I hear some of you wondering this across the vast reaches of the internet. As much as I would like to release you to the wondrous world of the interwebs and tell you to get on Google and edumacate yourselves, in this case, that might lead somewhere unfortunate. Periodically, I Google pansexual (as well as a slew of other gender and sexuality terms) just to see what would show up if I were trying to learn about these things for the first time. The good news: in the last three and a half years (since I started doing this), definitions have expanded exponentially, thanks in large part to the blogosphere. Now even Wikipedia is getting hip to the kids’ brand spankin’ new vocab words. Still, I’m concerned about some of the “information” that’s out there.
According to Yahoo Answers’ “What is a pansexual?” page, “they are COOL PEOPLE.” That’s lovely, dear, but not very helpful. Other answers on this thread include “someone who’s unbelievably easy” and “sexually attracted to cookware.” How I love the world today.
I cannot speak for all pan people–clearly, everyone experiences their sexuality differently–but here’s a good working definition. Pansexuality means an attraction to people of many/all sexes and genders. To clear up some common misconceptions: it doesn’t mean being attracted to/wanting to sleep with every single person all the time (how exhausting!), nor does it have anything to do with pedophilia or bestiality. One phrase that I’ve seen tossed around a bunch is that pan people are “gender blind” and can’t see gender at all. Excuse me, but…what?? To me, this sounds suspiciously like the people who claim to be “color blind” and unable to see race, when really they mean that they refuse to acknowledge it. Am I attracted to people of many sexes and genders? Yes. Does this mean that I simply pass over these part of their identities and don’t notice them at all? Absolutely not. I just find different things to appreciate about various identities, so I’m not gonna discount anyone as a potential partner simply because of their sex or gender(s). Everyone gets an equal chance in this regard. If you can’t handle my obsessions with purple things and brie? Well, that’s an entirely different story.