Texas State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, a recently elected Democrat from El Paso, has just come out as pansexual. HELLO TO THE FIRST OPENLY PAN ELECTED OFFICIAL IN THE USA!!!
HuffPo states that Gonzalez came out as bisexual when she was 21 years old, but later felt that this label didn’t fit:
“As I started to recognize the gender spectrum and dated along the gender spectrum, I was searching for words that connected to that reality, for words that embraced the spectrum. At the time I didn’t feel as if the term bisexual was encompassing of a gender spectrum that I was dating and attracted to.”
Feministing adds that Rep. Gonzalez initially was out as queer while campaigning for her State Rep seat, but the poor old news media didn’t know what to do with that information, so she stuck with the term gay (to which the media responded by calling her lesbian).
“During the campaign if I had identified as pansexual, I would have overwhelmed everyone,” she said. “Now that I’m out of the campaign, I’m completely much more able to define it.”
HOLY SHIT. Can we all just stop for a minute and realize that a politician just spoke openly and articulately about pansexuality? She’s not dumbing it down and giving a news bite definition that rests at the lowest common denominator of understanding. She’s actually discussing dating and/or being attracted to women, men, genderqueer people, and trans* people like they’re normal, acceptable parts of life…cuz, ya know, they are. (Surprise!) Also, mad props to her for raising the profile of queer Latinas and uncompromisingly being herself. In case anyone is missing how big a deal this is, here’s a blow-by-blow of my response.
Me: Sees article on Facebook. Headline = “Mary Gonzalez will be the first out pansexual legislator in the US”
Me in my head: Oh my god. Oh. My. God. Oh my god oh my god oh my god. I have to tell Pandaqueer!
(FYI Pandaqueer = one of the loves of my life, with whom I’ve had many a great gendery spiel.)
PQ: WHAT?! PANSEXUAL REPRESENT?!
Me: HELL YEAH MUTHAFUCKAS!!!
Me: I AM HANDLING THIS MATURELY
PQ: YES. OH MY GOD IT’S EXCITING. I NEED TO MAKE US MATCHING PANSEXUAL FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS.
Me: YES AND WE WILL SEND HER ONE, ALONG WITH A LETTER PROFESSING MY UNDYING LOVE AND ADMIRATION.
PQ: MINE TOO PLEASE.
And then I devolved into an unintelligible mess because I had too many blog post ideas all at once.
In case this is not explanation enough, I will try to be serious for a moment. I’ve often joked with my friends that I never expect to see anyone I identify with (especially in regard to views on gender/sexual orientation/politics) on TV or in the mainstream media and that if I do, I’ll assume something’s gravely wrong. Let’s suspend reality for a sec and imagine me going into politics. I’ve never been able to envision myself running for office and being totally open about my sexual orientation because, of course, that would necessitate explaining non-binary genders and assigned sexes and gender fluidity. We all know that addressing those amid conversations of “American family values” would get me slapped with the “off-the-charts liberal nut job” sticker (which, let’s be real, is incredibly accurate). Those terms would also be deemed too complicated for the public to understand and I would be pressured to “simplify” my identity and fit into a box that people are already familiar with, but to which I would have no connection. Cue my endless frustration.
Bottom line: the notion that a political figure would actually use the word pansexual any time this decade–let alone 4 days ago–is stunning to me. I will certainly write her that letter of love and admiration.