Earlier this week, pop singer Janelle Monae came out as pansexual as rumors buzzed about her sexuality. But what does it mean, exactly, to be pansexual?
Often confused with bisexuality, which is having attraction to two or more genders, pansexuality enjoys more fluid boundaries and fewer gender restrictions. Unlike bisexuality, through which attraction is defined by gender, pansexuality involves being attracted to the person, regardless of their gender. Since gender is a sliding scale, so goes pansexuality, adhering to non-binary and genderless identities that are becoming more mainstream.
Pansexuality is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
"1: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation
- Pansexual people are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, sex or presentation.
- —Farhana Khan
- The famous 0-6 scale … was devised to chart sexual proclivities, from purely heterosexual (0) to purely homosexual (6). Kinsey felt humans are pansexual (most falling somewhere between 0 and 6), and restrictions imposed by society and religion lead to sexual maladjustments.
- —Lisa C. Hickman
- Although Whitman's impulses were homoerotic, he was pansexual in the sense that he could find the driving force of something such as sex in almost everything …
- —Peter Craven"
📈 'Pansexual' is our top search today. 👑 https://t.co/DJ8gUex3qs— Merriam-Webster (@Merriam-Webster)1524757930.0
In her groundbreaking interview with Rolling Stone, Monae explains why she says she is pansexual, rather than bisexual.
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 motherf_cker.
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.
Janelle Monae has come out as pansexual. "I want young girls, young boys, non-binary, gay, straight, queer people… https://t.co/le1pcPTSuB— AJ+ (@AJ+)1524760720.0
Twitter users weighed on the discussion, offering their takes on the ever-evolving scale of sexual identity.
In light of the Janelle Monae article, some quick clarifications! Bisexual: attracted to two or more genders/same… https://t.co/HZjlqlZJH3— liz ⛸❄ 💙💜💖 @ ICE ADOLESCENCE (@liz ⛸❄ 💙💜💖 @ ICE ADOLESCENCE)1524763951.0
Just to be clear I'm pansexual and I'm poly and non-binary and I'm also fluid with all of it.— Tom Segura (@Tom Segura)1524933562.0
Ooookay since I was 19 I identified myself as #Bisexual... after reading all the news and educating articles today,… https://t.co/1ihi0tQ4bY— Alicia Roja (@Alicia Roja)1524786514.0
I went from identifying as bisexual to pansexual over the last two years. Someone said Pansexuals just want to be l… https://t.co/qz9qzfNyO0— ✨Ⓚⓨⓞⓚⓞ Ⓚⓔⓝⓞⓑⓘ✨ (@✨Ⓚⓨⓞⓚⓞ Ⓚⓔⓝⓞⓑⓘ✨)1524773769.0
"Pansexual" was the most searched word on Merriam-Webster yesterday, thanks to Janelle Monae. Here’s what it means: https://t.co/fjjnJdhYz7— AJ+ (@AJ+)1524853763.0
2/ For those who need more information on what #bisexual, #pansexual and #queer identities mean, here’s a quick rundown:— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign)1524864407.0
4/ #Pansexual: Describes someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of an… https://t.co/itopsWUiVL— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign)1524864512.0