didn’t have to hide it.” Punk women’s pansexuality was contrasted against lesbian feminists; “Punk females ‘were not at all political,’ Phranc says. ‘They were into anything goes. It was all personal pleasure and fashion.’ Despite their sexual fluidity and gender ambiguity, the girl punks were nothing at all like the radical feminists of the decade before who had experimented with lesbian relationships as ‘the next important step’ and wore ‘boy things’ as a politically correct uniform. Like the lipstick lesbians, girl punks provided another model of style for young females who enjoyed sex with other females—one that was far more loose and light and trendy than anything lesbian feminists could be comfortable with.” [x]
Club X, a kink/fetish club formed in the 1980s, is described as a “pansexual gathering” and “for anyone”. [x]
Ann Ferguson briefly mentioned in the 1981 article “Patriarchy, Sexual Identity, and the Sexual Revolution” that there have been suggestions to “avoid such labels as ‘heterosexual,’ ‘bisexual,’ and ‘lesbian feminist’” and begin to “frame a bisexual or pansexual politics” and agrees with needing “new ideas to get beyond existing labels”. [x]
The article “Radical Feminists Organize” in the 1983 issue of New Directions for Women explained that radical feminists believe the main goal of radical feminism is “not ending racism, capitalism, imperialism, militarism or nuclear power, instituting goddess religion, matriarchy or a female nation, making energy circles or friends, having places to go, becoming a stronger or better person or a lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual or pansexual. It is to end male supremacy—the domination by less than half the world population of the rest.” [x]
A movie review in The Phoenix in 1984 described Rocky Horror Picture Show as a story of “two dorky all-American kids who find themselves indoctrinated into the pansexual ways of Dr. Frank ‘n’ Furter”. [x]
St. Petersburg Times surveyed people’s sex lives in 1984, and those who enjoy all their listed forms of consensual sex were labeled as “pansexual”. These people ranked “high” in their categories of life satisfaction, sensuality, and eroticism. [x]
Joan Jett is described as having a “pansexual strategy” in The Phoenix in 1985. [x]
In the L.A. Times, Morrissey’s love songs were described as “just ambiguous enough to allow him to claim they’re pansexual” in 1985. [x]
The 1985 book Men and Feminism in Modern Literature used the term “pansexuality” to mean “promiscuity”. [x]
An article about The Replacements in 1985 in The Phoenix referred to their song “Androgynous” as a “piano-only ballad of pansexual solidarity”. [x]
A 1986 movie review in Edmonton Journal stated, “Menage is a wild stroll down Rue Bizarre into a world bored with conventional sexuality and love, a dizzy, amazing, playful look at pan-sexuality that breaks up conventional stereotypes of gender.” [x]
A 1986 review of Dress Gray in the The Day stated screenwriter Gore Vidal, “an avowed bisexual, has frequently delved into the subject of homosexuality or pansexuality in his novels and his screenplays.” [x]
In the 1986 book, Sisters of the Road by Barbara Wilson, the main character ponders, “I wasn’t a lesbian then, I guess I was bisexual, sort of pansexual, you know.” [x]
In the 1987 book, Tennessee Williams by Harold Bloom, states, “it seems likely that Brick eventually would turn into his dying father, and would become pragmatically bisexual or pansexual.” [x]
In the 1987 book, The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism, rock music is described as “pansexual”, thriving on ambiguity. Mick Jagger is said to have come the closest to “fulfilling rock’s pansexual fantasy”, as there is no barrier to his appeal. [x]
The 1988 book Fidelity described Alred Kinsey as supporting an ideology that “might be called pansexuality”, it indicates “anything goes that provides excitment and pleasure”, but is in fact an ideology that “frowns upon monogamy and traditional concepts of normality”. [x]
An article in SPIN in 1988 described Oscar Wilde as “patron saint of every British eccentric, pansexual, and dreamer, from Quentin Crisp to Steven Morrisey”. [x]
Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank N. Furter is described again as “pansexual” in The Washington Post in 1988. [x]
The AIDS Project Newsletter from 1988 had a humorous glossary of sexual identity terms, including terms such as bisexual, omnisexual, pansexual, and polysexual. [x]
Juan Mario Herakovic’s 1989 dissertation described the “Sexual Patterns of Promiscuous Sexual Behavior and Perversions” in borderline personality disorder patients as “pansexuality”. [x]
The 1989 book Buying Time by Joe Haldeman described a character as a “pansexual nymphomaniac” who is “willing to try anything twice”. [x]
The author of an article in a 1989 issue of Bi Women Quarterly discussed a bisexuality workshop in which a lot of the attendees weren’t comfortable identifying as bisexual, specifically mentioned the “self-defined ‘pansexuals’”, and despite saying “I believe that everyone has the right to label or not to label themselves” the blame of “invisibility, discrimination, biphobia” and “the stymied bi community and bi political movement(s)” was placed at the feet of these people who could identify as bisexual, but don’t. [x]
The 1990 book Bisexuality: A Reader and Sourcebook by Thomas Geller defined pansexual as “one whose sexual interests include people who are gender minorities, i.e. not male or female” which is noted as being “usually implied by the word bisexual” and defined pansensual in the same manner, but with a focus on sensuality and intimacy as opposed to sexual attraction/sex. [x]
The book The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies stated that pansexuality emerged in the “early 1990s as a new sexual-identity or sexual orientation term that attempted to describe desires that already existed for many people”, it went on to say it was “created alongside the now seldom-used term pomosexuality or postmodern sexuality, in an effort to further deconstruct ideas about sexual identity, sexual desire, and sexual activity”. The book described the trans community being at the forefront of the emergence of these identities; “Given that many trans people did not fit neatly into the commonly understood confines of bisexuality, there was a strong desire from trans communities for a term that more accurately reflected both the desires of trans people and the desires of people who were attracted to both trans and cisgendered people. From this desire for a new and more inclusive term, both pomosexuality and pansexuality emerged, with pansexuality becoming the primary term for sexual identities that included trans people through its avoidance of associations with the gender binary.”
The book did make it clear that the binary assumptions of bisexuality have been challenged and the commonly understood definition reconstructed, as well as not every trans person feeling excluded by bisexuality or identifying with pansexuality. It concluded that “ultimately, pansexuality is a sexuality that attempts to move beyond traditional binaries associated with sexuality and gender and include people across, and beyond, the gender spectrum and people who desired sexual activities exist beyond what has been traditionally considered heterosexual sex”. [x]
The book, Bisexual and Pansexual Identities: Exploring and Challenging Invisibility and Invalidation by Nikki Hayfield, stated that pansexuality “came into use during the 1990s, alongside the less recognised pomosexuality (postmodern sexuality)” and that both terms were “initially related to deconstructing traditional ideas about sexual desires, activities, and identities, and are likely to have been in response to queer theory”. It suggested that queer and pansexual “may be understood as overlapping terms” for some, and distinct for others. The book detailed early accounts of pansexual in the BDSM communities, noting the link between some people's BDSM activities and their pansexuality, but that definitions of pansexual are rarely related to BDSM.
Nikki explained how for some, pansexuality is an “anti-identity based on the deconstruction of sex, gender, and sexuality, and on resistance to all labels, particularly those which uphold binaries” and for others, a reflection of “embracing fluidity, both in terms of changes in levels of attraction to people of various genders and in relation to changes in how any individual identifies their own gender over time”. Attraction to all genders or regardless of gender are referred to as the predominate meaning of pansexuality. The phrase “hearts not parts” is mentioned, as well as the criticism of it. [x]
In a 1990 issue of transgender news and information monthly, Cross Talk, Lee Risemberg discussed pansexual and intersex, contrasting pansexual against a binary explanation of bisexual, and stating the prefix “pan” means “all” so a pansexual “would have no problem entering an intimate situation with a male, a female, or an intersexed individual” and “has the potential to relate sexually and emotionally to any human being, regardless of the anatomical structure of the partner”. Risemberg went on to declare “there was no word to describe what I felt I was, so I had to coin the term ‘pansexual’; I thought I was the only such person in the world.” but that since then, people have approached them with “the realization that they too were pansexual, and the word has slowly but surely been spreading.” Note that while claiming to have coined pansexual, I’ve found nothing indicating their use of pansexual as a sexual identity coined or popularized it. [x]
Shay Quillen in The Cavalier Daily in 1991 described Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls” as a “new mark for ambiguous pansexuality”. [x]
Perspective on Science and Christian Faith from 1991 talked about Alfred Kinsey and his modern followers encouraging a “pansexual ideal”, in which there are “no clear distinctions between female and male”. [x]
In the 1992 issue of bisexual magazine Anything That Moves, Mykel Board wrote in to say, among other things, that he “prefers pansexual”. And Kory Martin-Damon discussed; “alternative lifestyles are also almost nonexistent in sci-fi. I do not speak only of homosexuality. I speak of pansexuality, polyfidelity, bisexuality, and even asexuality.” [x]
The 1992 book Closer to Home: Bisexuality & Feminism touched on how “pansexual could convey the unfortunate impression that we are obsessed with sex or that we sleep with anything that moves, but should be understood to mean that we open ourselves up to all sexual possibilities”.
The book also suggested the term pansensual, which “refers to one’s own experience and avoids imposing narrow male-defined limits upon that experience. It allows us to claim a wider range of our own emotional and physical capacity.” The book argued that pansensuality is a “new kind of political movement” that “presents a challenge to the cultural emphasis on biological sex, particularly as a basis for sexual identity; the assumption that everyone is either heterosexual or homosexual; the notion of ‘sexuality’ itself by introducing the broader concept of sensuality; and the current political landscape, a battlefield that heterosexuals and homosexuals have claimed as their own, and assert ourselves as a new political force.” [x]
A newsletter from 1992, Bisexual Centrist Newsletter, stated, “Other pansexual bi activists, even though they themselves don’t belong to additional sexual minorities, are proponents of pansexual organizing for a practical reason. If the bi movement accepts every other sexual minority under the umbrella label of ‘bisexual’ and forms an enormous sexual minority community, it will grow so rapidly as to overwhelm all opposition to its agenda. Or, at least, it will grow much more rapidly than a bi-specific group.” and “Bisexual activists who have adopted a les-bi-gay philosophy also want bisexuals to be part of a larger sexual minority community, but their chosen subculture is more narrowly defined than that of the pansexual activists.” [x]
The 1993 book Different Loving: An Exploration of the World of Sexual Dominance and Submission pointed out “despite the current ‘pansexual’ trend, which stresses unity among gay, lesbian, and heterosexual D&Sers (pansexuality is particularly popular in the burgeoning radical sexual communities of Nothern California and the Pacific Northwest), there is as yet only an uneasy alliance between some heterosexual and homosexual segments of the D&D community.” [x]
In "A Bisexual Feminist Perspective" in a 1993 issue of Fifth Estate, Liz Highleyman said “the most interesting connection between queerness and anarchy is the breakdown of categories and hierarchies. The whole notion of breaking people into two distinctly defined groups, whether on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., seems to lead inexorably to hierarchy and all the problems of authoritarianism that come with it. When I think of queer anarchism, I think of breaking down the strict boundaries constructed between the categories of sexuality. So, I guess I think of bisexuality, omnisexuality, pansexuality as being more ‘anarchist’ that strict homosexuality or heterosexuality. Looking at things on a long-term, more idealistic basis, I’d like to see us be able to smash gender and sexuality boundaries. I think some gays and lesbians reify traditional notions of gender and sexuality (albeit with the ‘good/bad’ value judgments reversed). I also think some parts of the feminist movement do this as well, when they talk about the ‘inherent nature’ of men and women.” [x]
Liz Highleyman also said in "Reactionary Queers? Queers React" in 1993, “I’m personally happy I’m bisexual/pansexual because I don’t like to discriminate on the basis of gender (though I do discriminate on the basis of other characteristic).” [x]
An article in The Herald Journal in 1993 described a magazine as “pansexual” because it “appeals to almost anybody”. [x]
Maclean's in 1993 described Madonna, Prince, and k.d. lang as “representing a diffusion of genders, not asexuality but pansexuality”. [x]
New Straits Times in 1993 described the music of artists like David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Marc Bolan as inspiration for a “giddy, glittery pansexual liberation” in an article subtitled “Meshing cheesy pop with pretentious artrock, glam music inspired by a giddy, glittery pansexual liberation”. [x]
k.d lang is described as having a “pansexual appeal” in Rolling Stone in 1993. [x]
In a 1993 issue of GenderFlex, Veronica wrote to the creator saying, “At least invite the kings. Women are also political and communal. Females have as much at stake in ‘community’ as do males; the intersexed people, whether they are intersexed by birth or by other means (hormones, sugeries), may well have more at stake than ‘males’ or ‘females’ regardless of being CD, TG, TS, TV; or gay, straight, bi or pansexual, asexual, monosexual, green, black, blue, bronze, gray, etc.” [x]
The following is published in a 1994 issue of Tradeswomen Magazine; “my approach to the presence of all women in the trades, whether they be lesbian, bi-sexual, transexual, straight, asexual or pansexual is simple: WE'RE HERE! WE'RE THERE! WE'RE EVERYWHERE! GET USED TO IT!” [x]
A 1994 issue of San Francisco and the Bay Area on the Loose had an article that mentioned the gay community and adds “(and the straight, bisexual, asexual, transsexual, and pansexual communities)”. [x]
The 1994 book Human Sexuality defined pansexual as “lacking highly specific sexual orientations or preferences; open to a range of sexual activities”. [x]
Rod Stewart is described as having a quality in his voice that was “almost pansexual in its allure and charm” in the 1994 book Pioneers of Rock and Roll: 100 Artists Who Changed the Face of Rock. [x]
In the 1994 book The Very Inside: An Anthology of Writings by Asian & Pacific Islander Lesbian and Bisexual Women edited by Sharon Lim-Hing, Darlena Bird Jimenes stated, “In all of my work there is a gay-affirmative energy; a space that is multi-sexual, ambigendered. A place to explore the pansexual, the intrasexual. I become the gender transcender. Within all of this, I have begun to actualize the marriage of my artistic voice and my awakening political voice. Where do I go from here?”. [x]
In a 1994 issue of Sinister Wisdom: Lesbians & Religion Diane Anderson explained, “my sexuality is the final thread — the one that weaves together my cultural spirituality, my paganism, my self. I am a femme to my genderfucked butch girlfriend. I am pansexual. I can relate to both the masculine and feminine.” [x]
In the 1994 book Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate Philosophy of Sex, author Sallie Tisdale mentioned a friend who “likes to call both gays and straights ‘monosexuals,’ but isn’t particularly fond of any of the new terms being promoted by an increasingly visible bisexual movement - words like pansexual and omnisexual.” [x]
In the 1994 book Gay & Lesbian Literatue, it’s said that James Broughton, who lived from 1913 to 1999, “describes himself as a pansexual androgyne, not a bisexual nor a homosexual nor a heterosexual”. [x]
In a 1994 issue of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, Liz Highleyman described pansexual, polysexual, and omnisexual as “newer labels with less baggage” than queer in the letter “Bisexual Liberation”. [x]
Keanu Reeves is described as having a “pansexual” affect and appeal in the Chicago Tribune in 1994. [x]
The 1994 dissertation “An Historical View of Twentieth-Century American Society as Witnessed Through Musical Theatre 1927-Present” described the character Woof from the late 1960s musical Hair as “seemingly gay or pansexual”. [x]
Cuir Underground, published from 1994-1998, was a magazine for the “pansexual kink community”. [x]
The labels chosen by women interviewed for “Lavender, Lipstick, Labryses and Leather: Lesbian Fashion and the Politics of Exclusion” in 1994 varied, “actual self-identification of the women I interviewed included lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, dyke, and queer”. [x]
Joyce Trebilcot admitted to not “directly addressing other sexual identities, such as pansexual or omnisexual” in Dyke Ideas: Process, Politics, Daily Life in 1994. [x]
A Circlet Press Bookshop's mail order flyer from 1994 read “SM Leather Fetishes Bodyart Gay Lesbian Bi Het Pansexual”. [x]
Brazilian musician Renato Russo discussed his sexuality in 1994, “Faço parte de uma minoria, que não é tão minoria assim, ainda mais neste país. Me considero pansexual, mas sou o que as pessoas chamariam de homossexual.” [x]
The 1995 book Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions by Naomi S. Tucker mentioned pansexuality a few times; a bisexual activist named Cynthia Slater who died of AIDS is noted for having founded the Society of Janus, a “pansexual SM support group” and the first SM group in the nation to march in a gay pride parade.
Liz Highleyman stated “some proponents of sexual and gender liberation have coined terms such as ‘pansexual’ and ‘omnisexual’ to describe their aspirations” but notes, “no terms for this movement has so far achieved common usage”. Liz went on to declare “unlike the mainstream segment of the gay and lesbian movement, bisexuals have not restricted the project of deconstructing identity-based categories to academicians. Rather, bisexual both within and outside the organized bi movement have made this project an integral part of how we make sense of the world and live our lives as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, ‘just sexual,’ androgynous, genderfucked, bi-gendered, non-gendered, gender-indifferent, or ‘don’t label me’ human beings seeking to create communities with those with whom we find common cause, even (or maybe especially!) if our labels don’t happen to coincide.”
Mykel Board suggested using pansexual to describe an “everyone is bisexual” theory where monosexualities are limiting, undesirable, and destructive, so sexuality should be open and fluid and therefore even the potential to be attracted to more than one gender makes one bisexual, saying that “those who feel uncomfortable about using bisexual in a new way might try this term to see if it makes things easier”, and admitted, “I choose not to use it because, to me, it sounds too jargony and confusing”.
Robin Sweeney said “a number of lesbian women and gay men I met did SM together, but did not consider themselves bisexual. They were simply doing what has come to be called ‘pansexual play.’” Jill Nagle said radical bisexuality “must embrace a future with gender plurality as well as orientational fluidity” and noted that labels such as “pansexual and polymorphously perverse may reflect this view”.
Sunfrog stated that voices within the bi movement are “breaking down border once again” in the “promising existence” of “new terms and identities”, such as “omnisexual, pansexual, and polysexual” and that these labels as indicate an “expanding consciousness” regarding sexuality and say “the limitations of language and the existing terms” do not encompass the full scope of our sexualities. [x]
Race Bannon talks about community in a 1995 article from Cuir Underground, titled “Building Kink Community”, and stated, “in spite of the pansexual movement taking place among a small group of us, most gays, lesbians and heterosexuals would generally prefer to play and socialize with their own kind.” [x]
In “...And Ne’er the Twain Shall Meet?” in a 1995 issue of Cuir Underground, Veronika Frost stated, “S/M play with more than one gender is common here, and those who engage in such play may call themselves bi, lesbian, gay, het, queer or something else entirely. Rules are less strict about orientation identity and behavior being congruent with each other. ‘Pansexuality’ seems to be increasing in popularity. ‘Cross-orientation play’ (gay men playing with dykes, gays and lesbians playing with heterosexuals and vice versa,etc.) got its start in San Francisco in the early 1980s.” [x]
In a 1996 article from Cuir Underground titled "Kinky Summer Reading", Liz Highleyman describes several “pansexual magazines”, such as Black Leather in Color, Black Sheets, Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly, Boudoir Noir, Diversity, Kinky People Place and Things, Paramour, and The Leather Journal. [x]
In “Kinky Bisexuals” from a 1996 issue of Cuir Underground, Liz Highleyman describes bisexual activist Cynthia Slater’s SM support group Society of Janus as being “pansexual, but widely regarded as predominantly hetero”, and mentioned San Francisco having “several pansexual parties and venues (eg., LINKS, Queen of Heaven) that welcome bisexuals specifically”. [x]
Carol Queen muses about people who “behave” in a bisexual way, but don’t claim the word bsiexual, in a 1996 article in Cuir Underground, admitting to sympathy for the use of the pansexual, metasexual, or “just sexual”, and agreed that it’s “inappropriate to co-opt another person’s right to name herself or himself, to come out at his/her own pace, to embrace a label that feels descriptive of their deep sexual truths” but admits to being tempted to do it all the time in regard to people they feel are bisexual but are denying it. [x]
The 1996 book Tales from the Clit which explored the “female experience of pornography” included the perspective of a 35 year old who identifies as pansexual. [x]
The call for submissions section of the 11th issue of bisexual magazine Anything That Moves in 1996 stated “ATM is particularly interested in work by bi/pan/or-similar-sexuals, people of color, transgender- or transsexual-identified, those who are differently abled, and those challenged by AIDS or HIV, as well as material not previously published and/or from new or unpublished writers.” [x]
In a 1997 issue of Anything That Moves, Alejandra Sarda discussed labels, stating “I would still feel more comfortable with calling myself ‘pansexual.’” But added, “the problem with being ‘pansexual’ was the lonliness”, explaining, “if I wanted to connect with others who felt as I do, I had to speak a common language. Connecting with other bisexuals was of key importance to me, so I started calling myself ‘bisexual.’” [x]
Comatonse in 1997 described “pansexual and transgender communities” as “rejecting the heterosexual/homosexual paradigm in favor of a multiplicity of identities, and for whom concepts of identity are more openly related to the complication and/or subversion of cultural norms”. [x]
The 1997 book PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality by Carol Queen and Lawrence Schimel has a section titled “Don’t Fence Me In: Bi-/Pan-/Omni-Sexuals” and the introduction stated, “Twenty years ago, identity seemed self-evident” that there were two genders and two sexualities, and “bisexuals and transsexuals were suspect” because their positions on the sexual and gender spectrums challenged common beliefs about sexuality and gender, such as “biology is destiny”. It went on to say, “Bisexuals never shut up and went away. Omnisexuals and pansexuals began to dot the landscape. [...] Anyone with eyes and a brain could see categories breaking down, assumptions rupturing, clear-cut identities going the way of the Berlin Wall.” [x]
Queer Theory: An Introduction by Annamarie Jagose, 1997, stated “This ‘queering’ of lesbian and gay studies has been the subject of violent debate. Some claim that it radically erodes the last traces of an oppressive gender coherence, whereas others criticise its pan-sexuality as reactionary, even unfeminist.” [x]
Transgender Care in 1997 described “pansexual attractions” as “a liberating and newly coined reference to individuals who are primarily attracted to all individuals and all sexes”. [x]
A flyer in a 1997 issue of The Emily advertised a queer art show, saying “Any queer can put work in this show! Go on, give it a try! Express yourself: About your life as a lesbian, gay, two-spirited, bisexual, intersexed, transgendered, queer of color, queer with a disability, pansexual. The possibilities are infinite.” [x]
"San Francisco’s Leather Week" in Cuir Underground in 1997 described Grey Hankie Night, a social for bondage enthusiasts, as a “pansexual event”, meaning it's “open to all genders and orientations”. [x]
In a 1997 issue of Cuir Underground, must see places for kinky travelers are detailed, including a pansexual play party hosted by a leather/SM group in Vancouver, women-specific and mixed-gender pansexual groups in Austin, and a New York club for pansexual perverts. [x]
In the 1997 book, Ms. Mentor’s Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia by Emily Toth, the question “Isn’t everyone, in reality, bisexual (or pansexual)?” is posed. [x]
In the 1997 book, Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, it’s stated that “before colonialism forced the (re)construction of heterosexuality from a European Christian perspective, sexual iconographic displays of same-sex unions and multiple sexual configurations were commonly revered as deities alongside representations of shakti, active feminine strength. As noted in the film, British colonizing soldiers destroyed such images in temples in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, much of this iconographic testimony is being uncovered by lesbian feminist historians. Homosexuality, pansexuality, and bisexuality are embedded in Indian culture in music and in a culturally rich tradition of the celebration of erotic energies that prevail in modern South Asian culture.” [x]
In 1998, the glam rock era is described in The Advocate as “embracing nonconformity, willing to be bisexual, pansexual, and shocking with lipstick, eye shadow, or attitude”. [x]
David Bowie is described as having “dramatically presided over the glittery, pansexual pop utopia” in the Eugene Register-Guard in 1998. [x]
Liz Highleyman wrote an article titled “Pansexuals ‘r’ us” in a 1998 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, reviewing Carol Queen’s book The Leather Daddy and the Femme and referring to it as “highly pansexual”. [x]
Liz Highleyman discusses a bisexual conference in a 1998 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, noting that a keynote speaker said, “When we say unity, we don’t mean uniformity...to acknowledge our differences is not fragmentation or divisiveness.” and that an activist noted “many young people with attractions to both men and women reject the bisexual label as too confining, and instead prefer labels such as ‘pansexual’ — or no labels at all.” [x]
The 1998 book, Looking Queer by Dawn Atkins, includes an essay from Raven Haldera, a “pansexual, intersex, F2M” editor, writer, and activist. [x]
The study "The Politics of Bisexual/Biracial Identity" from 1999 stated bisexuality is “also known as pansexuality or ambisexuality” and one of the interviewed people explained of their sexuality: “‘bi’ kind of implies a duality, and popular belief is that you're into boys or into girls. And so I am bisexual because I am pansexual. But being pansexual does not make me bisexual.” [x]
In a 1999 issue of The Catalyst, a reader wrote a letter to the editor criticizing the suggestion that queer sex should be discussed at a separate talk from straight sex saying, “and what about bisexual-, omnisexual-, and pansexual-identified people? (Pan- and omni-sexual are identifications many people embrace who recognize that gender expressions can exist beyond the two choices presented by the heteronormative binary.) Should they, as a marginalized group of people, have to go to two separate talks to meet their needs?” and points out “Moreover, many people that are questioning their sexuality and/or are closeted may not feel comfortable attending a sex talk that is just for Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Queer, Pansexual, Omnisexual, and/or Transgender students.” Another article claims that bisexual has been “replaced” by pansexual and omnisexual “by the movement”. [x]
Pansexual is listed alongside bisexual and asexual in a 1999 issue of Journal of Women and Social Work as suggested identities to include in future research that examines the conflict between sexual identity and religious upbringing. [x]
Pansexual is defined as “having sexual desires, interests, and behavior with all genders, sexual orientations, and persuasions" in 1999 in The Survivor’s Guide to Sex. It’s explained further as being a term people embrace “in an attempt to broaden the categories of gay and straight, man and woman, S/M and vanilla”. [x]
“Pansexuality and the Law” is a 1999 essay that examines how the concept of pansexuality “simplifies communication and provides a useful tool for understanding that sexuality includes more than just three subcategories: heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, and deconstructs the stereotypical interrelation between biological sex and sexual behavior” and how “adding another conceptual term to our lexicon could improve the way we analyze and discuss issues involving gender, sexuality, and the law”. [x]
Pansexual was mentioned in a 1999 episode of Sex and the City, “Was It Good For You?”. Samantha explained that 2000 “won’t be about sexual labels, it’ll be about sexual expression. It won’t matter if you’re sleeping with men or women. It’ll be about sleeping with individuals. Soon everyone will be pansexual. It won’t matter if you’re gay or straight.” after two gay men ask her to have sex with them. [x]
A 1999 article in the Journal of Lesbian Studies, “To Love Women, or To Not Love Men: Chronicles of Lesbian Identification”, interviewed a woman who stated, “the majority of us are not only bisexual or pansexual, but the majority of us change over time.” [x]
In 1999, Anne Killpack wrote an editorial in the 19th issue of the bisexual magazine Anything That Moves about labels. In it, she stated, “whether you call yourself bisexual, polysexual, multisexual, pansexual, me-sexual or refuse to be labeled altogether, if you are like me and find people attractive regardless of their sex or gender, then we need you.” [x]
The Concise Oxford Dictionary in 1999 defined pansexual as “not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity. A person who is sexually inclusive in this way.” [x]
In the 1999 book Bisexuality: A Critical Reader edited by Merl Storr, it’s noted that some writers and activists have “rejected” the term bisexuality “in favour of what they feel to be less loaded terms” such as pansexual and pansensual, due to the “binarism implied by the ‘bi’ in bisexuality”. [x]
Tumblr user “intersex-ionality” shared their personal experience regarding pansexual becoming an identity label in the late 1990s. In their post, they detailed the “corruption of bi” (which was when “‘bi means 2’ became the dominant interpretation” of bisexuality) and how there were two responses to that; reclaiming and redefining bisexual as “2 or more” as well as making “something new, something that would be self defined rather than reclaimed from medical studies, and that would be clearer and more transparent even in its basic design”. According to them, that’s how pansexual “rose to prominence” and that they haven't seen evidence of pansexual before this, but that if it did exist prior, “then this political context is why it became a Big Deal rather than staying a niche concept”.
They went on to explain that “even though at this point bisexual has mostly been cleansed of the horrible debacle that was binarism-and-transphobia-in-the-90s, pansexuality literally is a separate political group from bisexuality. The identity fractured off and became its own unique culture and label. The old claim that ‘bi is transphobic’ is nonsense today, but that claim came from a very real historical problem. The pansexual identity spread as a way to try to combat that problem- and there are people on this very website who will attest to the fact that in the 90s and 00s knowing someone was pan rather than bi was fairly similar to seeing someone wearing a ‘trans ally’ pin today: it marked the potential for a safer relationship.” [x]
In a 1999 issue of Out, Alan Cumming was asked about his sexuality and said, “Bisexual, I suppose... No—pansexual. Some bloke in a newspaper called me a ‘frolicky pansexual sex symbol for the new millennium.’ I thought that was fabulous.” [x]
A 1999 article in the Bay Area Reporter celebrated Society of Janus, a pansexual leather organization, stating the founder Cynthia Slater had one goal; providing an “open, honest, pansexual space to safely explore one’s desires”. [x]
“Calling all trannyfags” by Willy Wilkinson in a 2000 issue of the Bay Area Reporter discussed the need for FTM specific groups and workshops, and concluded with “if you’re a gender-variant person on the FTM spectrum who is exploring or already in the scene, come kick it with other FTMs and talk about what’s real for us. Whether you’re queer, pansexual or questioning, everyone is welcome, regardless of physical status.” [x]
A 2000 article in the Bay Area Reporter by Liz Highleyman stated Cynthia Slater, who founded the Society of Janus and died in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, is “widely regarded as the ‘mother of pansexuality’ for bringing together men and women and people of different sexual orientations within the leather/SM community.” [x]
In 2000, in Gainesville Sun, Little Richard was described as pansexual because he was “not about genders”. [x]
The 2000 book The Bride Wore Leather--and He Looked Fabulous! discussed pansexual and omnisexual as alternatives to bisexual. [x]
“The Epistemic Contract of Bisexual Erasure”, 2000, stated “the bisexual, who is sometimes understood to be ‘pansexual.’” [x]
In 2000, Still Doing It: Women & Men Write about Their Sexuality mentioned “pansexual parties” in which “the only limitations on our sexual activities is mutual consent”. [x]
An article in the Bay Area Reporter in 2000 titled “New pansexual all-night dance club to open” detailed “San Francisco’s first ‘pansexual’ nightclub, marketed toward every sexual orientation”. [x]
A 2000 issue of Bi Women Quarterly stated that Sophie B. Hawkins has “been open about her pansexuality.” [x]
In 2000 in Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology pansexual is considered interchangeable with omnisexual, which is defined as “broadly defined, someone who is emotionally, spiritually, physically, and/or sexually attracted to those of all genders and sexes.” [x]
The 2000 paper, “Introduction to the Symposium, (De)Constructing Sex: Transgenderism, Intersexuality, Gender Identity and the Law”, referred to pansexual and omnisexual as “more transgender-inclusive terms” that are “not tied to the gender binary”. It criticized the implication the terms have that an individual is attracted to “any and everyone” and that they are “all-sexual”. [x]
In the book 2000 book Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith edited by Debra R. Kolodny, Angel Threatt stated “I have identified myself at different times as lesbian, as bisexual, as pansexual, as asexual, and all of these things have been true. But I believe that we must be careful not to allow the labels we adopt to separate us one from another even within the GLBT community.” and Ellen Terris Brenner discussed the inclusivity of a “polyamorous pansexual contingent” of a Seattle leather/kink community, “the pansexual subcommunity was especially fascinating to me as a bisexual person because of its diversity. Within it were individuals who identified as straight and as gay or lesbian as well as numerous bisexuals. A number of these folks also happened to be transgendered persons, male-to-female and female-to-male. Further, many of these people were happy to share BDSM ‘play’ with each other regardless of the gender or sexual orientations of the persons involved. This is not to say there weren’t problems and misunderstandings-no community is immune to those. Yet I could think of few other sectors of the queer community where that broad a range of sexualities and genders got along with that high a level of equanimity. I was impressed.” [x]
An ad placed in the Bay Area Reporter in 2001 paid for by 30 queer/queer affirming organizations listed queer terms from A to Z, including omnisexual, pansexual, and polysexual, among a lot of others, notes it's not an exhaustive list, and states, “However you identify, we welcome you in the spirit of Stonewall, inclusion & celebration”. [x]
An article in The Advocate in 2001 discussed the rise in people identifying as pansexual, and labels other than lesbian. The author of the article looked down on those labels, which they described as being modern, because they interpreted them as implying older labels are passe; “Hey, c’mon, it’s modern. Anyways, unity was our theme! Still, as talk of trannies and pannies excited the crowd, I felt compelled to interject a warning against the fashionable labels that seem to imply our old ways of being are just passe.” Note: this is the oldest use of “pannie” I have come across. [x]
In the 2001 article “Bisexuals and BDSM: Bisexual People in a Pansexual Community in the Journal of Bisexuality” explored the acceptance of bisexuality in BDSM communities that are known as pansexual for being inclusive of all sexualities. The term “pansexual” in this context indicates that it “truly doesn’t matter to anyone what the gender of one’s play partner is”. His findings showed that while people in BDSM were open to bisexuality and pansexuality, personal biases prevented the active use of those labels. [x]
Pansexual is defined as “lacking highly specific sexual orientations or preferences; open to a range of sexual activities” in Human Sexuality by Susan Bunting in 2001. [x]
Pansexual is defined as “a term used by some who self-identify that they are attracted to, and may form sexual and romantic relationships with, someone regardless of that person's gender-identity or genitalia” in NAADAC's LGBTQ Terminology document in 2001. [x]
3% of the participants in the “Los Angeles Transgender Health Study” of 2001 identified as pansexual. [x]
In the Bisexual Resource Guide from 2001 the difficulties of identifying as pansexual are discussed: “for a while, I adopted the seventy-something-year-old term ‘pansexual’ but I got tired of defining the word for people. There are already too many aspects of my life that appear cryptic to most people; why intentionally add another? I want a self-label that brings people closer to me, not one that sends them running for their dictionaries.” [x]
A piece in The Village Voice in 2001 commended the “new breed of young people who prove that genderfucking can still be in-your-face” from the “I-don’t-identify-as-anything-but-me generation” who are “hell-bent on creating on their own labels”. Among the labels they listed are “genderqueers” and “pansexual girls and bois”. This group is described as saying “Fuck Your Gender” and “mean fuck gender altogether”. [x]
Tristan Taormino described herself as being “equal opportunity, I sleep with people of all genders” and went on to say she “identifies with pansexual” in Salon in 2001. [x]
An article in Out in 2001 discussing why “we’re just like you” gay politics doesn’t help people who “blending into a community unobtrusively just isn’t option” interviewed two trans people who identify as pansexual. [x]
In 2001, the Bay Guardian advertised an “overcoming homophobia meeting for youth” encouraging “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, queer, questioning, and straight youth” to attend daily conferences to address homophobia in schools. [x]
An author in the 2001 book Faster Pussycats, Live Girls: After Hours referred to herself as having a “bi/pansexual nature”. [x]
A group listing in the 2001 book Bisexual Resource Guide by Robyn Ochs included "VisiBIlity" a "multi-gender group of bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, bi-affectional folks & their partners, friends, & allies." [x]
A 2002 issue of the Bay Area Reporter had an article about a conference, Overcoming Homophobia Meeting for Youth, which “aims to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, intersex, queer, questioning, and straight supportive youth foster safe schools and promote youth activism”. [x]
The 2002 book Addressing Homophobia and Heterosexism on College Campuses defined omnisexual and pansexual as attraction to “all genders, or a variety of gender identities”. [x]
An ad for BiHealth was in a 2002 issuse of Bi Women Quarterly, stating “BiHealth is the first and only program of its kind in Massachusetts, and one of the only of its kind in the country. BiHealth provides HIV/STD prevention and education and addresses health concerns in a holistic way, whether one identifies as bisexual, bi-curious, bi-questioning, pansexual, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, or no label at all.” [x]
Bisexual Women in the Twenty First Century, 2002, stated “dissatisfaction with existing labels results in the development and exploration of the utility of alternative labels, for example, ‘pansexual,’ ‘polyamorous,’ and ‘polysexual.’” [x]
Bat Chain Puller: Rock & Roll in the Age of Celebrity, 2002, claimed Ziggy Stardust “defined the glitter-rock moment of the early Seventies and took rock theatrics and pansexuality to a new peak”. [x]
In the 2002 book Bears on Bears: Interviews and Discussion, Drew described his sexuality; “I lived for about 12 years in the dyke world, have had partners of many genders and orientations, now usually refer to myself as ‘pansexual,’ for lack of a better term. Gender isn’t the first thing I use to determine attraction (or falling in love, for that matter).” [x]
A Guide to New York’s Fetish Underground from 2002 referred to the Leather Pride Night Auction, started in 1973 that all kinds of “sm/fetish/leather organizations” attend, as a “pansexual event”. [x]
Gendered Sexuality in the Age of AIDS from 2002 described “pansexual” in the context of clubs, as being “more interested in some of the experiences and whatnot, it doesn't make any difference the gender that it’s, you know the play is more important”. [x]
In 2002, Mental Health Issues in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities defined “pansexuality or polysexuality” as “representing the broader sense attraction to persons of diverse gender attributes”. [x]
Fantabulosa from 2002 described a “pansexual event” as “welcoming people of all sexual orientations”. [x]
Counseling Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Substance Abusers from 2002 defined pansexual as “a person whose sexual feelings and behaviors are fluid”. [x]
Humjinsi: A Resource Book on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Rights in India from 2002 suggested pansexual as an alternative to bisexual. [x]
An article from the Guardian in 2002 dove into the “pansexual revolution” where “today’s sexually liberated lovers are simply looking for love wherever they find it”. A psychotherapist sees pansexuality as an extension of the sexual explorations of the 60s and 70s: “What happened then was only the tip of the iceberg. Today’s generation in their twenties and thirties are much freer about their sexual adventures. Now it’s not just about getting pregnant and enjoying sex, it’s about self-discovery through sexual experimentation.” One person interviewed felt her “fluid sexual identity” was about “finding someone you really love”, in which “gender is the least of the problems”. [x]
Susan Pell offered polysexual and pansexual as potential alternatives to bisexual in 2002. [x]
The Counseling Psychologist published a paper in 2002 that stated “sexual orientation identity includes but is not limited to heterosexual, straight, bicurious, bi/straight, heteroflexible, pansexual, questioning, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and queer, among others”. [x]
A 2002 GLBTQ entry titled “Bernhard, Sandra (b. 1955)” suggested Sandra Bernhard is “perhaps best described as ‘pansexual’”. [x]
A 2002 article about bears in The Village Voice stated, “bears didn’t seem that relevant to my life as a pansexual, polyamorous, kinky girl.” [x]
The 2002 “i am pansexual” LiveJournal is said to have coined the term pansexual, created the modern meaning of pansexual, and been the first use of “all genders” as the definition of pansexual, and if you’ve read this far, you know not a single one of those is true. The definition of pansexual given in the first post would have been fine if it stopped at “pansexuals love people of all genders”, but it unfortunately went on to say bisexuality doesn't include transgender or non-binary people. [x]
A glossary of sexuality and gender terms from 2003 defined pansexual as a “person who is fluid in sexual orientation”. [x]
Pansexual was listed as one of the terms that queer encompasses in The Daily Gazette in 2003; “I love it because, in one word, you can refer to the alphabet soup of gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, ‘heteroflexible’, ‘omnisexual’, ‘pansexual’ and all of the other shades of difference in that fluid, changing arena of human sexuality”. [x]
“Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People: A National Perspective” from 2003 defined pansexual as “a person who is open to sexual activity of many kinds; pansexual people espouse their freedom of choice and imagination in sexual relations, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity”. [x]
A 2003 report on substance use in LGBT communities defined pansexual as “anyone romantically and sexually attracted to people of all genders”. [x]
Out in 2003 described Priyanka Mitra as a “self-described out pansexual woman” who “doesn’t believe in the limitations of gender”. [x]
The 2003 book Bisexuality and Transgenderism discussed how “some people have begun to identify as pansexual, omnisexual, genderqueer, or simply queer in an effort to explain a sexuality that is not confined by either/or”. It defines pansexuality as “openness to all forms of sexuality” that bisexuality “cannot be equated with”. A person who identified as pansexual talked about how their experience in the SM community affected their identities; “in the best parts of the SM world, people maintain an openness to new ways to express sex and gender, allowing one both the social space to try new personas, and the pragmatism to adopt whatever works. So I could finally find what worked for me: pansexual, Queer, transsexual, Leatherman.” [x]
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability from 2003 stated “being pansexual means that you identify as having a sexual orientation towards all people potentially”. [x]
The 2003 book Gayle: The Language of Kinks and Queens: a History and Dictionary of Gay Language in South Africa defined pansexual as “a person interested in all kinds of sex”. [x]
Social Change, Mental Health, and the Evolution of Gay Male Identities from 2003 mentioned “pansexual” men who “like sex and do not care whether their partners are men or women”. [x]
An article titled “Diverse identities often emerge from leather community ideals” by Zak Szymanski in a 2003 issue of the Bay Area Reporter described the leather community’s part in the growing visibility of nontraditional full-time identities or relationship roles, “from the queer ‘bois’ to those who orientations are ‘pansexual’ to the ‘daddy/girl’ couples”; “in many ways, people with such identities who can live comfortably in their own communities have the leather community to thank”. Regarding pansexual specifically, author Dossie Easton said pansexual “which recognizes the range of bodies of identities when it comes to attraction, was first used regularly to refer to certain leather play parties, and has now made it into more common vernacular and is used to describe desire regardless of one’s leather affiliation”. [x]
“Queering Domestic Violence to Straighten Out Criminal Law” from 2003 mentioned pansexual in a list of sexualities transgender people can be. [x]
A 2003 paper, “Improving the Access and Quality of Public Health Services for Bisexuals”, noted that some participants identified as pansexual. [x]
A paper, "Trans Health Project", from 2003 conflated pansexual, polysexual, polyamorous, and polygamous; “Polysexual/Polyamorous: In the past, known as ‘pansexual.’ An orientation that does not limit affection, romance or sexual attraction to any one gender or sex. Polysexuals are characteristically also polygamous.” [x]
Another 2003 paper, “The Transgendered Patient: A Practitioner’s Guide”, made the claim that “ambisexual” and “pansexual” are alternatives to bisexual that those in the transgender community prefer. [x]
In a 2003 forum thread about how to tell if your child is a goth “is a homosexual, bisexual, or ‘pansexual’” was on the list, and another member went on to define pansexual as “of diverse sexual expression”. [x]
An article from 2003 in Utne discussed bisexuality and sexual fluidity, and offers pansexual and polysexual as alternative labels. [x]
A 2003 article from Riverfront Times about drag kings offered “homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, autosexual” as labels for sexual orientation. [x]
A sexologist on a health site in 2003 responded to a question from someone questioning their sexuality after watching porn and listed “pansexual, non-preferential, sexually fluid, ambisexual, or omnisexual” as alternative labels for bisexual. [x]
In 2003, the pansexual Wikipedia page was a bisexual redirect page. [x]
A 2004 issue of the Bay Area Reporter advertised a gathering for the leather community that said, “queer, lesbian, gay, fag, dyke, genderqueer, genderfuckers, genderbenders, trans, MTF, FTM, bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, questioning, intersexed — anyone left out? Free.” [x]
An article in The Village Voice in 2004 described a German sex club as pansexual because “anything goes”. [x]
Michael C. Hall described his 1999 role as Emcee from Cabaret as a “pansexual party boy” in The Advocate in 2004. [x]
A 2004 thesis, “The Gay Games”, discussed “a much broader sexual liberation” which included “the questioning of monolithic categories homosexual and heterosexual in favour of a more bi or pansexuality”. [x]
“Sexuality Education in Schools”, 2004, listed pansexual, non-preferential, sexually fluid, ambisexual, omnisexual as alternative labels that many people prefer to call themselves instead of bisexual, which is defined as “sexual and emotional attractions and feelings for people of different genders”. [x]
The LGBT Resource Center at UC Riverside put together a terminology sheet that defined pansexual as “a person who is sexually attracted to all or many gender expressions” in 2004. [x]
A 2004 GLBTQ entry titled “Butch-Femme” stated “in recent years, ‘pansexual’ and ‘polysexual’ have joined ‘bisexual’ as terms that indicate women’s attractions to more than one gender”. [x]
Another 2004 GLBTQ entry titled “San Francisco” described Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac as “pansexual literary figures”. [x]
“Transgender Identities, Intimate Relationships and Practices of Care” from 2004, surveyed 30 people, one of whom identified as “queer, pansexual”. [x]
An SFGATE article defined pansexual as “someone attracted to people of multiple genders” in 2004. [x]
A user left a comment on a blog post about queer identity in 2004, stating that terms like pansexual and omnisexual “lack the ability to convey their non-gendered meaning a lot of the time because people are generally unfamiliar with them”. [x]
A 2004 Publishers Weekly book review of The Little White Car by Danuta de Rhodes described the character Estelle as a “gorgeous, pansexual heartbreaker”. [x]
In the thesis, “Queering Polyamory: Configurations, Public Policy, and Lived Experiences”, from 2005, pansexual (as well as omnisexual) was defined as “exhibiting or implying many forms of sexual expression”. [x]
In 2005, the Girl’s Best Friend Foundation & Advocates for Youth made a toolkit on creating a safe space for GLBTQ youth that defined pansexual as “a term of choice for people who do not self-identify as bisexual, finding themselves attracted to people across a spectrum of genders”. [x]
In the 2005 book Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community by William Burleson, an interviewee said they are “thrilled to death that I’m queer or bisexual or pansexual”. [x]
The 2005 book, Methods & Theories of Art History, stated “although there has been an increasing number of essays on lesbian and gay artists and images, there are still few full-Iength studies of these subjects, and work on transgender, intersex, gender-blending, bisexuality, pansexuality and other gender identities and sexualities has yet to emerge fully”. [x]
A 2005 issue of The Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies’ journal, Angles, about the generational divide in the LGBT community discussed how youth are more likely than adults to “eschew traditional, dichotomous understandings” of sexuality and “easily claim a bisexual or pansexual identity”, as well as view their sexuality as “more fluid”, or a “spectrum”, have partner choices “defined not by the sex of the other individual but by gender-free qualities”, and have identities that are “flexible over time”. [x]
Pansexual’s use in kink communities was defined as “open to all genders and orientations” in a 2005 book by Jack Rinella. [x]
In the 2005 episode of Will & Grace, “The Fabulous Baker Boy”, Will and Karen find out they’re sleeping with the same guy, who is pansexual; “I don’t believe in gay or straight. I refuse to limit pleasure. I like to think of myself as pansexual.” [x]
A 2005 Urban Dictionary definition of “humansexual” stated it’s “identical” to pansexual, in that “another person’s gender is irrelevant in regards to having an affinity for them”. [x]
In 2005, pansexual got its own “stub” Wikipedia page, meaning there wasn’t the amount of information and detail expected from an encyclopedia. The page defined pansexual as “a sexual orientation, distinct from bisexuality and characterized by potential aesthetic attraction, romantic love and sexual desire for anybody, including those people who don’t fit into the gender binary of male/female implied by bisexual attraction.” [x]
In the 2005 anthology Getting Bi edited by Robyn Ochs, pansexual (and queer and omnisexual) was mentioned multiple times throughout the book as an alternative mspec label, some of the authors mentioned using both bi and pan. The introduction specifically addressed the diverse labels and experiences within the bi community, stating “Some identify as queer, pansexual, or omnisexual. Some publicly acknowledge attractions and/or relationships with people of more than one sex while simultaneously claiming the right to identify as heterosexual, lesbian or gay. Some deliberately use labels strategically, identifying differently in different social contexts. And some eschew labels altogether. In fact, as we debated possible titles, we considered subtitling this book ‘Voices of Bisexuals and Other Folks Along the Sexuality Spectrum,’ recognizing that the word bisexual cannot possibly encompass all whose identities challenge the binaries of gay and straight.” [x]
Heath Ledger was described in Gainesville Sun as a “pansexual art-house heartthrob” in 2006. [x]
In 2006 in The Advocate, Tom and Mike of Dangerous Muse who “both avoid placing a definitive flag anywhere on the Kinsey scale of sexuality”, are described as being a “product of a growing pansexual New York City nightlife”. [x]
A 2006 article for New York Magazine examined the “cuddle puddle” of teenagers at Stuyvesant High School, who described themselves as “polysexual, ambisexual, pansexual, pansensual, polyfide, bi-curious, bi-queer, fluid, meteroflexible, heteroflexible, heterosexual with lesbian tendencies or just sexual”, and noted that the terms are “designed less to achieve specificity than to leave all options open”. [x]
In the 2006 book, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Queer Culture, James Broughton is again said to have “eschewed the labels homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual” and described himself as “a pansexual androgyne”. The book also mentioned how a “panopoly of labels” have been applied to David Beckham, such as “new man, gay, straight, narcissist, metrosexual, pansexual, family man, and more recently love-rat”. Also, Sandra Bernhard is again said to be “best described as ‘pansexual.’” x]
Greta Christina posted a comment on her blog post in 2006 saying, “I think sexual identity is about more than that. It’s emotional, it’s cultural, it’s political. Maybe in a perfect world it wouldn’t be, but it is. And I think that’s one of the reasons that everyone has different definitions of words like gay, straight, bi, lesbian, pan-sexual, etc.” [x]
A 2006 sexuality and gender guide defined pansexual as “someone attracted to people of any gender at all”. [x]
A teen in 2006 episode of True Life, “I Have Gay Parents” identified as pansexual. [x]
In 2006, “it is sometimes described as the capacity to love a person romantically, irrespective of gender. Some pansexuals go so far as to claim that gender and sex are meaningless to them.” was added to the pansexual Wikipedia page. And by the end of the year, “sometimes referred to as omnisexuality” was added. [x] [x]
In 2006, users on the “i am pansexual” LiveJournal were asked how they would explain pansexual to someone who had never heard of the term before, and among the answers were; “gender is not an issue”, “being open to loving anybody, no matter what their gender or biological sex may be”, “attraction to a variety of genders and sexes”, and “I am a girl who loves people irrespective of their gender, perceived or otherwise”.
One user put a disclaimer on their answer about how there are “many personalized definitions of pansexuality” and that their answer is just how they “identify with the term”, which I feel is important to recognize. As with bisexuality, there are different ways pansexual people will define or explain their pansexuality that makes sense to them and is relevant to their personal, unique experiences and understandings of queerness. No single pansexual person’s definition is The Definition of pansexual, nor can it be used as “proof” of pansexuality being problematic. [x]
The 2006 book MuscleHead Revolution discussed how the “post-gay” generation have adopted and created new language for themselves that is “designed less to achieve specificity than to leave all options open”, and the examples given are “polysexual, ambisexual, pansexual, pansensual, polyfide, bi-curious, bi-queer, fluid, metroflexible, heteroflexible, heterosexual with lesbian tendencies-or ‘just sexual.’” [x]
The Sage Handbook for Research in Education in 2006 mentioned how educators “often teach students who might not share the same category of sexual identity” and that students may identify as “straight, lesbian. gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, intersex, or pansexual” and defined pansexual as “those for whom gender is not the predominant factor that determines the possibility for intimate relations or partnerships”. [x]
Gender-blind attraction is discussed in Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia, 2006, and it’s questioned whether bisexual or pansexual is the appropriate term for it; “Some bisexuals’ attractions, however, appear to be gender ‘blind’; that is, they are attracted to individuals independently of sex- and gender-linked attributes. Their sexual attractions are based on generally human traits; the other’s character or personality, interests and hobbies, projects and goals. In gender-blind attraction, the gender of one’s partner is irrelevant to sexual object choice. The term ‘bisexuality,’ then, might not be the most appropriate label for this sexual orientation, since it is clearly outside the tripartite division-bisexuality, homosexuality, heterosexuality-all of whose members presuppose dichotomous sex and gender and classify persons and their acts in terms of sex-specific or gender-specific attraction. People with a gender-blind or ‘pansexual’ orientation are open not only to relations with men and women as traditionally figured in our society but also to relations with individuals who identify themselves as some combination of man/woman or some alterntive gender entirely. Pansexuality need not presuppose a strict dichotomy in biological sex but embraces emotional, affective, and sexual relationships with natal males and females as well as intersexed and transexual individuals.” [x]
Understanding Human Sexuality, 2006, defined pansexual as being “attracted to people regardless of their gender”. [x]
An article titled “The Dangers of Labeling Sexual Identity” in a 2006 issue of the University of Windsor’s student paper, The Lance, mentioned how “some people are so aware of their attractions for others that they use alternative identities such as ‘pansexual’ which refers to a person’s attraction to someone else that is not based on gender”. [x]
The 2006 paper, “Apparent Lesbian Performances, Heteroflexibility and Sexual Identity: Fluid Sexuality Among Young Women in Public Places” stated that the women who participated identified as “heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian or used an alternative sexual identity like 'pansexual.’” [x]
The 2006 book Bisexual Women: Friendship and Social Organization by Marlene Paz Galupo listed “pan-, multi-, omnisexual” as alternatives to bisexual. [x]
The 2007 article “Gender Nonconformity, Homophobia, and Mental Distress in Latino Gay and Bisexual Men” in The Journal of Sex Research noted that “pansexual” is among the “other” sexualities of the participants of the study. [x]
In 2007, the pansexual Wikipedia page was adjusted to, “Pansexuality (sometimes referred to as omnisexuality) is a sexual/affectional orientation characterized by a potential aesthetic attraction, romantic love and/or sexual desire for people of any sex or gender”, and then shortly changed to “the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love and/or sexual desire for people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex”. Noting the shift from the previous use of “for anybody” to “people of any sex or gender" to “regardless of gender or sex”. [x] [x]
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity in 2007 discussed “unconventional” or “nonconforming” gender and sexual expressions and identities; “the notion that certain gender identities and expressions are inherently ‘subversive’ or ‘transgressive’ can be seen throughout the queer/trans community, where drag and gender-bending are routinely celebrated, where binary-confounding identities such as ‘boy-identified-dyke’ and ‘pansexual trannyfag’ have become rather commonplace.” [x]
Dialogues on Difference: Studies on Diversity in the Therapeutic Relationship in 2007 stated “many contemporary sexual minorities reject the LGB label and make use of such terms as queer, gender queer, pansexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, fluid, polyamorous, intergender, agendered, and questioning-to name just a few.” [x]
The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life: A Comprehensive Resource for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students and Their Allies, 2007, defined omnisexual as “individual who is sexually, romantically, or emotionally attracted to an individual of any gender. Also referred to as pansexual” and then elaborated in the pansexual definition that it’s “attraction to people of any sex or gender” and clarifies that it includes trans, genderqueer, and intersex people. [x]
Doing It Right, 2007, mentioned that “lately teens are using more words than ever to define themselves-some I’ve heard recently include heteroflexible, flexual, bicurious, questioning, pansexual, and genderqueer.” [x]
The author of Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping with Three, 2007, used pansexual as an identifier alongside bisexual, trisexual, “pervert extraordinaire”, and queer. “Radical hipsters” are said to “flaunt pansexual identities”. And while pansexuality is defined as being a “step beyond bisexual” and an “all-inclusive sexual orientation which includes people who don’t fit into the gender binary of male-female”, it is also defined as “the ability to get the hots for someone regardless of gender”. [x]
Pansexual is explained as “open to partnering with all genders” in the 2007 paper “Encountering Stereotype Threat in the Workplace”. [x]
In the 2007 paper “Gender Variance and Mental Health: A National Survey of Transgender Trauma History, Posttraumatic Stress, and Disclosure in Therapy”, pansexual was the most common word used amongst participants who selected “other” as their sexual orientation. [x]
Respondents involved in the 2007 paper “A Personal Construct Psychology Perspective on Sexual Identity” used a plethora of different labels, including bisexual-queer, bisexual lesbian, gay bisexual, bisexual-identified gay man, lesbian-identified bisexual, heterosexual-identified bisexual, pansexual, pansensual, polysexual, ambisexual, queer, omnivorous, unisexual, humansexual, bi-dyke, bi-lovable, multi-queer, normal, and sexual. [x]
S.E.X. by Heather Corinna, 2007, defined pansexual as “someone who is or can be attracted to any gender or sex, though not necessarily both at the same time” and clarified that pansexual doesn’t inherently mean polyamory, need or desire one partner of each or every gender at the same time, missing one gender or sex when they’re with a partner of another, 50/50 split attraction. [x]
Healing Sex by Staci Haines, 2007, defined pansexual as “having sexual desires, interests, and behavior with all genders, sexual orientations, and persuasions. Many people embrace this term in an attempt to broaden the categories of gay and straight, man and woman, S/M and vanilla.” [x]
A WordPress blog, A Feminist Theory Dictionary, posted about the term queer in 2007 and mentioned how activists use it as an “inclusive word for gay/lesbian/transgender/pansexual/intersex/asexual/other non hetero-normative communities”. [x]
A 2007 article on Prince's Super Bowl half-time show controversy quoted Stephen Colbert, who said “They knew that they were dealing with a lustful, pansexual rock ‘n’ roll deviant” on his show. [x]
In a 2008 issue of Bi Women Quarterly, Ellyn Ruthstrom discussed labels in “Detroit Gathering a Good Place for Bi Bonding” stating, “In most of these meetings people choose identify in several different ways - bisexual, pansexual, queer, trans - and the issue of what to call our community popped up time and time again. I’ve always found bi people to be very uncomfortable with labels generally; we just hate boxes. I really appreciate that, at the same time I want to feel a sense of community through some unifying term. As someone who has identified as bi and bisexual for over 20 years it’s difficult to imagine taking on a different term. Yet when I met these amazing younger activists who didn't want to use the term bi I wanted to find some way to bond with them.” [x]
An interviewee for the 2008 book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire by Lisa M. Diamond stated, “For me pansexual is looking past the two genders. I don’t know if it originated from the trans community, but that’s where I think a good portion of it is....I mean, if I’m trans and I’m dating someone, what does that make me? Or what if I’m dating someone who is trans and doesn’t identify as male or female? What is my sexual orientation? So I think it’s more about saying it doesn’t really make a difference what their gender is; it’s more about who you’re attracted to.” and the author notes that “some people-particularly women-reject conventional lesbian/gay/bisexual identity labels in favor of alternative labels such as ‘queer,’ ‘questioning,’ or ‘pansexual.’” [x]
Faeries, Bears, and Leathermen by Peter Hennen, 2008, explained the use of pansexual in leather/BDSM communities, stating that the pansexual is more interested in the experiences, the play, than the gender of who they’re participating with; “it doesn’t make any difference the gender” and compared it to gay men’s clubs where men want to participate with other men, rather than “just another person”. It is also noted that it’s an “emerging and very controversial sexual culture, even among some leathermen”. [x]
In 2008, a user on the “iampansexual” LiveJournal said “being pansexual only means that gender and gender identity do not have any influence on your attraction to another person” and when someone pointed that gender can influence pansexual people’s attraction, they agreed and corrected themselves, saying gender “is not necessarily a deciding factor”. [x]
The article "1950-2008 Remembering Hanon Reznikov: The Living Theatre loses a mainstay" in a 2008 issue of Fifth Estate mentioned that Hanan identified as pansexual. [x]
A participant in the 2008 study, “Suicidality and Self-Harm Among Sexual Minorities in Japan”, identified as pansexual and explained it as “open to different gender identities in her sexual partners”. [x]
Elliot Long in Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics, 2008, said “as a person outside of the male vs. female gender binary, I struggle to assert myself in a gay vs. straight world. I prefer fluid and inclusive sexuality labels like ‘queer,’ ‘pansexual,’ or ‘omnisexual’ to describe myself and my sexuality in order to create space for bodies outside of the binary to be visible and desirable.” [x]
In a 2008 issue of the University of Windsor’s student paper, The Lance, pansexual and omnisexual are described as “a label that is used by people who do not want to identify their sexual orientation as dualistic” and refer to “a person who is attracted to others not for their gender, but for the person they are inside”. It explained “pan” and “omni” refer to “many” and “all”, “indicating the fluidity and multiplicity of attraction and desire”, and went on to say more people are using those identities to “be more inclusive, realizing that they are attracted to more than just the typical male and female genders”. [x]
One of the people interviewed for the book QuerVerbindungen by Victor Canning from 2008 identified as “pansexual genderqueer femme”. [x]
The 2008 book Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino defines pansexual as “attraction to, having sex with, loving, and forming relationships with people of all genders” and also being called polysexual and omnisexual. [x]
Ellyn Ruthstrom discussed labels again in a 2009 issue of Bi Women Quarterly in the article “What’s in a Name: Call Me Bisexual or Call Me..”, discussing how “as the current President of an organization that identifies itself with the b-word, the Bisexual Resource Center, I’ve been becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the word bisexual is not the descriptor of choice of many people who experiences are similar to people who do identify as bisexual” so she asked the people at a conference with bisexual in the title how they identify, and there were various labels they shouted out, “95/5 girl, lesbian-identified bisexual, genderqueer, ambisexual, sexual, no label, AC/DC, pomosexual, trans, heterosexual, homoflexible, queer, pansexual, fembi, bisexual, tomboy, open, heteroflexible, trysexual, and omnisexual.”
People also shared their label choice changes over time, depending on who they're talking who, how much people understand the terms, and how much educating they feel like doing. The article is concluded with the question, “if we call ourselves by different names can we still build a movement together?” and the hope that we can “keep our community strong and vibrant for many years to come” because “people expressed feeling a connection to each other, despite the different terms.” [x]
An article in a 2009 issue of Bi Women Quarterly, “Not Bisexual Enough?”, Tracy detailed her journey with labels, stating "So far, I have gone through the following: mostly lesbian, lesbian-identified bisexual (too wordy), queer, Kinsey 5, fluid, pansexual, and even ‘unlabeled.’” and “the following people, while one could technically label them as ‘bisexual,’ have vastly diverse experiences that need to be acknowledged: ‘lesbians’ who have sex with men, ‘straight women’ who are turned on by girl-on-girl porn, people who are mostly attracted to the same sex, people who are mostly attracted to the opposite sex, those who are attracted to people ‘regardless of gender,’ and so many more.” Tracy concluded, “Clearly, there is a demand for many more labels, but what do we do until then? Perhaps it would be best if we all followed the advice of my father: ‘Stop worrying about what to label yourself. Just do what makes you happy!’ Now, if only I could believe that!” [x]
A respondent in a 2009 survey, “Estimating the size and composition of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population in Britain”, described their sexuality as pansexual, saying “I don’t think that gender expression can be confined to two genders and my attraction is not based on whether someone is male/female or anything else.” [x]
A user on the “i am pansexual” LiveJournal in 2009 said they explain being pansexual as “I like people regardless of their gender (or lack thereof)”. [x]
Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: The New Basics Anthology, 2009, defined pansexual as “a person who has spiritual, emotional, and/or sexual relations with or a physical attraction to members of all sexes and genders”. [x]
Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to End Sexism and Homophobia in Schools, 2009, defined omnisexual as “a person who is attracted to some genders of any sex to varying degrees. The prefix omni comes from the Latin for ‘all’ and indicates the belief that there are many sexes" and pansexual as “a person who is attracted to some genders of all sexes to varying degrees. The prefix ‘pan,’ from the Greek for ‘all,’ and indicates the belief that there are many sexes”. [x]
Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States, 2009, mentioned how bisexuality was redefined to mean attraction to more than one gender, but that others have opted for terms such as “multisexual, omnisexual, or pansexual to call attention to the limitless number of genders to which one can be emotionally, physically, sexually, or spiritually attracted”. [x]
LGBT-Dictionary on Blogspot in 2009 defined pansexuality “or omnisexuality” as “the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire for people, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.” It is then claimed that some pansexuals suggest they’re “gender-blind”, meaning, “gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.” and it is further explained that other pansexuals, “an individual's sex, gender expression, or gender identity can be a key factor of attraction, despite the pansexual individual’s wide range of sex and gender attractions.” [x]
GLSEN's 2009 report “The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nations Schools” found that 12% of transgender students identified their sexual orientation as “other (e.g. queer, questioning, pansexual)” and that compared to non-transgender students, transgender students were “less likely to identify as bisexual and more likely to identify as something other than gay, lesbian, or bisexual (e.g., straight/heterosexual, pansexual)”. [x]
Mia Ocean, a contributor to the 2009 book, Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage, said, “I’m an out and proud bisexual/multisexual/pansexual wommin”. [x]
The 2010 article in the Journal of Bisexuality, “Our Hearts Still Hold These Intimate Connections”, focused on the spirituality and religion of “bisexual, pansexual, and polysexual” people. [x]
Sara de Souza stated in an article in a 2010 issue of Bi Women Quarterly, “I came to understand that my sexuality is more fluid and that I am more pansexual in terms of whom I find myself attracted to.” [x]
Robyn Ochs interviewed Shiri Eisner in 2010 for Bi Women Quarterly. Shiri stated, “I am a 27-year-old female gender queer. I am a feminist, anarchist, vegan, polyamorous, bisexual/pansexual and a sex radical. I do a lot of stuff in general, such as grassroots organizing, academics, journalists writing, and art. I started (and currently organize) the second-ever and only currently active bisexual/pansexual organization in Israel, Panorama - a bi and pansexual feminist community.” and further explained, "These days I identify as both bisexual and pansexual. I think pansexuality is a wonderful word which allows us the opportunity to speak about non-binary genders and sexes, and in some contexts, to emphasize our inclusiveness of them.” [x]
The pan flag was first posted on Tumblr in 2010. Of the colors, the creator said, “Pink, yellow, blue. A strong magenta, a strong gold yellow, and a light cerulean. The pink not too purple, the yellow not too bright, the blue not too cyan. Hex FF1B8D, FFD900, 1BB2FF.” And of the meaning, “Pink and blue, because of their gendered traditions, and yellow, a generally non-gendered colour, to represent nonbinary folks etc.”
The creator also shared some thoughts on the growth of the flag, “I didn’t expect it to take off. It proved popular on Tumblr, and for a few years the flag kept getting added to the Wikipedia ‘pansexual’ page and then removed. Eventually it snowballed and ended up in use well beyond Tumblr. As I’ve got older I’ve realised a lot of people would be interested in knowing this part of modern queer history, and more about modern flag creation in general, and that it’s worth documenting. Not for credit so much as for posterity.” [x]
Queer Question, Clear Answers: The Contemporary Debates on Sexual Orientation, 2010, stated “there is a small but vocal group of individuals who engage in same-sex behaviors and find themselves attracted to same-sex partners that question and reject the terms gay, lesbian, homosexual and bisexual. Some are opting for terms such as unlabeled, pansexual, queerboi, bi-lesbian, polysexual, and so on. Adopting different labels or descriptors serves various purposes for different groups. For some is it a rejection of terms that the individual feels have been pressed on them by a repressive society. Others believe that none of the existing terms quite capture who they are.” [x]
The 2010 research done by the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland, “Transgender People's Experiences of Domestic Abuse in Scotland”, showed that queer and pansexual were the most common sexual orientations among the participants. [x]
The 2010 “National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care” showed that a nearly equal amount of respondents identified as bisexual, “gay, lesbian, same gender attracted”, and “queer/pansexual”. [x]
A 2010 survey on transgender people in Ontario showed that queer, “bisexual or pansexual”, and straight/heterosexual were the most common sexual orientations among participants. [x]
In 2011, Steven Lenius looked back on his 2001 paper about the acceptance of bisexuality in pansexual BDSM communities, and concluded that the pansexual promoting BDSM community helped advance greater acceptance of alternative sexualities. The phrase “bisexual/pansexual/fluid-sexuality” is used. And he stated, “I believe that people both within and outside of the pansexual BDSM community have continued to explore the concept of pansexuality, and also of genderqueerness, and many have found something in these concepts that resonates with them”. [x]
In 2011, the definition on the pansexual Wikipedia page was yet again adjusted; “pansexuality (also referred to as omnisexuality) is a sexual orientation, characterized by the potential for aesthetic attraction, romantic love, or sexual desire towards people of all gender identities and biological sexes”. [x]
An article about bisexuality in the RedEye in 2011 stated that bisexual, queer, hetero-flexible, homo-flexible, pansexual, omnisexual, and bisensual “mean different things to different people” but “to bisexual activists, they’re all members of the bi family.” [x]
A 2011 research paper, “Pansexual Identification in Online Communities”, investigated the different aspects of pansexual self identifications within contemporary online communities. [x]
Shiri Eisner posted a bisexual umbrella image in 2011, which included terms such as pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, fluid, queer, bi-curious, homoflexible/lesbiflexible, and and heteroflexible. An “other bi+ identities” categories also included terms such as biromantic, panromantic, bisensual, pansensual, bidyke, byke, bisexual-lesbian, ambisextrous, anthrosexual, multisexual, genderblind, pomosexual, and “many more”. [x]
Shiri Eisner also posted in 2011 about the differences and similarities between bisexuality and pansexuality, and mentioned how in her experience she has found that “bisexuality comes from a type of political thought based on sexual identity, pansexuality comes from a type of political thought based on gender identity: talk to a bi person about bisexuality, they’ll often talk about sexuality and desire, and focus on biphobia; talk to a pan person about pansexuality, they’ll often talk about transgender and genderqueer identities, and focus on transphobia.” [x]
A WordPress blog post from 2011 defined pansexual as “attraction spanning potentially everyone on the whole continuum of genders”. [x]
The r/pansexual group was created in 2011. [x]
In the 2011 survey, “The Lives of Transgender People”, the majority of the 567 (16%) respondents who marked their sexual orientation as “other” described themselves as pansexual or queer. [x]
An Autostraddle article in 2011 titled “Franky Likes People: Skins UK Episode 507 is a Pansexual Ending to a Very Queer Week of TV” referred to the character Franky on Skins UK as pansexual after she is questioned about her sexuality, if she’s a lesbian or bisexual, to which she explains “I’m not anything. I’m into people.” [x]
A pansexual person explained their sexuality as “It means I’m attracted to people who are attractive, regardless of their gender. As long as I find them attractive, they are attractive.” in a 2011 article about drag queen Morgan McMichaels. [x]
The YouTube channel “Askapansexual” was created in 2011, as a collaboration of “pansexuals and panromantics aimed at educating people about lesser know sexualities and genders”. [x]
“Research into Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality in Adult Learning” from 2011 showed that “pansexual and queer were descriptions used more frequently by those identifying as transgender”. [x]
15% of bisexual respondents from the 2011 study “Working Bi: Preliminary Findings from a Survey on Workplace Experiences of Bisexual People” also identified as pansexual. [x]
Roger from American Dad! said “Oh, my God! Another fey, pansexual, alcoholic nonhuman, I’ve been replaced!” in the 2011 episode “You Debt Your Life”. [x]
In 2011, the 30 Rock character Paul was described as being a “gender dysmorphic bi-genitalia pansexual” in the episode, “Respawn”. [x]
Queerphc on WordPress posted about pansexuality in 2012, defining it, addressing myths/misconceptions, and touching on the overlap between pansexual and bisexual. The posts defined pansexuality as “the potential attraction to people of all gender identities and expressions” and on a personal note, adds that gender/sex are “just not a deciding factor for me”. [x]
A 2012 LGBTQ survey defined pansexual as “a person who is attracted to others regardless of their gender identity or sex assigned at birth” and one participant said “I would describe myself as pansexual, meaning that gender identity doesn't determine whether or not I am attracted to someone”. [x]
A 2012 Dallas Voice article discussed Texas legislator Mary Gonzalez coming out as pansexual. She was referred to as “Texas’ only openly LGBT legislator” and “nation’s 1st out pansexual elected official” and she explained “gender identity isn't the defining part of my attraction” and that she wasn’t ready to come out as pansexual during her campaign because of the lack of understanding of pansexuality, so she let Dallas Voice initially refer to her as gay, which led to her being labeled a lesbian, so she felt clearing things up should wait until the campaign was over; “During the campaign if I had identified as pansexual, I would have overwhelmed everyone, now that I’m out of the campaign, I’m completely much more able to define it.” and “Me coming out was a process, not only for myself but for my district and so I had to take things step by step.” [x]
A 2012 article titled “2012 a Historic Year for Bisexual and Transgender People in Politics” defined pansexuality as “attraction to people of all genders, or attraction regardless of gender”. [x]
In 2012, The Guardian posted an interview with rapper Angel Haze, who identifies as pansexual and said “Love is boundary-less. If you can make me feel, if you can make me laugh – and that’s hard – then I can be with you.” [x]
The Facebook group, Pansexuality Awareness Network [PAN], was created in 2012. [x]
“The Bisexuality Report” in 2012 defined pansexuality synonymously with omnisexual as “being attracted towards people of all genders”. [x]
A 2012 article by Lyla Cicero titled “Coming Out As Genderqueer At The Age Of 50” questioned if terms like “genderqueer” and “pansexual” had been part of the cultural dialogue years ago, would more people today be living more authentically, or would have figured themselves out and/or come out a lot earlier in life. [x]
An Everyday Feminism article from 2012 about fluid sexuality mentioned how “unfortunately, terms like queer, pansexual, or the outright rejection of labels haven’t quite caught on, even in the mainstream LGBTQIA+ movement” and those who “try to explain their sexuality using these terms (or lack thereof) may be seen as attention seeking or confused because they don’t fit into a popular category” but that “just because the language to describe sexuality is limited doesn’t mean that people don’t exist beyond those limits and self-label in a way that feels comfortable for them". [x]
The 2012 study “Exploring the Diversity of Gender and Sexual Orientation Identities in an Online Sample of Transgender Individuals” showed that “the two most common sexual orientation identities were pansexual and queer” and “non-normative identities, such as pansexual and queer, were common, along with changes in identity labels over time” and suggested “transgender individuals may be likely to represent their sexual orientation in non-binary ways, such as queer and pansexual, given their own experiences transgressing societal norms surrounding sex, gender, and sexual roles/behaviors. Sexual orientations such as pansexual, queer, and bisexual also do not assume the sex or gender of the individual claiming the orientation. These individuals may wish to represent their attractions in ways that do not specifically reference their own sex or gender, which may be in transition, fluid, or not fully captured by gay, lesbian, or heterosexual identity labels.” [x]
The 2012 study “Risk and Protective Factors for Bullying Victimization among Sexual Minority Youths” noted that several changes were made to the survey based on feedback from a youth advisory panel, including “a response category was added for sexual identity (pansexual)”. [x]
“Solidarity but not similarity? LGBT communities in the twenty-first century”, 2012, noted that “participants raised concerns over (a potential) lack of awareness of identities not included within ‘LGBT’, such as pansexual and polysexual. For some LGBT practitioners, the current acronym identifying ‘four boxes’ did not ‘sit comfortably’. It was argued that this could: ‘...limit how you talk about stuff, and also how you identify.’” [x]
In a chapter about transcending sexual oritenation in the 2012 book Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others by Jonathan Alexander, Matthew Kailey states “bisexuality is confing in that the binary gender system is inherent in the term” and that while “some people have begun to identify as pansexual, omnisexual, genderqueer, or simply queer in an effort to explain a sexuality that is not confined by either/or” they’re all still labels that exist because the system requires it. In other chapters, pansexual is used in the context of being “openness to all forms of sexuality”. [x]
The 2012 book Arrested Development and Philosophy: They've Made a Huge Mistake defines pansexual and omnisexual as “a person whose identity and sexual choices are not limited or determined by gender (the person may engage in sexual acts with all genders).” [x]
A list of events in a 2012 issue of Bi Women Quarterly included a group for young people, Younger Bi Group, who identify “somewhere along the lines of bisexual/omni/pan/fluid (or are questioning in that direction)”. [x]
"Challenging the Binary: Sexual Identity That Is Not Duality", 2013, discussed pansexual and pomosexuality. The author explained the terms; “pansexuality can be an identity claimed by individuals in LGBTQ communities, whereas, more often than not, pomosexuality is an umbrella term used to describe political resistance that encompasses identities and concepts that are unknown, unnamed, or otherwise completely transgressive” and attributed the ambiguity in the “application or definition of the terms themselves” to the ambiguity from “which the terms have sprung”.
The terms are discussed further; “in addition to looking at pansexuality and pomosexuality as emerging from the trans movement and trans people's experiences, these terms also have to do with sexual activity that is outside queer communities’ traditional standards. These extreme outsider behaviors fall more often under the umbrella of pomosexuality that that of pansexuality. This is due to the fact that, although they can affect sexual identity, the majority of experiences reflect lifestyle and cultural context, not merely sexual identity, and therefore are more appropriately placed under the more inclusive term pomosexuality.” It concludes that pansexuality and pomosexuality are both “attempts to challenge the multiple binary systems that oppress all people by way of the binary system that still rules the LGBT trinity”. [x]
LGBTQ Families: The Ultimate Teen Guide, 2013, stated “bisexual persons may also refer to themselves as bi, pansexual (meaning they are attracted to someone regardless of gender), omnisexual, or polysexual.” [x]
Shiri Eisner's book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, 2013, detailed her activism, including forming the “second-ever bisexual and pansexual organization in Israel/Occupied Palestine, Panorama—Bi and Pansexual Feminist Community”, and defined pansexual and omnisexual synonymously and stated the only difference is Greek and Latin prefixes. [x]
Lady Geek Girl on WordPress in 2013 criticized how pansexual characters are often promiscuous or hypersexual, in particular Deadpool. [x]
The Post-Modernist Slut on WordPress in 2013 posted about the “gender-blind identity” which “lies somewhere between the notions of pansexuality, or panromanticism, and pomosexuality”, stating gender-blind (“unaffected or disinterested by the gender of their potential partner”) is related to pansexuality (“allowing for sexual relationships with members of all gender identities and expressions”), but not interchangeable, as “one could be gender-blind without identifying with pansexuality or vice versa”. [x]
“Monosexism: Battling the Biases of Bi/Panphobia” from Everyday Feminism in 2013 discussed the myths and assumptions and misconceptions people have about bisexuality and pansexuality, and in the article pansexual is defined as attraction to “individuals regardless of their gender or sex”. [x]
An author via Thought Catalog in 2013 explained “I interchangeably call myself bi- or pansexual, which really just means that application is open to all”. [x]
“How to Be a Bi/Pansexual Ally”, posted in 2013, defined bisexual as “anyone potentially attracted (sexually, romantically, or otherwise) to people of more than one gender/sex, or to people of similar and different genders/sexes, and who identifies as bisexual” and pansexual as “anyone potentially attracted to people of all genders and sexes, or regardless of sex and gender, and who identifies as pansexual”. [x]
A 2013 research paper investigating different aspects of pansexual self-identification within contemporary online communities showed “the multiple and fluid identification observed suggests that respondents viewed their sexual identification as an ongoing process, rather than a fixed and finished part of their self” and “respondents considered ‘the ability and willingness to be attracted to all genders and sexes’ as the most important aspect of their pansexual identification and ‘past behaviour’ and ‘political reasons’ as the weakest aspects” and “while some respondents suggested that pansexuality was a sexual orientation that saw beyond genders and sexes, others suggested that it was a sexual orientation that was defined by attraction to all genders and sexes, as opposed to viewing them as irrelevant”. [x]
The first post for Pansexual Pride Day was in 2013, when a DeviantArt drawing was posted in celebration of “National Pansexual pride day”. [x]
“Pansexuality 101” from Everyday Feminism in 2014 broke down the meaning of pansexual; “‘Pan-’ is a Greek prefix referring to ‘all’ or ‘every’ coming together as one. Putting this together with ‘-sexual’, which I’m sure we recognize as referring to one’s own sexual desires and habits, creates a word that roughly means ‘someone who is attracted to all sexes and genders of people.’” It then went on to detail a bit of pansexual history, noting that Google Trends data indicated an internet presence for pansexuality and genderqueer began roughly around the same time.
The “politics” of pansexuality are mentioned as well; “pansexuality is tightly entwined into the politics of genderqueer and non-binary activism, awareness, and progress since it cannot exist without these identities. This history, and the political implications that follow, are some of the most important parts of pansexuality and are what primarily sets it apart as its own identity.” It went on to state; “the creation of the pansexual identity, however, has allowed for further and more intentional analysis and discussion of the relationship between human sexuality and gender. Beyond being a useful and real label for people to identify with, pansexuality also has begun to create waves within activism and sexuality theory.” [x]
A 2014 post from Beyond the Talk explaining the definitions of bisexual, pansexual, and polysexual stated “bisexuals like the same and other genders, polysexuals like multiple genders, and pansexuals like all genders. People can even identify as a blend of the three. It really all depends on you.” [x]
A San Francisco news site posted in 2014 about a "pansexual couple" being crowned as “homecoming princesses” in Santa Rosa, stating the couple identify as pansexual, which is then defined as a “sexual or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity”. [x]
Nick Monaco talked to The Advocate in 2014 and said “I have my own ideas about my own sexuality, my pansexuality; I don’t really think about gender or sex when it comes to dating someone.” [x]
In 2014, OKCupid added pansexual, among other sexualities and genders, to their options. [x]
“From Blues to Rainbows”, a 2014 report on the mental health and well-being of gender diverse and transgender young people in Australia, showed that 50% of young people identified as either pansexual or queer and notes that pansexual has been popular in other Australian research when young people were given similar options. [x]
“Supporting and Caring for Bisexual Youth” from 2014 showed that 7% of youth identify as pansexual. [x]
GLAAD’s Bi Week page for 2014 stated “Bisexual people have always been a driving force in the LGBT community and are leaders within local, regional, and national organizations and issue-based campaigns. Every day, bi people work side by side with the larger LGBT community to affect change and equality. Some people who are attracted to people of any gender self-identify with words such as ‘bisexual,’ ‘pansexual,’ ‘polysexual,’ ‘omnisexual,’ ‘fluid,’ ‘queer,’ or other terminology.” [x]
“Solutions for Bisexual Mental Health Issues” by Harrie Farrow in Bi Women Quarterly from 2014 stated “Create alliances across sexual labels, identities, and practices. Daily-fought mini-wars over definitions, which divide the non-monosexual community, further contribute to mental health issues. In the spirit of embracing and celebrating our diversity, bisexual/pansexual/omnisexual/etc. people need to form alliances to support one another across identities.” [x]
The first post for Pansexual Visibility Day that I could find was in 2015; a Tumblr post was made by kaenith celebrating Pansexual/Panromantic Visibility Day. [x] The same year PinkNews shared a list of “LGBT holidays” in which it was referred to as Pansexual Awareness Day. [x]
In a 2015 post on GLAAD's blog, Alexandra Bolles detailed a White House policy briefing, “I attended the White House Bisexual Community Policy Briefing yesterday as part of the second annual BiWeek—a campaign co-founded by GLAAD to accelerate acceptance for the bi community. It was my first time at the White House, and it was a powerful introduction. Bi, pansexual, queer, and fluid-identified advocacy leaders from around the country gathered in DC, representing a diverse range of ethnicities, races, gender identities, abilities, geographic backgrounds, and ages, all under the bi umbrella. In sending us invites from the White House to gather and speak, the office and administration seemed to tell the bi community in all its multi-facets, ‘I’ve Got Your Back.’ Creating a space seemingly dedicated to posing the question, ‘what do you need from us to help you do and be and feel your best?’ is an important strategy for being an ally.” [x]
The 2015 25th anniversary edition of Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual Speak Out stressed “respecting one another and remaining flexible in the ever changing self-identity landscape” because “we have to hold a safe space for people to define their personal experience without judgment”. It went on to say, “Living both inside and outside the sexual and social [gender] paradigms, we bisexuals, queer people, polysexuals, fluid people, pansexuals, by every name we call ourselves - continue to subvert gender assumptions and explore naming ourselves - by every other identity, to no-identity-needed-or-wanted at all. What’s most important is respecting each person's self-identity and being recognized and understood for who we are.” [x]
Jazz Jennings told Cosmo in 2015 that “being pansexual basically means to me that you are attracted to anyone, no matter their sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, everything. There’s no limits. I’ll date anyone.” [x]
Miley Cyrus talked about her sexuality in Paper in 2015; “I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult – anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl” and mentions that she’s had meaningful relationships with girls over the years but people “never really looked at it” and she “never brought it into the spotlight”. [x] The same year she told Elle UK; “I’m very open about it – I’m pansexual.” [x]
A 2015 post from GLAAD defined pansexuality as “being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender”. [x]
An Everyday Feminism article from 2015 that answered the question “aren’t bisexuality and pansexuality the same thing?” defined pansexuality and bisexuality as “attraction to any and all genders, thereby panning the entire gender spectrum (pan also means ‘all’). Bisexuality typically refers to attraction to two or more genders” and ultimately concludes that what bisexual and pansexual mean depends on the person; some use them differently, some use them interchangeably, and we should “allow people to tell you how they identify and never label anyone as bisexual or pansexual without asking them first”. [x]
Another Everyday Feminism article from 2015 stated that “polysexual” is a term that includes “those who identify as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual”. [x]
A non-binary trans person broke down the bi vs pan debate in the 2015 article “Cis Privilege and Identity Policing in the Bi and Pan Community”. The article stated “pansexuality as an identity was originally formed for folks to specifically include recognizing attraction to non-binary people. Bisexuality responded to allegations of transphobia by clarifying that the definition of bisexuality isn’t always limited to attraction to men and women. Accusations of transphobia on both sides ensued.” and explained further how pansexual was a way to include non-binary people during a time when they were “even less widely recognized” and “much of the bi community defined itself as people who were attracted to men and women” but that not all of the bi movement was using that definition and how they too were actively challenging transphobia and exclusion.
The article concluded with “all of the problems brought up by bi and pan people are real problems. But they aren’t limited to only these two communities. Transphobia is an issue across the board.” and suggests we be trans inclusive by being clear with the language we use, calling out transphobia to support trans people not to use trans people as a “political football” to devalue someone else’s orientation, and affirming identities instead of policing them. [x]
In a 2015 Collider interview with Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller, they were asked if the Deadpool movie was going to have a “very hypersexualized” Deadpool, and Tim Miller’s response was “Pansexual! I want that quoted. Pansexual Deadpool.” [x]
Dan Levy talked to Flare in 2015 about playing pansexual on Schitt’s Creek, saying pansexuality was just an “interesting fit” for his character and something he’d “definitely be about, and open to”, and that he doesn’t think his character has “ever turned down a sexual opportunity if it arose”, and that he’s seen a rise in conversation about pansexuality. [x]
A 2015 article from The Mary Sue broke down queerness on Sense8 and how an actor from the show expressed his agreement with the creator thinking all the characters are pansexual, which is defined in the article as “attraction to people of all—or irrespective of—genders”. The article touched on what that interpretation means for the characters who had established sexualities (such as gay and lesbian) and the importance of having a sexually fluid cast of characters. [x]
At 2015 Comic Con, Rick and Morty animator stated Rick is pansexual. [x]
A 2015 AOL article titled “Pansexual rises on National Coming Out Day” shared that a Vocativ analysis of 329,597 Twitter and Instagram posts on National Coming Out Day in showed more than 3,600 of them mentioned the word pansexual, more than that of lesbian or transgender combined. In posts that specifically included the words “I” or “I am”, the most common descriptors were gay, bisexual, and pansexual. The definition given for pansexual in the article was “someone whose experience of attraction is not limited by biological sex or gender identity”. The article also stated pansexual is “one of the fastest growing queer identities used by youth online, especially among American teens and girls”. [x]
A Pride article in 2015 celebrated Miley Cyrus as MTV VMA’s first out pansexual host. [x]
In 2015, Andrew Garfield talked to Mic about Spider-Man’s sexuality, saying “I’m excited to get to the point where we don’t have to have this conversation, where we can have a pansexual Spider-Man.” which mirrors his questioning in 2013 of “why can’t Spiderman be into boys?”. He added, “Love is love. Skin is skin. Flesh is flesh. We’re all wrapped in the same thing. I have no preference.” [x]
The 2015 “National School Climate Survey” showed 16% of students identify as pansexual and notes “overall, pansexual students appear to be faring worse than bisexual students and students of other sexual orientations in both safety/victimization and indicators of well-being. Our findings highlight the need to further explore the particular experiences of other sexual minority students, such as pansexual students.” [x]
The introduction of the 2015 book Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men by Robyn Ochs and H. Sharif Williams listed “bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, panromantic, fluid, queer, questioning, heteroflexible, straight-with-a-twist, gayish, same-gender loving, MSM, and PSP” as being some of the “limitless” ways to describe “middle sexualities”, to which there is “no one singular or universalized experience”. [x]
The character Aitor describes himself, “I’m not gay. Not [bisexual], either. Pansexual. I like everything. I like to have a good time with whoever.” in the 2015 episode “Spanish Fever” of Club de Cuervos. [x]
Ferg says “I’m pansexual, to be precise” in the second episode of Stonemouth in 2015. [x]
Julie’s profile is shown in the second episode of The Expanse in 2015 and under “orientation” it states “pan”. [x]
David Rose explains his sexuality with a wine metaphor, stating he “likes the wine, and not the label”, and his father says, “my son is pansexual” in the 2015 Schitt’s Creek episode “Honeymoon”. [x]
In 2016, Bi Net USA posted about “Celebrate Bisexuality Day” or Bi Pride/Visibility Day, and noted that it’s “observed by: Bisexual, pansexual, queer, and fluid (bi+) community and their families, friends, allies and supporters.” [x]
The press release for the 2016 Bisexual Health Awareness Month stated “Bisexual+ youth, who encompass a diverse spectrum of sexual identities (e.g. bisexual, fluid, no label, pansexual, queer), experience higher rates of suicidality, substance use, bullying, and sexual violence compared to their gay, lesbian, and straight peers. They are also less likely to be connected with programs and services, both at school and in their local community, that can best support them. Therefore, Bisexual Health Awareness Month aims to raise awareness about these health disparities and to promote resources and actions that can improve the health of bisexual+ youth.” [x]
Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain edited by Kate Harrad, 2016, has a glossary that included bi-curious, omnisexual, pansexual, and polysexual. It also stated, “two people may experience their attractions in the same way yet use two different terms; two people who use the same term may experience their attraction in very different ways.” [x]
The 2016 book Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate has a pansexual main character who explains his pansexuality as “it means I could be attracted to someone of any gender”. [x]
First and First by Santino Hassell, 2016, has a pansexual character who likes “all of the genders”. [x]
The pansexual main character in Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler, 2016 described her attraction; “I don’t discriminate by gender or lack thereof” and further explained her label choice; “Pansexual felt like the best fit because I think it’s the most fluid. Lots of people think it just means I’m attracted to more than two genders-which I am-but plenty of bisexual people are too. For me, the difference is more about how gender plays into the attraction to someone, whether consciousness of it is actually a factor or those lines kinda blur”. [x]
The 2016 book On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher has a pansexual character who explained her pansexuality with a chocolate bar comparison, saying when you eat a chocolate bar, the wrapper might be “pretty, full of bold colors and fancy details”, but you “ultimately care about what’s inside the wrapper” and for her, it’s the same with people; “For me, it doesn’t matter whether they’re a man or a woman. That’s only the wrapper they come in. What I really care about is the chocolate. It’s called being pansexual.” [x]
Camp Rewind by Meghan O'Brien, 2016, has a main character who says, “If I had to label myself, I would say I’m pansexual, which basically means that I’m potentially attracted to any human.” [x]
Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron, 2016, has a pansexual character whose sexuality is explained; “she’d dated girls before. And guys. And people who weren’t girls or guys. The gender (or lack thereof) of the other person didn't matter for her.” [x]
In the research paper “Who Adopts Queer and Pansexual Sexual Identities?” from 2016 explained pansexuality as being “often conceptualized as a label that denotes sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of their gender expression (masculinity or femininity), gender identity, or biological sex” and is “frequently distinguished” from bisexuality on the basis that it “explicitly rejects attractions based on binary notions of sex (male versus female) and gender (man versus woman)”. The research suggested that queer and pansexual labels “may be preferred by noncisgender individuals for practical and political reasons”. [x]
“What’s in a Name? Exploring Pansexuality Online”, 2016, acknowledged pansexual being generally defined as attraction to all genders, as well as it being an identity that “denounces gender or sex as a defining feature of sexuality”. Their research found that "attraction regardless of gender identity” is the most agreed upon definition, and pansexuality is “consistently considered ‘under the umbrella’ of bisexuality”. The paper stated that “scholars speculate pansexuality is gaining acceptance and membership due to the broad and flexible definition allowing for the freedom of choice and self-identification regarding sexual expression”.
It brought up the criticism of the term being “so broad it contradicts the purpose of a label, similar to the postulate of queer theory”, the suggestion that it “actually embodies the stance of antilabeling” or is a label that “encompasses a wide variety of expressions limiting the need to fit into a single category or identity”, and the “clear connection between pansexuality as an antilabel and the continued reclamation of the word queer”. [x]
The study “‘Regardless of Their Gender’: Descriptions of Sexual Identity among Bisexual, Pansexual, and Queer Identified Individuals” from 2016 investigated the way bisexual, pansexual, and queer people conceptualize their sexual identity to provide a more nuanced understanding of the experiences within the bisexual umbrella. Overall, there was a “great deal of similarity seen across participants' personal definitions and understandings of sexual identity” as well as some differences; which were “consistently found between bisexual and pansexual participants”, however queer participants “sometimes aligned with bisexuals and sometimes aligned with pansexuals”.
Using inclusion criteria, nonbinary language, and transcends gender/sex and body to describe sexual identity were common across all three groups, but more frequent among pansexual participants. For example, pansexual participants only used nonbinary language, queer participants were more likely to use nonbinary language than binary language, and bisexual participants were about just as likely to use nonbinary language as binary language. Other differences included pansexual participants being younger, more likely to identify as transgender, and less likely to describe their sexual identity in terms of preferences, degree, and partner’s identity. [x]
“The ABC’s of LGBT+”, 2016, defined pansexual synonymously with omnisexual as “capable of being attracted to any or all gender(s)”. [x]
“Eight Myths About Pansexuality, Debunked” from 2016 cleared up some misconceptions about pansexuality, such as pansexual being a new term/created on Tumblr, pansexual people being attracted to everything and everyone because the prefix means “all”, bisexuality and pansexuality being completely independent concepts, and pansexual people being polyamorous and oversexed. The post defined pansexual as “potential sexual and romantic attraction to all genders”. [x]
Merriam-Webster's trend watch in 2016 showed “lookups for ‘pansexual’ spiked” after Miley Cyrus talked about being pansexual, “outdistancing almost all other words”. [x]
In 2016, People shared an article on Miley Cyrus being pansexual and defined it as “attracted to all genders and sexes” citing GLAAD. [x]
Christine and the Queens talked to BBC in 2016 and explained being pansexual as “it means that I can fall in love with someone regardless of their gender, regardless of how they define themselves. I don’t really see that as an obstacle, as a definition.” and how bisexual is still “ticking boxing”, which she doesn’t want to do, and when asked if identifying as pansexual is “creating a new box to tick”, she explained that “people still need words” to create understanding, and that pansexual is the “best way for me not to choose”. [x]
A 2016 Flare article celebrating pansexuality and fluid sexuality in TV defined pansexual as “open to any sex or gender”. [x]
“An exploration into the world of Pansexuality”, 2016, discussed how the “first step to discussing pansexuality openly is understanding exactly what it means to each individual person within the context of their lives, and what the word means as a sexual label” and a few people shared their definitions and interpretations; “sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender”, “I never know who I’m going to be attracted to at any specific moment,” and “I really don’t know why I’m pansexual. I don’t need to justify it. I need to be confident in what my mind is telling me, this person is hugely attractive and I don’t need to know what their gender is.” The article also touches on how bisexuality isn’t binary or transphobic. [x]
Joe Lycett discussed his sexuality in 2016; “I say bisexual because it’s easy for people to understand but I actually don’t quite think it’s that. Pansexual seems to be the closest thing at this point. In the sense that, what I’m attracted to changes depending on intangible things. Sometimes you just look at someone’s thighs and think, ‘Oof, God, yeah’, but the other parts don’t appeal to you. It’s not entirely to do with gender – it’s to do with where you’re at, your upbringing and the kind of person you are. It’s really complicated, like life is.” [x]
Everyday Feminism in 2016 stated “pansexuality refers to people who are attracted to people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.” [x]
Greta Christina in 2016 posted on Facebook saying “I’m pansexual. It does not mean I have sex with bread, pans, or pan-flutes. It means I’m attracted to people of all genders.” [x]
John from Another Period said “I mean, if anything, I’m a pansexual.” in the 2016 episode “Joplin”. [x]
Sadie is said to describe herself on Facebook as pansexual in the 2016 episode “Lovin the D” of Scream Queens. [x]
The 2017 paper “Bisexuality, pansexuality, queer identity, and kink identity”, examined the relationship between kink/BDSM and bisexual, pansexual, and queer identity and concluded that “for some people, there is an intersection of kink and bisexual/pansexual orientation especially around the category or label queer; that kink behaviors and relationships allow for the exploration of sexual orientation and gender identity in some unique ways; and that kink communities and scenes can be important avenues for coming out around sexual orientation or gender identity, in terms of healing from isolation and shame”. [x]
GLAAD’s “Accelerating Acceptance” survey in 2017 showed that 2% of young Americans are pansexual. [x]
Pansexual/Panromantic Pride Week, shortened to Pan Week, was created in 2017 by posi-pan on Tumblr, to be celebrated the week of Pan Pride Day (December 8th). [x]
In 2017, CNN shared a “What it means to be pansexual” article which stated pansexual is “not new, but new again”, “sometimes called omnisexual”, “about as broad as it gets when it comes to describing who you’re sexually attracted to, which is why it appeals to a younger generation that's comfortable with gender and sexual fluidity and doesn’t care much for specific labels”, “has cultural resonance because it is so broad and allows for so much flexibility and choice”, and defined as “a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions to those of any or all genders”. [x]
A 2017 Medium article titled “Bisexual and Pansexual and Polysexual, Oh My!” defined bisexual as “attraction to two or more genders or attraction to your own gender and other genders”, pansexual as “attraction regardless of gender”, and polysexual as “attraction to more than one gender”. [x]
Nola Darling in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Netflix series described herself on screen as a “sex-positive polyamorous pansexual” in the episode “LuvIzLuv (SEXUALITY IS FLUID)” in 2017. [x]
The pansexual main character in The Target by L.C. Mawson, 2017, said “I’m not exactly picky on matters of gender” when discussing her attraction. [x]
In the 2017 book Who'd Have Thought by G. Benson, the pansexual main character explained her pansexuality; “I’m attracted to people without their gender really playing a role.” [x]
Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People, 2017, defined pansexual as “attracted to individuals regardless of sex or gender identity and expression; attracted to all genders and sexes”. [x]
An article from 2017 titled “Pansexuality is not the same as bisexuality” had a personal interpretation of pansexual; “To me, pansexual means that someone’s gender is not a factor in my attraction toward them. If I like you, I like you. Your gender identity doesn’t affect that.” [x]
Even Bech Næsheim wears a pansexual pride pin in the 2017 episode of Skam “Takk for alt”. [x]
In 2017 Molly Bernard discussed her character Lauren on the TV show Younger, describing her as a “fluid, pansexual female”, stating “she falls into the category of fluidity. I don’t think she’s necessarily going in between men and women, but I think she’s attracted to, basically, human. There’s no preference.” [x]
Bi Pride UK shared an article in 2017 about how bi and pan communities can work together instead of getting caught up in identity policing debates and defined both identities as “bi people have the potential to experience attraction (whether sexual, alterous and/or romantic) to more than one gender. Pan people have the potential to experience attraction (whether sexual, alterous and/or romantic) to people of all genders (or regardless, of gender).” [x]
Asia Kate Dillon discussed their sexuality in 2017, stating “from the time I came to understand sex and sexual orientation, and all of that, I’ve identified as pansexual and I’ve always felt like I had the spiritual, emotional, physical capability of being attracted to any gender.” [x]
GLSEN’s 2017 “National School Climate Survey” showed 20% of students identify as pansexual. [x]
Italy’s first survey on bisexual health, "Being Bi", from 2017 included pansexual people in their sample. [x]
Janelle Monáe discussed her sexuality with Rolling Stone in 2018, “Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.” The article stated she initially identified as bisexual, “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.” [x]
Following Janelle Monáe coming out, Merriam-Webster’s trend watch showed that pansexual “was among our top lookups on April 26th, 2018” with a “11,000% rise”. [x] And not only that, but Merriam-Webster’s 2018 word of the year was justice, followed by nationalism and pansexual. [x]
Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco discussed his sexuality with Paper in 2018, stating “I’m married to a woman and I’m very much in love with her but I’m not opposed to a man because to me, I like a person. Yeah I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don’t care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart’s in the right place. I’m definitely attracted to men. It’s just people that I am attracted to.” and clarifying again, “I guess this is me coming out as pansexual.” [x]
For Pan Pride Day in 2018, GLAAD shared an article where college students explained what pansexual means to them. One explained, “For me, being pansexual means I’m attracted to boys, girls, and everything in-between and outside of that gender binary. Though bisexual means being attracted to two or more genders, as a trans man, I have always been more comfortable with identifying as pansexual.” Another who identified more with queer than pansexual explained “pansexuality is important to me to define and reclaim because it helps others understand the diversity in romantic and sexual orientation and, by proxy, the multitude of gender expressions that exist.” One person explained they use their friend’s definition of pansexuality, who introduced it to them, which “basically says that pansexuality means that your heart has no set image of who you will be physically or romantically attracted to.”
Another stated, “Being pansexual means that I am attracted to people regardless of their gender identity. For me, this is all about the freedom to feel whatever I may feel, without the imposed constraints of thinking ‘but I should be attracted to this person’ or ‘I shouldn’t be feeling this for this person.’ Pansexuality is about assuming an identity that gives me the freedom to be attracted to whomever I’m attracted to without questioning myself or without feeling like that somehow threatens who I am. It’s about self-acceptance, and an excitement for self-discovery.” This description of freedom is mirrored by another, “Being pansexual to me represents a sense of freedom—validating the fluidity of attraction in that there are no boundaries or limitations.” [x]
The 2018 article “5 things you should know on Pansexual Pride Day” explained that bisexual and pansexual are different, but not mutually exclusive, “Being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, while being pansexual means being attracted to people regardless of gender. Pansexuality and bisexuality are not in conflict. In fact, some bisexual people also identify as pansexual, and vice versa. Pansexuality is included under the bisexual umbrella, which covers anyone who experiences sexual or romantic attraction to more than one gender.” [x]
A them article from 2018 dove into some “important” things to know about pansexuality. The definition given is “pansexuality is an identity that acknowledges one’s attraction to people regardless of gender or sexuality, whoever they may be.” The misconception that bisexual is binary is cleared up, as well as the misconception that pansexual is a new term “the term pansexual has been around since at least the early 1900s as a psychological term that describes sex as a primary motivator for human beings. Its current definition has been around since at least the late 1960s.” [x]
In a New York Post article in 2018 about pansexuality a pansexual explained that “someone’s gender orientation, sexuality or identity has no impact on whether she may be attracted to them” and touched on the overlap between bisexual and pansexual, “Bisexual people are generally sexually attracted to two or more genders, whereas pansexual people don’t typically consider gender or sexual orientation at all – it is the person that they are attracted to, regardless of labels and identities. Some people also use the term ‘pansexual’ to be explicitly inclusive of trans people, but that is not to suggest that bisexual people exclude trans people. And some people who identify as either bisexual or pansexual use the term interchangeably.” [x]
In 2018, Pansexual people shared with HuffPost things they want people to know; pansexual isn’t bisexual or a phase, pansexual doesn’t mean being attracted to literally everyone, not all pansexual people are polyamorous, pansexual and bisexual people can coexist, being pansexual doesn’t mean you’re into group sex, you’re never too old to come out as pansexual, pansexual people respect gender, not acknowledging pansexuality makes it hard for people to live authentically, and pansexual people aren’t rigid in our definition of pansexuality. [x]
Pansexual is defined as “the capacity to be attracted to all genders and, or attracted to people regardless of gender” on Good Morning America in 2018. [x]
A 2018 Medium article defined bisexual as “attraction to more than one gender” and pansexual as “attraction regardless of gender”. [x]
In 2018, when asked about the possible sexual fluidity of Lando Calrissian, if he’s pansexual, co-writer Jonathan Kasdan said “I would say yes. There’s a fluidity to Donald and Billy Dee’s [portrayal of Lando’s] sexuality. I mean, I would have loved to have gotten a more explicitly LGBT character into this movie. I think it’s time, certainly, for that, and I love the fluidity ― sort of the spectrum of sexuality that Donald appeals to and that droids are a part of. He doesn’t make any hard and fast rules. I think it’s fun, I don’t know where it will go.” and when Donald Glover was asked about it, he had a more humorous take, saying “how can you not be pansexual in space?” [x]
In 2018, a pansexual person wrote a column about the “pangs of pansexuality” discussing how pansexual people deserve respect. The writer detailed several instances of experienced panphobia and defined pansexuality as “sexual, romantic or emotional attraction toward people regardless of their biological sex or gender identity” and noted that while they pansexual is a “direct rejection of the notion of a sex and gender binary” they don’t believe all bisexuals perpetuate the gender binary or aren't attracted to non-binary people. [x]
A 2018 Billboard article titled “Everything You Need to Know About Pansexuality” defined pansexuality as “attracted to all genders and sexes, or regardless of gender and sex, and who identifies as pan”, mentioned it’s part of the bisexual umbrella along with omnisexual and polysexual, and differentiated it from bisexual by stating bisexual is a more general term for attraction to more than one gender whereas pansexual is specifically any or all genders. [x]
Seventeen in 2018 defined pansexual as being “under the bisexual umbrella” and meaning “a person is attracted to all genders”. [x]
Author Talia Hibbert tweeted about her sexuality in 2018, saying “I identify as pansexual rather than anything else because I do not like this, this, and this gender, or this gender and this gender, or these genders. I like incoherent woobly noise and that feels pansexual to me.” [x]
A 2018 article by a pansexual individual, titled “I am Pansexual. Why Is Saying It So Damn Hard?” touches on the stigma and prejudice pansexual people face, and stated “I am a pansexual human being who loves other human beings, regardless of their gender identity.” [x]
An article in 2018 explained pansexuality as “when a person is attracted to others regardless of gender or sex. Generally, gender and sex are not determining factors in a pansexual person’s romantic attraction to others” and added that “people who identify with pansexuality may have different interpretations of what the term means to them and their identity.” [x]
In 2018, Courtney Act explained “the reason I identify as pansexual is not because I wander around the street looking at women thinking I wanna bang ‘em, it’s because I’ve had sexual and emotional experiences with women, and I don’t count that out as being a possibility.” [x]
In 2018 Gay Times interviewed Lady Leshurr, who is one of the first pansexuals to be on the cover of Gay Times, and defined pansexual as “to have attraction whether sexual, emotional or romantic feelings towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity”. Lady Leshurr explained her pansexuality; “I realised gender has nothing to do with it. It’s more about the connection, the energy and the vibe that people bring around me – that’s what really draws me in. I’ve never been a person to look at somebody’s appearance and judge them on that. It’s always been about connection and that’s definitely why I identify as pansexual.” [x]
The pansexual main character of Final Draft by Riley Redgate, 2018, said she could “want anyone, any gender, any type.” [x]
In 2018, the hashtag #DropTheB went around and pansexual people got blamed for it, when in reality it was 4chan/Alt Right trolls wanting to create tension and fighting in the community, specifically between bisexual and pansexual people, as the 4chan screenshots show the use of “LGPT” instead of “LGBT”. [x]
Bisexuality: Theories, research, and recommendations for the invisible sexuality, 2018, stated that bisexual, pansexual, and queer individuals are all “just as likely to describe their sexuality using explicitly nonbinary and fluid language” however, bisexual individuals are “more likely to describe their attractions to different groups based on degree” than pansexual and queer individuals, and bisexual and queer individuals are “more likely to indicate a preferred identity for their partner” than pansexual individuals. It is said that “while binary/nonbinary distinctions of gender/sex are not central to differentiating among plurisexual identities, the collective research literature suggests that the distinction may rest in the way that pansexual identity is more centrally defined as transcending gender/sex altogether”.
It went on to explain that pansexual identity is “conceptualized in a way that explicitly deconstructs not just the binary nature of gender/sex, but the reliance of defining sexual attraction upon gender/sex more generally” and that it “marks sexual desire in a way that gender/sex is not central to its definition and/or where the conceptualization of sexual desire transcends gender/sex. For pansexual individuals, then, sexual attraction is primarily based upon other (individually determined) factors.” The book pointed out “given that pansexuality centers upon the transcendence of gender/sex, it makes sense that pansexual and queer identities are more likely to be endorsed by transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.” [x]
In an interview with them in 2018 Chance Perdomo said, “Ambrose specifying he’s pansexual is important to his story arc. There’s not as much information out there regarding pansexuality as there is about other parts of the LGBTQ+ community. I think maybe that’s why they had to specify in the beginning for audiences that aren’t as necessarily aware.” [x]
The 2018 book Pretend Girlfriend by Lily Craig has a pansexual main character who said, “gender doesn’t really matter to me so much as the person”. [x]
The 2018 book Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative defines pansexual as “sexually attracted to all genders” and discusses some misconceptions about pansexual and bisexual, how bisexual is an umbrella term that terms like pansexual and polysexual are included in meaning pansexual and polysexual people “have access to the term bisexual if they so choose”, and why people might prefer bisexual, pansexual, or polysexual. It’s noted that “different people have different reasons for choosing different terms: two people may experience their attractions in the same way yet use two different terms; two people who use the same term way experience their attractions in very different ways.” [x]
Kat from Madam Secretary said she’s bisexual, but “you can also say pansexual, of fluid, or non-monosexual, but uh, yeah, I’m queer.” in the 2018 episode “Refuge”. [x]
The character Tam on Younger is described as “pansexual, homoromantic” and using they/them pronouns in the 2018 episode “Big Little Liza”. [x]
HRC’s 2018 “Youth Report” showed 14% of youth identify as pansexual. [x]
bigbunnyenergy on Twitter shared their experience with pansexual being adopted as a label, “I love that the bi community accounts for attraction to trans and nb ppl. But you know what my first experience with bi ppl was? Numerous forum posts and blogs either expressing disgust towards trans folks or fetishizing us. Back then, saying you were pan was a response to actual transphobia that was present in the bi community! Discomfort identifying with a community that ostracized you isn’t bigoted, and we need to stop pretending it’s not a nuanced discussion deeply rooted in personal experience.” [x]
A similar account was shared by Assistant2Snout on Twitter, “nb transwoman here that has identified as pan for 20+ years. the prevalence of ‘pansexual’ was literally spearheaded by trans people because of their regular experiences of transphobia from bisexual peers during a time where being out even slightly was terrifying and dangerous. the label was helpful in making many trans people feel safer/understood and making it clear who was safe... you may not understand it now with how much transphobia in the bisexual community has been called out and amended at this point, but calling ‘pan’ transphobic is both ahistorical and an affront to trans people everywhere that had to deal with some very hard and dark times... VERY glad that generally people go with the org definitions of bi /now/, but org definitions are not lived history and literally knew no one that knew them at those times. so please /do not/ start trying to create more hate about a label you obviously don't understand the history of at the expense of other trans people. to say a label trans and nb people picked up and helped spread, to have something that feels clearer and safer for them, is ‘transphobic’ only serves to rekindle a lot of fears again.” [x] The user touches on the topic again in another series of tweets. [x]
Healthline in 2019 broke down the distinction between bisexual and pansexual by putting it plainly; “bisexual means attracted to multiple genders, and pansexual means attracted to all genders. These are different because multiple isn’t the same thing as all.” [x]
In 2019, Julie Plec spoke to TV Insider about her show Legacies and said, “the beauty of being pansexual, which is what we’re exploring in this show, is that the door is open for anybody you find love with.” [x]
Amita Kuttner discussed her sexuality in 2019 and said “gender is not a determining factor when it comes to who I am attracted to.” [x]
Shape in 2019 spoke to a pansexual “sex educator who specializes in sexuality and gender” who explained “sometimes pansexuality is defined as the attraction to someone regardless of their gender identity or sex, other times it’s defined as the attraction to all gender identities or sexes”. [x]
The Guardian interviewed two pansexual individuals in 2019, who explained their sexualities as “I always describe my sexuality as: ‘If you’ve got nice hair and pretty eyes, I’m down for it'. It’s not that gender doesn’t matter, because it can be important, but it's a bit of an afterthought. It’s just like: ‘Oh, hello.’ It took me a while to figure it out. Torchwood was about the only thing I’d heard of. I was talking about maybe being pansexual and someone said: ‘Oh, like Captain Jack in Torchwood.’” and “I just find characteristics generally about people attractive. Pan is simply easier to understand, and much closer to the truth for me. It’s not specific to any gender.” [x]
Tess Holliday discussed her sexuality with Nylon in 2019, saying “I think the word pansexual speaks to me more than bi does”. [x]
Izzy from You Me Her said “I just happen to be pansexual” in the 2019 episode “The Saddest Clown Show Ever”. [x]
Karen from Will & Grace called herself a “pansexual superstar” in the 2019 episode “Eat, Pray, Love, Phone, Sex”. [x]
In 2019, Kevin from What/If clarified he’s pansexual in the second episode. And the actor stated, “Kevin wasn’t the typical gay character, because he’s not gay, he’s pansexual.” [x]
“The Bi+ Institute at CC 2019” by Belle Haggett Silverman in Bi Women Quarterly in 2019 stated “We must commit, as bi, pan, omni, and other multisexual identities, to come together and build community where none is found.” [x]
“The Invisi_les: Biphobia, Bisexual Erasure and Their Impact on Mental Health” from 2019 states “before the meaning of bisexuality became more inclusive towards people of non-binary genders, other communities were created in an attempt to fashion new terms and definitions that could represent the attraction to multiple genders. Thus, terms such as ‘pansexual’, ‘omnisexual’, ‘polysexual’, and others, spread, and by the time bisexuality was accepted as inclusive of potentially all genders, these communities were already fully formed and did not want to throw away their established terms.” Pansexuality is then defined as attraction to all genders and bisexuality attraction to two or more genders, the distinction is described as “subtle but essential”, and the line is described as “quite thin” due to the overlap. [x]
“Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Polyamorous, Kinky, Ace, Intersex, and Trans People”, 2020, defined pansexual as “having the potential to be attracted to individuals of all genders” and found a “prevalent theme” among the pansexual people interviewed of a connection between identifying as pansexual and either also identifying as transgender or non-binary or dating someone who does; “all but one individual either identified with a gender that did not match the sex they were assigned at birth or had engaged in romantic or sexual relationships with individuals who identified as transgender.” and moreover, “the participants stated that their own gender identities or relationships with transgender individuals impacted their understanding of pansexual as label that allowed them to account for the experience.” [x]
Layla Moran came out as pansexual in 2020, saying “when I’ve looked at the definitions of what I’m comfortable with – pan is more about the person, and less the gender. That, if I was going to force myself to have a label, that would be how I would identify.” [x]
In 2020, HRC honored Pansexual Visibility Day by having some staff members share what pan visibility means to them; “each time the media celebrates a pansexual coming out story, a young closeted kid breathes a sigh of relief knowing there are people like them out there in the world. These stories provide a wave of hope and inspiration to help others live their authentic lives. Pansexual visibility is power. Pansexual visibility saves lives.” [x]
Cara Delevigne discussed her sexuality in 2020, saying “I always will remain, I think, pansexual. However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ I fall in love with the person — and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person.” [x]
Lottie Moss discussed her sexuality in 2020, saying “I’m pansexual so I don’t really mind... any gender. It kinda changes every day as well. It depends on who I meet.” [x]
In a 2020 Billboard interview titled “Mike Taveira Wants His ‘Curious’ Music Video To Help Explain Pansexuality” the singer who started identifying as pansexual “about two years ago” discussed his pansexuality and hopes for his music; “the reason why I’m even doing this is because I never had a pansexual person to look up to. So I’m doing this for the people who need someone to look up to. Because seeing Janelle live her truth has been so inspiring, and I want to do the same for others.” [x]
Mike Taveira also discussed his music video for “Curious” with The Queer Review in 2020, saying “it highlights pansexuality and celebrates sensual connection between people of all genders” and “is a reflection of when I was discovering my pansexuality”. [x]
In 2020, singer Dalton Harris came out as pansexual, posting a pansexual flag on Twitter and sharing this following it, “SO the term ‘Pansexual’ was googled a record amount of times in Jamaica. Always gd to help educate & spread awareness & acceptance. I am overwhelmed by the love. For those that experience similar challenges and reached out. Hang in there. It all leads back to LOVE.” [x] and [x]
RainbowStarbird on Twitter mirrored previous accounts of pansexual’s adoption as an identity label; “Pansexuality as a term was largely created by nonbinary people. There’s nothing wrong with bisexuality. But just like any other community, it has a history of transphobia. The same amount that the rest of the queer community and culture at large have, but it is still a fact. There were plenty of bisexual people who wouldn’t date trans people and didn’t believe in nonbinary genders. (There are still some, of course, but again, this issue is NOT unique to bisexuals in any way.) But some of the people in the bisexual community are trans. Some of those are nonbinary. And we wanted to make it clear that our sexuality included our own gender ID. We wanted a term that put nonbinary-ness (and yes, general trans acceptance) FRONT AND CENTER. That conceptually, linguistically, and in practice prioritized our existence outside the binary.
That’s where pansexuality came from. For some, it meant leaving bisexuality behind because the transphobia there hurt too much. For many (and I’d say most) others, it was a more specific way of expressing our bisexuality, and an impossible to ignore flag that our sexuality didn’t just encompass nonbinary-ness ... It was BUILT on a rejection of the limitations of the gender binary. None of that implies that the bisexual community is inherently transphobic, or beyond saving, or w/e. But there was an important reason to create pansexuality, and I don’t think that reason has disappeared. This also came about during a time when non-binary identities were barely talked about or understood. And I look around, and I’m not exactly seeing enough progress on that front to give up on pansexuality as a label that we ‘don’t need.’” [x]
FelixMarques on Twitter also shared a similar account of pansexual becoming an identity label, “The reason trans & NB people developed ‘pansexuality’ in the 70s is precisely that they needed an explicitly non-transphobic word. It took to the 90s for the Bisexual Manifesto to address that. This history can’t be erased.” [x]
GScene shared an article during Pan Week 2020, on Pan Pride Day, saying “December 8 is Pansexual Pride Day 2020; an event dedicated to celebrating the pansexual community as part of Pan Week.” and highlighting pansexual celebrities. [x]
Yungblud, who previously described himself as “more straight” but “very fluid about it”, came out as pansexual and polyamorous in 2020. In an interview with Attitude he said, “I probably would say now, I am polyamorous. Before I didn’t fucking know what I was. I was meeting people and learning...by meeting them and talking about sexuality and gender, I was going, ‘Oh my fucking God, maybe I’m this, if I’m going to be fucking close to anything on the spectrum.’ I’m still quite weird about going, ‘This is what I am,’ to the world because I’ve never really said it. I was excited about this interview to talk about that." When asked if he considers himself part of the LGBTQ community, he said, “I know it’s such a massive statement to me, but probably, yeah, I think I would. I haven’t said that yet because I don't want some mad article everywhere going: ‘Yungblud comes out as fucking pan!’ I wasn’t into that idea – like, my sexuality is mine and I’m proud of it. But, as I say, I probably would say that, yeah, because I fucking don’t know, I love everyone, I’m attracted to everyone.” [x] In another interview with Channel 4 News, he said “Meeting my fanbase, I came out as pansexual the other day, and they gave me that insight to be able to do that.” [x]
Wentworth Miller tweeted about Pan Week 2020, sharing a gif of his character Leonard Snart. [x]
Fashion designer Michelle Smith came out as pansexual in 2020. [x]
Chris from Blood & Water is described as “prefering pansexual” in 2020 episode “The Interview”. [x]
Emma from Doctors said “If I had to give myself a label, I’d say I was pansexual.” in the 2020 episode “Castles in the Air”. [x]
Harry from the 2020 romcom The Thing About Harry described his pansexuality as being “not having a preferences in terms of gender” and notes he used to identify as bi, but pan is “honestly just more....me”. He also talks about pan people being stereotyped as promiscuous and how he felt he was playing into it, but that he’s “just looking for Mr., Mrs., Person Right.” [x]
Ola from Sex Education discovered she’s pansexual in the fifth episode of the second season in 2020. [x
Mass Effect writer Brian Kindregan revealed in 2021 that the character Jack was intended to be pansexual, but was changed due to Fox News criticism: “I was trying to chart out the arc of [Jack’s] romance, which for much of the development - it was actually very late that it became a male/female-only romance. She was essentially pansexual for most of the development of that romance. [..] The development team of Mass Effect 2 was a pretty progressive, open-minded team, but I think there was a concern at pretty high levels that if [the first] Mass Effect, which only had one gay relationship, had drawn fire, that Mass Effect 2 had to be a little bit careful. [..] I would say that there were a lot of seeds planted in her conversations that certainly implied that she was pansexual. That was explicitly to start sending the message that yes, this is a character who is pansexual. Maybe someday Jack will be portrayed as pan.” Voice actress Courtenay Taylor added, “It’s funny to me because my understanding was always that she was pansexual. So I don’t know if that’s just something I inferred from the character or something that she said that maybe got cut. I was surprised there wasn’t a female romance possible because that was my understanding. [..] But my sense was always that she was [pansexual] and it just didn’t get followed through.” [x]
Bryce Xavier came out as pansexual in 2021, saying “the more i came to term with my pansexuality the more i found myself” on his Instagram. [x]
YouTuber and film critic Chris Stuckmann came out as pansexual in 2021, saying “When I was younger and into my twenties when I was leaving the Jehovah’s Witness faith, I referred to myself as straight. I’m not. I probably would've realized this about myself a lot younger if the Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t so restrictive about sexuality and if they’re weren’t fucking homophobic. As I got older I began to realize that there were other things I liked as well. I love my wife very much. And you might think, ‘Well, you’re married to a woman...’, it doesn’t matter, it doesn't fucking matter. I am pansexual. If you don’t know what pansexuality is, essentially you are attracted to all genders. And that’s me, that’s how I feel.” [x]
Professional wrestler Mr. Grim came out as pansexual in 2021, tweeting “For years, I’ve struggled with my identity. Too worried about how others would feel or think about me. I’ve finally gained the courage to openly express that I’m Pansexual.” [x]
Wrestler Max the Impaler shared on Twitter in 2021 that they are nonbinary and pansexual. [x]
Wrestler Austin Connelly shared on Twitter in 2021 that he is pansexual. [x]
Nevada politician Sarah Peters came out as pansexual in 2021 on the floor of the Assembly, making her the first out pansexual Nevada lawmaker, and third nationwide. “Today, as a pansexual, cisgender woman, I stand out for equity and remind us to be inclusive in our LGBT+ community as we work to make Nevada a more equitable place.” [x]
The 2021 book Bisexuality in Europe: Sexual Citizenship, Romantic Relationships, and Bi+ Identities discusses pansexuality throughout, noting pansexuality is one of many “plurisexualities”, and stating things such as, “One person’s bisexual identity can be another person’s pansexual (which is another person’s queer, and another person’s heteroflexible, etc.) – and at times, several terms are employed simultaneously.” and “the boundary between bisexuality and pansexuality was random and fluid. The use of the terms depended on the context in which people talked about their identity and desire. The definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality overlap. Studies conducted in other countries have also shown that people may refer to their sexual identity as queer, pansexual and bisexual at the same time. Identities are seen as transcendent and as entailing potential to change.” [x]
bi community accepting alternative mspec labels
The bisexual community has a history of supporting, including, and embracing alternative ways of labeling attraction to more than one gender. Even before “bisexual umbrella” entered our vocabulary, the bisexual community viewed bisexual as a term that people who are attracted to more than one gender, regardless of labels or lack thereof, can come together under.
Pan, and other mspec, people are often accused of forcing the bi umbrella and invading bi spaces, but this is simply not true. We did not create the bi umbrella, we are not invading bi spaces. We are not crashing a party. We were invited.
The View from Another Closet: Exploring Bisexuality in Women by Janet Bode, 1976 Patricia, as well as the other women interviewed, did not race out to convince friends that bisexuality was the only and best game in town. She believed this sexual orientation was preferable for her. Approximately 20 precent said they disliked all labels. They were willing to be interviewed because they met the “requirements”. Maria said, “If I must have a label call me pansexual, ambisexual, antisexual, androgynous, neutral, undecided...just don’t make me into something I’m not!”
“Bi-Laws”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1983 The purpose of the association is to bring together women in order to: (1) provide a safe environment which will enable all women to explore new sexual options without feeling pressured to commit themselves to a particular sexual orientation or lifestyle.
“Bisexuality: A Decade Ago”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1984 Most people think that a person gets a fixed sexual orientation early in life and keeps it forever, like a birthmark. The truth is that sexual identity--a feeling that one is straight, gay or bisexual--can be amazingly flexible. A woman may have male and female lovers, at the same time or in sequence, and not consider herself bisexual. She may have no homosexual experiences, but fantasizes about them or thinks she should have them. She may consider herself straight, but enjoy sex with other women. She may consider herself gay, but take male lovers. Sexual identity, therefore, doesn’t rest exclusively on sexual behavior. What people say they are may be entirely different from what they do.
“Study Group”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1984 We didn’t reach any conclusions, but had fun realizing that being bisexuals, we are dealing with a whole realm of experiences that can be classified in any number of different ways.
“Hartford Conference on Bisexuality” by Betty A., 1984: The third workshop, “Creating Labels for Your Sexual Self”, very rapidly got underway with a discussion of how labels do and do not help in a day to day life. Some felt that labels were restrictive, that they lived a bisexual lifestyle but did not refer to themselves as bisexuals. It was brought up that the label “bisexual” focuses too much on the sexual aspect rather than the emotional component of the lifestyle, unlike “gay” or “lesbian”. People also talked some about the positive aspect of labels. Labels seem to acknowledge the presence of a lifestyle and help us feel less alone. After all, “if someone created the label bisexual, then there must be other people out there who feel the way I do”. It was also pointed out that without the word “bisexual”, none of us would have been at the conference. Labels can help create a community - a place to find others with similar feelings - a place to fit in.
“Bisexual Women”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1985 It seems negative to pressure people to label themselves according to a pre-set collection of definitions that may have little or nothing to do with their life experiences.
“Reflections on Love & Language”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1985 The Second Annual Regional Conference on Bisexuality took place on a warm, sunny Saturday in early March. Language. There was a great deal of discussion about and discontent with the “bisexual.” Alternative labels were proposed, none of them satisfactory: Humanist, Androgynous, Gender-blind, and Ambisexual were the ones I heard. What I realized in the discussion of language was that both positions are valid - we need labels and we don’t want them. We need to know ourselves and each other, to speak and write about our lives, our sexuality; but we do not want to be boxed or categorized, especially since our lives have been about freeing ourselves from the categories Lesbian, Straight, etc. By synthesizing the two positions, we can live the most powerful kind of existence. We can live with labels when we need them, and at the same time acknowledge that they are inadequate, that the only words will describe our lives, are the words of our own personal herstories and histories.
“Breaking the Mold” by David Smith, Bi Women Quarterly, 1986 In investigating the complexities of choosing a label to describe one’s sexuality, it was found that actual sexual activity doesn’t necessarily bear any relation to the labels chosen. These seem to be randomly rejected, accepted or imposed for a wide variety of different reasons. And the relative importance of sexual attraction, sexual experiences, love and affection differed enormously from person to person.
“How common is bisexuality?”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1986 If you count as bisexual only those people whose actual sexual activity is with partners of both sexes over a period of some years, then only 10 percent to 15 percent of the U.S. population can be labeled “bisexual.” However, some of those individuals would reject the bisexual label because they do not identify themselves in that way.
“Are You Suffering from the BLA’S?” by Lucy Friedland, Bi Women Quarterly, 1989 But mainly, what I heard was a long litany of reasons why people didn’t want to call themselves bisexual. A number of self-defined “pansexuals” were sitting there, but out of the 45 people, very few felt comfortable with a bisexual label, and many felt they had nothing in common with people they know who call themselves bisexual.
The First National NZ Bisexual Conference Report, 1990: Many agreed that finding the right words and language to describe ourselves could be a positive experience. Words like gynandrous, gender-bender, polymorphously perverse and pansexual were suggested as possible alternatives to bisexual. / Wanting to ensure the bisexual community stays non-exclusive. We don’t want to make our community exclusive.
“Why Biphobia?”, Bi Women Quarterly, 1990 It doesn’t help matters that some bisexual people also make generalizations or insist that their definition is the one “true” one. So you have the “bisexuals by definition aren’t monogamous” thing, and the “bisexuality means that gender is irrelevant to attraction” vs. “my feelings for women are different from my feelings for men, but both are important to me” thing, etc. etc. It may be that we need more labels, but we also need to stop categorizing people so neatly based on their labels.
Bisexuality: a reader and sourcebook by Thomas Geller, 1990: One problem in trying to bring together people who are open to sleeping with either sex is that we are known by such a wide variety of labels - and, more often than not, we refuse to label ourselves and therefore fail to identify with the group known as “bisexual.” Personally, I believe first and foremost in the right to claim one’s own identity and be recognized in terms of that identity: the right of each creature to name itself. And so below are a few of the more common terms of self-definition, and how they’ve come to be used. Also listed are some newer and more unusual ways of describing oneself in a few words. Bisensual, Bigenderist, Bisexual, Bisexual Lesbian, Bi-Lesbian Feminist, Byke, Cousin, Family, Equal Opportunity Lover, Equal Opportunity Rejector, Gay Bisexual, Holly, Pansensual, Pansexual
“About Our Name/Bisexual Manifesto”, Anything That Moves #1, 1991: Do not expect each magazine to be representative of all bisexuals, for our diversity is too vast. Do not expect a clear-cut definition of bisexuality to jump out from the pages. We bisexuals tend to define bisexuality in ways that are unique to our own individuality. There are as many definitions of bisexuality as there are bisexuals. Many of us choose not to label ourselves anything at all, and find the word ‘bisexual’ to be inadequate and too limiting. Do not assume that the opinions expressed are shared by all bisexuals, by those actively involved in the Bisexual Movement, by the ATM staff, or the BABN Board of Directors. What you can expect is a magazine that, through its inclusive and diverse nature, creates movement away from external and internal limitations.
“Labels” by Barbara Stratton, Bi Women Quarterly, 1991 If there were a better word to describe my sexuality I would certainly use it. The word bisexual in itself is sterile, technical, and includes a reference to sex unlike the more friendly sounding lesbian or gay. Also present is the inherent problem of relying on a single word to describe or represent the complex nature of any individual’s intimate relationships with others. Perhaps instead I could be known as a recovering heterosexual prone to relapses, or more simply ... a heterodyke.
“The 1990 National Bisexual Conference” by Ingrid Sell, Bi Women Quarterly, 1991 Returning to the original feminist tenet that the “personal is political”, one of the new Bisexual movement’s intentions is to return the basic right of people to define themselves. “We’re creating a space of safety for all people to be able to choose the label that fits” said Brenda Blasingame, a Jewish, African-American activist from Berkeley about the movement.
“Bi Politics, CNN-Style” by Loraine Hutchins, Bi Women Quarterly, 1992 Back at the studio, every time the questioning seemed to verge on the personal we turned it back to the political — and Sonya welcomed it! Points made: there are many ways of being bisexual, people label themselves.
Closer to Home: Bisexuality & Feminism, 1992: Jane doesn’t often use the word “bisexual” to describe herself. “I’d really rather just say ‘I’m sexual,’” she says. Others, like Katy, prefer “bi-affectionate.” “Queer” may be gaining popularity on the West coast to include lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but it hasn’t caught on yet here on the East coast. I don’t necessarily feel like I need the label bisexual; like all labels, it tends towards fixing a limited - and sometimes misunderstood - definition of the wearer. However, it still comes closest to describing who I am, who I have been and who I may become. Might that change? Of course - that’s what this essay has been about.
Rather than try to define each other out of existence, we need to accept that we aren’t all the same.
Pansexual, meaning “all-sexual,” could convey the unfortunate impression that we are obsessed with sex or that we sleep with anything that moves, but should be understood to mean that we open ourselves up to all sexual possibilities. / Personally, I think that words like “idiosexual,” which means “individual-sexual,” or “autosexual,” which means “self-sexual,” would be more accurate, since our uniqueness lies in our determination to define our own individual sexualities, whether we choose to be open to all possibilies or not. But at the same I cannot imagine telling people that I am an “idiosexual” or an “autosexual,” because I immediately imagine the response, “You mean you are a masturbating sexual idiot?” / [Pansensual] allows us to claim a wider range of our own emotional and physical capacity. I think I could get used to calling myself a “pansensual.” Already, I prefer it to the dualistic implication of the word “bisexual,” a word I have never felt comfortable with at all.
“Closer To Home” by Elizabeth Reba Weise, Anything That Moves #4, 1992: The women in Closer to Home give themselves many names. Bi-dyke, bi-lesbian, lesbian-identified bisexual, bi-affectional, lesbian, and formally-lesbian bisexual. Anything but straight. As Margaret Mihee Chloe points out in her essay, “identity is that which makes one recognizable to self and other.” The plurality of names, and the combinations used, are all attempts in our clumsy and woman-wordless language, to create this identity, to make ourselves recognizable.
“Tear Down The Bi Walls” by Mykel Board, Anything That Moves #4, 1992 I prefer pansexual.
Bisexual Centrist Newsletter, 1992: Other pansexual bi activists, even though they themselves don’t belong to additional sexual minorities, are proponents of pansexual organizing for a practical reason. If the bi movement accepts every other sexual minority under the umbrella label of “bisexual” and forms an enormous sexual minority community, it will grow so rapidly as to overwhelm all opposition to its agenda. Or, at least, it will grow much more rapidly than a bi-specific group. / Bisexual activists who have adopted a les-bi-gay philosophy also want bisexuals to be part of a larger sexual minority community, but their chosen subculture is more narrowly defined than that of the pansexual activists.
“A Bisexual Feminist Perspective” by Liz Highleyman, 1993: The most interesting connection between queerness and anarchy is the breakdown of categories and hierarchies. The whole notion of breaking people into two distinctly defined groups, whether on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., seems to lead inexorably to hierarchy and all the problems of authoritarianism that come with it. When I think of queer anarchism, I think of breaking down the strict boundaries constructed between the categories of sexuality. So, I guess I think of bisexuality, omnisexuality, pansexuality as being more “anarchist” that strict homosexuality or heterosexuality. Looking at things on a long-term, more idealistic basis, I’d like to see us be able to smash gender and sexuality boundaries. I think some gays and lesbians reify traditional notions of gender and sexuality (albeit with the “good/bad” value judgments reversed). I also think some parts of the feminist movement do this as well, when they talk about the “inherent nature” of men and women.
“Reactionary Queers? Queers React” by Liz Highleyman, 1993: I’m personally happy I’m bisexual/pansexual because I don’t like to discriminate on the basis of gender (though I do discriminate on the basis of other characteristic).
Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate Philosophy of Sex, 1994: Carol likes to call both gays and straights “monosexuals,” but she isn’t particularly fond of any of the new terms being promoted by an increasingly visible bisexual movement - words like pansexual and omnisexual.
The Very Inside: An Anthology of Writings by Asian & Pacific Islander Lesbian and Bisexual Women edited by Sharon Lim-Hing, 1994: Solitary Bravo by Darlena Bird Jimenes: In all of my work there is a gay-affirmative energy; a space that is multi-sexual, ambigendered. A place to explore the pansexual, the intrasexual. I become the gender transcender. Within all of this, I have begun to actualize the marriage of my artistic voice and my awakening political voice. Where do I go from here?
“Bisexual Liberation” by Liz Highleyman, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, 1994: As Naomi Tucker writes in Anything That Moves (#4): “...we bis should be supporting not only transgender issues but also s/m, non-monogamy, alternative families, anarchy, sex work, radical feminism (in the original sense, not the anti-porn and social purity advocates who have more recently appropriated the term), HIV activism, disability awareness, sex positive environments—and other issues that are negatively targeted or ignored within the lesbian/gay ‘mainstream’ and heterosexual communities.” For some, “queer” encompasses this broader vision, but others prefer newer labels with less baggage, such as pansexual, polysexual, or omnisexual (especially since gay men and lesbians often seem undecided about who they're including when they use the queer label).
Bisexual Politics: Theories, Queries, and Visions by Naomi S. Tucker, 1995: We each craft our own self-identity and choose words to describe ourselves according to our cultural and personal histories. The bisexual community should be a safe haven that honors the fluidity of sexual identity. A place where people can choose the labels that fit them best—or choose no labels at all—without fear of losing the community they call home. / Many people who are sexual with both men and women, yet not bi-identified, do not seem to be plagued with internalized biphobia or an unsupportive environment. Some prefer to call themselves “queer” rather than “bisexual”; others, when asked, may say something like, “I don’t like labels,” or “I’m just sexual.” / A number of lesbian women and gay men I met did S/M together, but did not consider themselves bisexual. They were simply doing what has come to be called “pansexual play.”
Some proponents of sexual and gender liberation have coined terms such as “pansexual” and “omnisexual” to describe their aspirations, but no term for this movement has so far achieved common usage. / Call it whatever you want (or call it nothing at all), even if someone else wants to call it something else. Sexuality and sexual identity are fluid and change over time. People need to be able to call themselves whatever they need to in order to let themselves do what they need to. / There are many who choose to have sex with all genders in varying relational configurations and who do not necessarily identify with any labels. / Radical bisexuality must embrace a future with gender plurality as well as orientational fluidity. Labels such as “pansexual” and “polymorphously perverse” may reflect this view.
Unlike the mainstream segment of the gay and lesbian movement, bisexuals have not restricted the project of deconstructing identity-based categories to academicians. Rather, bisexual both within and outside the organized bi movement have made this project an integral part of how we make sense of the world and live our lives as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, ‘just sexual,’ androgynous, genderfucked, bi-gendered, non-gendered, gender-indifferent, or ‘don’t label me’ human beings seeking to create communities with those with whom we find common cause, even (or maybe especially!) if our labels don’t happen to coincide.
Currently, voices within our movement are breaking down borders once again. We are no longer simply bisexuals. We are also autonosexuals, omnisexuals, pansexuals, polysexuals, ambisexuals, trisexuals (because we’ll try anything!). While the real meaning of these terms is presently implied, exotic, vague, and opaque, their very existence is promising. What all these new terms and sexual identities suggest is an expanding consciousness vis-a-vis sexuality. They are saying: “The limitations of language, the existing terms, do not encompass the enormity and explosiveness of my sexuality.”
“Are You Bisexual Enough? Bisexual Identity, Behavior and Monogamy” by Stephanie Berger and Claire Hemmings, Bi Women Quarterly, 1995: There may be people who have sexual, emotional, personal relationships with people of more than one sex/gender who do not identify as bisexual (e.g. lesbians who sleep with men, or married straight men who have casual or anonymous sex with other men, etc.).
“Editorial Thoughts”, Anything That Moves #9, 1995: Our liberation struggle, in a community that comprises a vast breadth of people and issues - transgender, bi/pan-sexual, lesbian and gay - is deeply linked to other liberation struggles, which are all struggles to respect each person as a whole person, to not allow anyone to be used as a tool against their will. Our difference are our riches, and our similarities make community.
“Fluid Desire, a manifesto”, Anything That Moves #9, 1995: There are many people out there who have sex with all genders, in varying relational configurations, but who do not necessarily identify with sexual identity politics.
“Call For Submissions”, Anything That Moves #11, 1996: ATM is particularly interested in work by bi/pan/or-similar-sexuals.
“International confab draws 900 bisexuals” by Liz Highleyman, Bay Area Reporter, 1998: Continuing the themes of diversity and fluidity, keynote speaker Farajajé-Jones asserted that “When we say unity, we don’t mean uniformity...to acknowledge our differences is not fragmentation or divisiveness.” Activist Tim Turner noted that many young people with attractions to both men and women reject the bisexual label as too confining, and instead prefer labels such as “pansexual” — or no labels at all.
“Labelous Statements” by Anne Killpack, Anything That Moves #19, 1999: Whether you call yourself bisexual, polysexual, multisexual, pansexual, me-sexual or refuse to be labeled altogether, if you are like me and find people attractive regardless of their sex or gender, then we need you. And why, for heaven’s sake, should we poly-perverse people limit ourselves to one label anyway? Be a polysexual bisexual. Be a bi-dyke or a bi-gay or a bi-androgyne or a bi-anything-that-moves-you.
Bisexuality: A Critical Reader edited by Merl Storr, 1999: The binarism implied by the ‘bi’ in bisexuality has itself been cause for concern for some authors, especially those whose epistemological perspectives are broadly opposed to the prevalence of binary division in conceptual thought. This has led some writers and activists to reject the term ‘bisexuality’ altogether in favour of what they feel to be less loaded terms, such as ‘pansexual’ or ‘pansensual’.
Bisexual Resource Guide edited by Robyn Ochs, 1999: Bisexual Network of Vermont: Network of individuals throughout Vermont who are bisexual, multisexual, two-spirited, or trans identified.
Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith edited by Debra R. Kolodny, 2000: I have identified myself at different times as lesbian, as bisexual, as pansexual, as asexual, and all of these things have been true. But I believe that we must be careful not to allow the labels we adopt to separate us one from another even within the GLBT community.
Seattle had developed an especially thriving leather/kink community, including a sizable polyamorous pansexual contingent. The pansexual subcommunity was especially fascinating to me as a bisexual person because of its diversity. Within it were individuals who identified as straight and as gay or lesbian as well as numerous bisexuals. A number of these folks also happened to be transgendered persons, male-to-female and female-to-male. Further, many of these people were happy to share BDSM “play” with each other regardless of the gender or sexual orientations of the persons involved. This is not to say there weren't problems and misunderstandings-no community is immune to those. Yet I could think of few other sectors of the queer community where that broad a range of sexualities and genders got along with that high a level of equanimity. I was impressed.
Bisexual Resource Guide by Robyn Ochs, 2001: VisiBIlity: Ann Arbor based, multi-gender group of bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, multisexual, bi-affectional folks & their partners, friends, & allies.
Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World edited by Robyn Ochs, 2005: People are becoming not only increasingly willing to embrace identities that cross lines, but also immensely creative and playful in their use of terms and labels. Some identify as queer, pansexual, or omnisexual. Some publicly acknowledge attractions and/or relationships with people of more than one sex while simultaneously claiming the right to identify as heterosexual, lesbian or gay. Some deliberately use labels strategically, identifying differently in different social contexts. And some eschew labels altogether. In fact, as we debated possible titles, we considered subtitling this book “Voices of Bisexuals and Other Folks Along the Sexuality Spectrum,” recognizing that the word bisexual cannot possibly encompass all whose identities challenge the binaries of gay and straight. Although brevity eventually won out in the title, we want this book to be a safe and nourishing haven not only for those who identify as bisexual, but for everyone.
Someone who has had sexual experience or even just attractions to people of more than one sex can be described as bisexual, but may not identify that way. / Perhaps I could use pansexual, omnisexual or allsexual. / For a while, I adopted the seventy-something-year-old term “pansexual” but I got tired of defining the word for people. / Others prefer pansexual, homoflexible, queer. / As for which words we choose to name ourselves, that’s up to each of us. / I leave it to others to define themselves (or not) in whatever way they see fit. / Sexual orientations (e.g., homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual and pansexual) are amiguous. / So what does this make me? Pansexual? I end up, since I’ve been part of the bisexual movement for so long now, identifying as “bi-/pansexual.” In nearly all respects, I am certainly “queer” as well.
Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community by William Burleson, 2005: So I’m just thrilled to death that I’m queer or bisexual or pansexual, or, I’m not a slut, I’m a sexual opportunity technician; whatever I am, I’m just glad that I am.
“Detroit Gathering a Good Place for Bi Bonding” by Ellyn Ruthstrom, Bi Women Quarterly, 2008: In most of these meetings people choose identify in several different ways - bisexual, pansexual, queer, trans - and the issue of what to call our community popped up time and time again. I’ve always found bi people to be very uncomfortable with labels generally; we just hate boxes.
“Not Bisexual Enough?” by Tracy, Bi Women Quarterly, 2009: So far, I have gone through the following: mostly lesbian, lesbian-identified bisexual (too wordy), queer, Kinsey 5, fluid, pansexual, and even “unlabeled.” The following people, while one could technically label them as “bisexual,” have vastly diverse experiences that need to be acknowledged: “lesbians” who have sex with them, “straight women” who are turned on by girl-on-girl porn, people who are mostly attracted to the same sex, people who are mostly attracted to the opposite sex, those who are attracted to people “regardless of gender,” and so many more. Clearly, there is a demand for many more labels, but what do we do until then?
“What’s in a Name: Call Me Bisexual or Call Me..” by Ellyn Ruthstrom, Bi Women Quarterly, 2009: As the current President of an organization that identifies itself with the b-word, the Bisexual Resource Center, I’ve been becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the word bisexual is not the descriptor of choice of many people who experiences are similar to people who do identify as bisexual. So I took the opportunity to ask a whole bunch of people who went to a conference with bisexual in the title more about how they identify and see if we can all work together even if we call ourselves different things.
I kicked off the workshop by having the 30 or so people there shout out the various words they use to describe their sexuality; 95/5 girl, lesbian-identified bisexual, genderqueer, ambisexual, sexual, no label, AC/DC, pomosexual, trans, heterosexual, homoflexible, queer, pansexual, fembi, bisexual, tomboy, open, heteroflexible, trysexual, omnisexual. / The next question is, if we call ourselves by different names can we still build a movement together? Whether we call ourselves bisexual or queer or omnisexual or any other word, we hope to keep our community strong and vibrant for many years to come. I was very cheered by the discussion in the workshop and the way that people expressed feeling a connection to each other, despite the different terms.
Bisexuality and Same-Sex Marriage by M. Paz Galupo, 2009: So what does a grrl have to do to get some street cred with this LGBT crew? I have lost family. I have protested. I remain politically aware and active. I support LGBT owned and LGBT friendly companies. I’m an out and proud bisexual/multisexual/pansexual wommin...ah yes, that does complicate things a bit.
“Bis Around the World: Shiri Eisner, Israel” by Robyn Ochs, Bi Women Quarterly, 2010: I am a 27-year-old female gender queer. I am a feminist, anarchist, vegan, polyamorous, bisexual/pansexual and a sex radical. I do a lot of stuff in general, such as grassroots organizing, academics, journalists writing, and art. I started (and currently organize) the second-ever and only currently active bisexual/pansexual organization in Israel, Panorama - a bi and pansexual feminist community. These days I identify as both bisexual and pansexual. I think pansexuality is a wonderful word which allows us the opportunity to speak about non-binary genders and sexes, and in some contexts, to emphasize our inclusiveness of them.
“The Road Less Travelled” by Sara de Souza, Bi Women Quarterly, 2010: I came to understand that my sexuality is more fluid and that I am more pansexual in terms of whom I find myself attracted to.
“Meeting in the Borderlands: Transcending Boundaries 2009” by Amanda Morgan, Bi Women Quarterly, 2010: I had the pleasure of attending the Transcending Boundaries Conference (TBC) for the first time this past November. To quote TBC’s official website, the conference is for “bisexual/pansexual, trans/genderqueer, intersex and polyamorous people and our allies. TBC is for and about those who do not fit into simple categories.” For me, TBC was about the rare experience of feeling at home. The bi presence was also in full force and I wasn’t even able to attend all the bi specific workshops. I made it to “Bisexuality: Are We Still Invisible?” and “Getting Bi: Voices from Bisexuals Around the World.” The former consisted of a panel that brought together bisexual and pansexual people as well as monogamous and non. Each story was interesting and each panelist has struggled with making themselves visible and feeling included in the larger LGBT movement and community.
“Bi Times” by Georgia Garvey, Red Eye Chicago Magazine, 2011: Dictionaries often define the word “bisexual” as someone who has the potential to be attracted to more than one gender. That word, as well as terms like “queer,” “hetero-flexible,” “homo-flexible,” “pansexual,” “omnisexual,” and “bisensual” mean different things to different people. But to bisexual activists, they’re all members of the bi family. Using the word “bisexual” is important, they say, because educating the community requires a common language. “It’s PR 101. If you want to do a project or a campaign, you have to drive home the terminology,” said Adrienne Williams, 45, of Rogers Park.
“Working Bi: Preliminary Findings from a Survey on Workplace Experiences of Bisexual People” by Heidi Bruins Green, 2011: Three fourths of the 822 respondents (74.5%) used the term bisexual as a self-definition. Forty-three percent used that term and no other, whereas 31% used bisexual plus one or more additional terms. More than one fourth (28%) used the term queer as part or all of their self-definition. One fifth (21%) of respondents used the term fluid or sexually fluid. Fifteen percent used pansexual. Another 15% used the word gay whereas 11% used lesbian. The self-definition terms question utilized several options common in the African American community ‘men who have sex with men and women’ (MSMW) and ‘women who have sex with men and women’ (WSMW). That category had a 10% response rate, indicating that people beyond the African American and other communities use those terms, because only 2.9% of respondents identified as Black. Alternative terms that were volunteered by respondents included ‘heteroflexible’ and ‘homoflexible,’ ‘bisituational,’ ‘dual citizen,’ ‘day-walker,’ and ‘hot-sexual.’
The Bisexual Umbrella, Shiri Eisner, 2011
“BiCon” by Shiri Eisner, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: BiCon was absolutely awesome. I had never witnessed a well-based bisexual community, have never been to a bisexual event that I didn’t organize myself. Being able to experience a space dedicated to the bisexual community, full of bisexual, pansexual and queer people was deeply heartening for me, and gave me hope for my local community.
“Beyond the Conference” By Ellyn Ruthstrom, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: Steph Miserlis and I facilitated another workshop exploring the variety of identifiers that the bi community uses to name ourselves. From bi, fluid, pansexual, omnisexual, pomosexual and more, the group discussed their reasoning for each and whether we can work together politically if our word choices are different.
“News Briefs” By Katrina Chaves, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: November also brought us the “I Am Visible” PSA Campaign! Founded by Adrienne Williams, it is a positive space for all bi and pansexual people who have felt “misrepresented, miscounted and ignored.” While many celebrities have gotten involved in the It Gets Better campaign, and gay & lesbian bullying has become an issue discussed in mainstream media as of late, we are still finding bisexual, pansexual, and transgendered folks left out of public discourse. The bullying and harassment plaguing younger generations is not a problem unique to gay and lesbian communities. Gender role non-conformity, bisexuality, intersexuality, and pansexuality are left out of most discussions. Dan Savage is one popular figure who promotes this invisibility; while discussing “gay and lesbian” bullying, he ignores the fact that bi and trans teenagers struggle with the same fears.
“Creating Change 2011” by Robyn Ochs, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: Faith Cheltenham and Becky Saltzman were the prime organizers of the day-long Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Organizing Institute on Thursday.
“Next in Bi Women”, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: The theme for the Winter ‘12 issue: When I Knew. When did you know you were bisexual (or queer, or pansexual, or fluid, or just definitely not straight)? Did you have an “aha!” moment? Was there a pivotal event or conversation after which it all made sense? Or was yours a slow process of discovery? Do you feel that it’s all clear in your head now, or are you resting (or grappling) with the question? Tell us about your experience. You can use prose, images, cartoons, poetry, or a combination of these. Send in something very short, or as long as 1000 words (or a page of images).
“Marriage for All” By Jennifer Rokakis, Bi Women Quarterly, 2011: Jennifer identifies as pansexual.
“Next in Bi Women”, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: The theme for the Spring ‘12 issue: Voice of Youth. If you are 25 or under, here’s a chance to share your story. What is it like to be you? How did you come to identify as bi, pansexual or fluid? Where did you learn about bisexuality? Was there a Gay/Straight Alliance in your high school? Are your friends accepting of your identity? What about your family? Do you have any role models? Are you a role model? Where do you get support? Are you an activist? What advice would you give to other young people who think they might be bi, pansexual or fluid?
“Bi Women Around the World: The Poser (Singapore)” by Mel, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: The futility of my search for an innate gayness and gender expression was also hardly surprising or relevant to expressing my gender and sexuality as, say, an androgynous-lesbian, or butch-pansexual, or simply queer (they vary, and I do not mind). It was entirely possible for me to be comfortable with my identity without feeling that I had to justify it.
“Growing Up Bi in Texas” By Mel McConachie, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: When I was 18, I got a bi-pride flag star tattoo on my hip. Now that I understand more, I say I’m pansexual, but I identify as bisexual.
Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others by Jonathan Alexander, 2012: Even “bisexuality” is confining in that the binary gender system is inherent in the term. Indeed, some people have begun to identify as pansexual, omnisexual, genderqueer, or simply queer in an effort to explain a sexuality that is not confined by either/or. But even these are labels, and although they fall outside of the system, they have been created because the system requires it.
Calendar, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: Younger Bi Group. If you are between the ages of 20-29 (or thereabouts) and identify somewhere along the lines of bisexual/omni/pan/fluid (or are questioning in that direction), please join us once a month for discussion and support.
“New Boston-Area Groups & Opportunities”, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: New Bi Group In Boston For Younger Bi/Pan/Fluid Folks. Let’s face it: our twenties can be terrifying and exciting. There’s something unique about the issues faced by this twentysomething generation, and who better to create more support and community than our contemporaries? If you’re somewhere in the vicinity of 20-29 identify as bi/pan/fluid or questioning in that direction, BRC’s Younger Bi Support and Social Group welcomes you.
“Creating Change 2012”, Bi Women Quarterly, 2012: We also had the most visible bi presence to date. The conference program included a statement on Bisexual/Pansexual/ Fluid Etiquette. We had a full-day Bi/Pan/Fluid Organizing Institute that drew 46 activists from 17 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. In addition to the institute, we had a Bi/Pan/Fluid hospitality suite that was open throughout the conference and served as safe space for all who identify outside the confines of cis-, hetero- and homo-normativity. Organized by a small team of amazing volunteers, the suite also provided meals for low-income folks across our spectrum. Bi-focused workshops at the conference included: Make the Invisible Visible: How Your Group Can Become Bi Inclusive (Ellyn Ruthstrom) and a well-attended Bi/Pan/Fluid Caucus, brilliantly facilitated by Ellyn.
Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner, 2013: I had [...] organized the first bi/pan block in the Tel Aviv pride parade, [...] and formed the second-ever bisexual and pansexual organization in Israel/Occupied Palestine, Panorama--Bi and Pansexual Feminist Community.
Recently the word bisexual has been assigned a new use with increasing popularity: that of an umbrella term for multiple bi-spectrum identities, those that involve attraction to people of more than one sex and/or gender. This works similarly to the word transgender, which is not only a name for a specific identity, but also a general term encompassing many identities that deviate from cisgender norms. “Bisexual” denotes a specific identity as well as a multiple-identity umbrella. Some bisexual identities are: Bisexual, pansexual/omnisexual, polysexual, queer, fluid, homoflexible/lesbiflexible, heteroflexible, bi-curious, biromantic, panromantic, bisensual, pansensual, bidyke, byke, bisexual-lesbian, ambisextrous, anthrosexual, multisexual, gender-blind, pomosexual, AC/DC, nonmonosexual, switch hitter, msm, wsw, trisexual, hasbian, bi-furious, versatile, humansexual, anthrosexual, down low, yestergay, ambisexturous. Where appropriate, it might also include questioning and unlabeled.
What it means is that an umbrella definition of bisexuality might give us more space for what I enjoy thinking about as the three Ds: difference, diversity, and deviation. What it means is that bisexuality under this definition enables us to resist a single standard. To be different from each other as well as from the norm, to be diverse and diversify ourselves, to deviate from the paths we’ve been pushed into by society and by oppression. It means that bisexual communities and movements can resist standardization imposed upon us by straight society, gay communities, or even the mainstream bisexual movement itself. Our communities can refuse to toe the lines, to police or impose order upon bisexual people or anyone at all. It means no one gets thrown overboard, rather that our differences can serve as a source of power.
“Solutions for Bisexual Mental Health Issues” by Harrie Farrow, Bi Women Quarterly, 2014: Create alliances across sexual labels, identities, and practices. Daily-fought mini-wars over definitions, which divide the non-monosexual community, further contribute to mental health issues. In the spirit of embracing and celebrating our diversity, bisexual/pansexual/omnisexual/etc. people need to form alliances to support one another across identities.
Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, 25th Anniversary Introduction, 2015: Pansexual people have been actively involved in the bisexual community since the 1970s. / “Bisexual or Pansexual?” can be considered equivalent to internal community conversations many gay and lesbian people have regarding personal approaches (e.g. “masculine,” “butch,” “femme,” or “queer:). Don’t “identity police” but DO spend time acknowledging the diversity that exists within the “B in LGBT”. / Being out and being bi means growing a thick skin and developing a high tolerance for the shifting landscape of everyone’s terminologies about all the names people give to who they are and how they love. Each generation searches for language and naming that reflect the times. Today the new debate, especially in certain sectors of the internet and in academia, is whether to call people who are attracted to more than one gender bi, queer, pan, fluid, or ____? And are there differences between these terms which are important?
Critiques of all terms, including the term bisexual, need to continue for as long as human consciousness develops and needs further ongoing clarification. We have critique which increases personal authority to define one’s own truth of self and exposes predudicially assumed authority to define others in a way that denies their truth. Constrained by the snapshot language of any given historical moment, we persist in our quest to aptly name the experience of living with/in the evolving continuums. / The point is to respect one another and remain flexible in the ever changing self-identity landscape. We have to hold a safe space for people to define their personal experience without judgment. Living both inside and outside the sexual and social [gender] paradigms, we bisexuals, queer people, polysexuals, fluid people, pansexuals, by every name we call ourselves - continue to subvert gender assumptions and explore naming ourselves - by every other identity, to no-identity-needed-or-wanted at all. What’s most important is respecting each person’s self-identity and being recognized and understood for who we are.
“Bi Women Around the World: LUIGIA SASSO, Verona, Italy” By Robyn Ochs, Bi Women Quarterly, 2015: Luigia Sasso is the bisexual chairwoman of Lieviti, the only Bisexual, Pansexual and Queer association in Italy, so far. / Bisessuale = Bisexual; Pansessuale = Pansexual; Queer and Bi have the same form in both languages. The meaning of all these words is also identical. / That said, bi people are non-existent in Italy. The prejudice stating that a person is either straight or gay/lesbian is still widespread. Bisexuality is more spoken about among trans people. In Siena [Tuscany] there is a self-defined pansexual group, and in Milan there is an association that has a lot of bisexuals; then there is obviously our group here in Verona, but we don’t know anyone else. I think that most bi people present themselves either as gay or lesbian to prevent discrimination, and some (actually, a few) people may present themselves as queer.
“Too Young Know To Know” by Jess McGowan, Bi Women Quarterly, 2015: I am 16, and I am in sixth form. When I tell people that I identify as a pansexual – besides the inevitable “what is that?” or pan-related joke – they will quite often dismiss my feelings as nothing more than attention seeking. Sometimes, they look at me like I’m high as a kite, sometimes they laugh, and sometimes they ask me if it’s because I haven’t found the right guy yet. It takes more self-restraint than I’m willing to admit to stop myself from tearing out my own hair.
But, returning to the point about the inevitable question about what pansexuality is, the entire issue of age could possibly be solved with a little more education. Of course people aren’t willing to accept that a 16-year-old person could know who she truly has feelings for, if they don’t even understand those feelings. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t even know what pansexuality was until a few months ago, having lumped my feelings under bisexuality – admittedly, my understanding of Latin affixes has improved since then. If I, a member of the LGBT+ community, didn’t even understand it, how can we expect other people to?
So, yes, I am often dismissed as a teenage phase because of how old I am. But people cannot form opinions on things they do not truly understand. There is so much turbulence during those adolescent years that I think people are almost justified in their skepticism. This is understandable when you consider that in the UK – depending on what survey you believe, if any – that only about 3-6% of the population identify as anything but straight. But, no matter what the statistics say, no one has the right to tell anyone who they have feelings for. No one has the right to tell you that you are something you are not. And no one on this Earth is allowed to tell you that your feelings don’t matter, cradle to grave.
Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men by Robyn Ochs and H. Sharif Williams, 2015: There has been an explosion of labels, monikers, handles, representations and identities for people who identify with non-binary, non-monosexual or middle sexualities: bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, panromantic, fluid, queer, questioning, heteroflexible, straight-with-a-twist, gayish, same-gender loving (which doesn't necessarily preclude simultaneous different-gender loving), MSM (men who have sex with men) or, as Robyn likes to say, PSP (people who have sex with people), and so on. The possible ways to describe the middle sexualities are as limitless as our imaginations. / It is clear to us that there is no one singular or universalized experience of being bi/pan/poly/fluid, and therefore it is important for us to reflect that in our work.
Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain edited by Kate Harrad, 2016: Glossary: bi-curious, omnisexual, pansexual, polysexual. Two people may experience their attractions in the same way yet use two different terms; two people who use the same term may experience their attraction in very different ways.
“Learning to Love Labels” by Iyanna James Stephenson, Bi Women Quarterly, 2016: I adopted the wholly encompassing label of pansexuality when expressing how I identify sexually. This label says that anyone I am attracted to, no matter their age, gender or race, is fair game. But I reserve this label for use with certain individuals. When someone identifies as queer (used here as an umbrella term for those who are not straight-identified), I feel more comfortable expressing the fact that I am pan, because I think they will understand it and it will not need to be further explained. When I am speaking to someone who has a limited idea or knowledge of sexual identification and expression, I always use bisexual. People have heard of this before, it doesn’t need to be debated and there are simple follow-up questions to the responses that I get for eliciting that particular sexual identification. / The benefit of labeling is that it does categorize you. This categorization has led me to find a community. When I hear someone say “I’m pansexual,” I am instantly at ease. I feel happy to be in the presence of someone who is like me. I feel comfortable with discussions of sexuality and expression. I feel, emotionally, at home. And it is that safe space feeling that can make labels worthwhile.
Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative edited by Kate Harrad, 2018: Using the Greek prefix “pan,” pansexual means “[sexually] attracted to all genders.” Some people, however, use “pansexual” as a way of controlling the dialogues they have about their sexuality, finding the lesser-known term a boon. / Typically, bisexuality is presented as an umbrella term—attraction to two or more genders—which encompasses other multi-gender attractions, both sexual and romantic. Pansexuality and polysexuality fall within this umbrella, meaning all pansexual and polysexual people also have access to the term “bisexual”—if they so choose. Different people have different reasons for choosing different terms: two people may experience their attractions in the same way yet use two different terms; two people who use the same term way experience their attractions in very different ways.
The Bi-ble: New Testimonials edited by Lauren Nickodemus and Ellen Desmond, 2019: Our books are not just for bisexuals, though we hope they will unite and inspire those of us who identify as such. Its writers identify as many things that fall under the bi+ umbrella.
“The Bi+ Institute at CC 2019” by Belle Haggett Silverman, Bi Women Quarterly, 2019: We must commit, as bi, pan, omni, and other multisexual identities, to come together and build community where none is found.
Bisexuality in Europe: Sexual Citizenship, Romantic Relationships, and Bi+ Identities, 2021: Plurisexual sexual orientations such as bisexuality, pansexuality, polysexuality, heteroflexibility, homoflexibility, and queer. / Moss (2012) explored the experiences of plurisexually identified women (including bisexual and pansexual women) who were married to men and in a relationship with a woman at the same time. / Among the 60 people I interviewed (who were not selected on the basis of sexual or romantic orientation), 27 defined themselves as plurisexual (24 as bisexual and/or pansexual, and three as heteroflexible).
It seems that people born in the late 1980s, 1990s and the early years of the 2000s may define themselves with other terms than “bisexual”. Anecdotal evidence indicates that among the younger generations, “pansexuality” seems to be a more popular term than “bisexuality” to define sexual desire and sexual experiences that do not fit into the conceptual boxes of heterosexuality or homosexuality. For the informants of Juvonen’s study, the boundary between bisexuality and pansexuality was random and fluid. The use of the terms depended on the context in which people talked about their identity and desire. The definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality overlap. Studies conducted in other countries have also shown that people may refer to their sexual identity as queer, pansexual and bisexual at the same time. Identities are seen as transcendent and as entailing potential to change (Flanders et al., 2017; Galupo et al., 2017).
One person’s bisexual identity can be another person’s pansexual (which is another person’s queer, and another person’s heteroflexible, etc.) – and at times, several terms are employed simultaneously (Rust, 2000). / In more recent years, research has indicated that pansexual people may also find that their identities are invisible in similar ways to bisexual people (King, 2013; Lapointe, 2017). / Research will show whether pansexuality, sexual fluidity, and other labels are used similarly or differently to bisexuality, whether people using such labels have different life experiences, and so on.
events and groups/organizations
Events: Bisexual Artists, Bisexual Book Awards, BiCon, Bisexual Community Policy Briefing, BiFest, Bi Health Month, Bi-Mo Bi-Bar, BiNe Bisexuelles Netzwerk e.V., Bisexualite.info, Bisexual Pride Day/Bi Visibility Day, Bisexual Awareness Week, Bi Space, BiTastic, Boundless Program at Fenway Health, National Equality March, To Bi or Not to Bi, Transcending Boundaries, Young Single Bisexuals Game Night Mixer
Groups/Organizations: amBi Los Angeles, amBIvalence, The American Institute of Bisexuality, Bay Area Bi+ & Pan Network, BConnected Colorado, Bialogue, Bi Centrum, Bifile i Norge, Bi & Pan: autocoscienza confronto cultura, Bigruppen LGBT+ Danmark, Bi+ Ireland, Bi Local, Bi Net USA, BiNet Seattle, BiPan + group, BiPerspective, BiPhoria, Bi Pride UK, BiQuPan, BiRequest, Biseksualke i Biseksualci Srbije, Bisexual Alliance Victoria Inc., The Bisexual Index, Bisexual Organizing Project, The Bisexual Research Group, Bisexual Resource Center, Bisexuals of Greater Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas, biUK, Bi Visibility Day, Bi Women Boston, Bi+ Women of Toronto, The Bi Writers Association, Center Bi+ Community & Gender Queer DC, Colorado Bisexuals and Pansexuals, Enrenou Activisme Bisexual i d'altres identitats Plurisexuals, Fluid Arizona, Fuck Yeah! Bisexuals!, GLAAD, GLSEN, Harriet Hancock LGBT Center’s Bi+ Space, HRC, The Kvartir Association, LGBT Foundation, Melbourne Bisexual Network, New York Area Bisexual Network, NYC Tri-State Area Bisexual+ SGL Queer & Questioning Meetup, PAVES, The Phase, r/bisexual, Seattle Bisexual Women’s and Nonbinary People’s Network, Still Bisexual, Toronto Bi+ Network, visiBi*lity Austria, The Visibility Impact Fund
This list, including quotes, can also be found here.
frequently asked questions
How are mspec labels defined?
Mspec is an umbrella term describing people who experience attraction to more than one gender, regardless of labels or lack thereof. Bi is attraction to two or more genders/more than one gender, or attraction to genders similar and different to your own. Pan is attraction to people of all genders, or more specifically, attraction that is not determined by gender. Ply is attraction to multiple but not all genders. Omni is attraction to all genders.
What’s the difference between “attraction to all genders” and “attraction regardless of gender”?
Attraction to all genders indicates being (or having the potential to be) attracted people of any and all gender identities/lack thereof. Attraction regardless of gender indicates that gender identity/lack thereof doesn’t determine, affect, or play a role in the attraction. Attraction regardless of gender is a more specific version of attraction to all genders. Attraction to all genders can be “regardless of gender”, but it isn’t always. Some people might not see or care about that difference or think it’s being pedantic, but everyone is different and the specificity and nuance and personal connotations are things some people like, want to express, and find important. And that’s okay.
How are mspec labels different?
Generally speaking, the easiest way to understand the difference is that bi can mean anything from two to all, ply means multiple but not all, and pan and omni only ever mean all. It’s important to remember that these are just basic definitions, and by no means are meant to draw lines between each identity. They very much overlap, and each individual who uses them has their own way of understanding and defining and relating to them. The best way to understand mspec labels is to listen to what the labels mean to those who use them, instead of relying on one single person or group to define them for everyone.
Further reading: 1.) Pan and bi definition and explanation psa. 2.) Explaining the differences between pan and bi, as well as the different ways one can identify with and reasons why one might use the terms. 3.) Why framing identifying as pan or bi as simply a matter of choosing one term over the other is harmful and inaccurate. 4.) Why saying “pan and bi are the same, it just depends on which term someone prefers” is not actually supportive or respectful of pan and bi people and our identities.
Can people identify as more than one mspec label?
Of course! These labels are similar and overlap with one another, so many mspec people use more than one label.
Can pan people have preferences?
Of course! While some people are drawn to the pan label because to them it indicates a lack of preference, that’s not the case for all pan people. Being attracted to all genders doesn’t mean being attracted to them all equally, and gender not being what determines your attracttion doesn’t mean it can’t affect your attraction.
Further reading: 1.) “Regardless of gender” doesn’t mean “no preferences”.
Are “hearts not parts” and “gender-blind” harmful?
Yes. What they mean to convey is fine (attraction being independent from or not determined by gender), but what they actually convey isn’t fine (conflation of gender and sex, ableism, arophobia, implications about non-pan people, etc.). Whether the people using those phrases are aware of those things isn’t really the point. The point is pan and non-pan people alike have been criticizing those phrases for a long time now. It’s best to leave them in the past.
Further reading: 1.) Explaining what’s wrong with “hearts not parts” and “gender-blind”.
Is pan a new label? Or was it created on Tumblr or LiveJournal?
No. Pansexual has been used as sexual identity in the context of human sexuality since at least the 1960s. (Also: we are constantly discovering new and different aspects of ourselves that we feel the need to label, and labels all have to start somewhere. Where and when that happens to be does not determine the importance of it.)
Furth reading: 1.) This sourced timeline of the pan label. 2.) Sourced post about pansexual existing before Tumblr and since at least the 1960s. 3.) Sourced post of how pansexual has been defined from the 1960s to 2019.
Is pansexuality biphobic or transphobic?
No. Pansexuality has historically been included in the bisexual community, and many people identify as both bi and pan. Pansexuality has been defined by individuals in transphobic ways, but the identity itself is not transphobic. Many pan people are also trans and/or non-binary.
Further reading: 1.) This sourced timeline of the pan label. 2.) Specifically the sourced page on the history of the bisexual community accepting mspec labels.
Did pansexuality originate in biphobia or transphobia?
No. Trans and non-binary people have shared their stories of how pan gained popularity decades ago amongst some people in response to transphobia, as way to be explicitly trans inclusive. And before that, pansexual was an alternative mspec label included in the bisexual community.
Further reading: 1.) This sourced timeline of the pan label. 2.) Specifically the sourced page on the history of the bisexual community accepting mspec labels. 3.) Explaining that neither pan nor bi are bad or bigoted identities with bad or bigoted histories. 4.) Sources for pan gaining ground in response to transphobia.
Is bisexual an umbrella term?
Simply put, it can be. The “bisexual umbrella” has been used for almost a decade, and before then all ways of being mspec were considered part of the bisexual community. Organizations, general and bi specific, consider bisexual an umbrella term, and often use “bi+” to express that.
Some mspec people don’t support the use of bi as an umbrella term due to feeling the identities that are supposed to be included are often further shadowed, or they don’t want to be categorized in a way they haven’t chosen or doesn’t match how they feel about and express their own identity. There are also people who feel it leads to bi people no longer having their own specific spaces.
On the other hand, there are mspec people who do conceptualize their identity that way, and who maybe need or want it to be umbrella term. Some might not be able to find resources and community and groups etc. for their identity, so having the bi community open to them if they so choose is important, and it can aid in coming together as one community on the basis of our shared experience despite (or maybe because of) our different labels.
Further reading: 1.) Sourced page on the history of the bisexual community accepting mspec labels.
Does the Bisexual Manifesto invalidate pansexuality?
Absolutely not. There isn’t a single thing in it that supports any argument against pansexuality. In fact, the Bisexual Manifesto, Anything That Moves (the magazine it was published in), and The Bay Area Bi+ & Pan Network (the group who published it) are explicitly inclusive of all mspec identities.
Further reading: 1.) Breaking down the complete Bisexual Manifesto. 2.) Quotes from Anything That Moves that support all mspec labels. 3.) Archived issues of Anything That Moves.
Is it ableist to use “panphobia” to mean pan-hate?
No. Panphobia is not a medical diagnosis. It’s one of many outdated terms for generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Further reading: 1.) Sourced debunking of the claim that it’s ableist for pan people to use “panphobia”.
What does Freud have to do with pansexuality?
Nothing. His theory about human behavior being driven sexual instincts, which was called “pansexualism” is not related to pansexuality, the human sexuality we use today. They are fundamentally different things. It’s inherently queerphobic to insist that an outdated (and heavily criticized even in its time) theory for treating mental disorders is in any way related to a very real, very natural human sexuality. Bringing up Freud in relation to pansexuality at this point is just not done in good faith.
Further reading: 1.) This sourced timeline of the pan label. 2.) Shutting down the claim that pansexual is a bad term because of Freud, among other things.
Is the pan flag’s meaning transphobic? Was the pan flag stolen from an Indian kingdom? Is the creator of the pan flag queerphobic or problematic in some way?
No, no, and no. The pan flag meanings are very simple, pink and blue for their gendered traditions and yellow, which is typically non-gendered, for non-binary folks. Any claims of the stripes othering trans men and women are not true. The pan flag was not stolen. That’s a baseless claim spread by panphobes. The creator of the pan flag, Jasper, is not queerphobic or problematic. That’s another baseless claim spread by exclusionists.
Further reading: 1.) Jasper on making the flag and what it means. 2.) Jasper on the accusations/attempts to replace the flag. 3.) Detailing the accusations against the flag/Jasper. 4.) Specifically on the theft accusation. 5.) Specifically on supporting kink at pride.
When was “pannie” coined and is it related to the T slur?
The earliest use of “pannie” in reference to pan people that has been found was from 2001, and it was used derogatorily in the same breath as the T slur. Claims that it was coined in recent years completely independent from the T slur are simply not true. (Not to mention the very clear mimicking of the T slur and all the trans people who have expressed discomfort with it.)
Further reading: 1.) Source for the earliest known use of “pannie”. 2.) Breaking down earliest use of “pannie”.