Pansexuality: Rising trend in the 21st century?
Pansexuality has become popular in the queer community as a term for people to better describe their sexual orientation.
Just what is it, and why is it important in the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity?
Pansexuality: History and modern definition
The word “pansexualism” was originally coined by Sigmund Freud in the 1900s. It was defined as how sexual desire is the basis for all human interaction.
In its growing modern usage, however, pansexuality is defined as the attraction to other people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. The concept especially appeals to the younger generation because of their general dislike for labels.
The modern usage of the word “pansexual” started to gain traction in the 1990s, but it was Miley Cyrus who brought it to mainstream consciousness in the 21st century.
The word has been among Google’s top search terms since the pop star outed herself as pansexual last year.
Other notable people have also recently come out as pansexual: transgender YouTube personality Jazz Jennings and Texas state lawmaker Mary Gonzalez.
It may seem like pansexuality is about to enjoy its heyday. But the lack of understanding of what it really is often leads to confusion and damaging misconceptions— even within the LGBTQ community.
Pansexuality and the LGBTQ community
According to therapist Dr. Kat Van Kirk, pansexual teens sometimes struggle to find a community to identify with and get support from, and they are at a higher risk for being harassed regarding their orientation.
They may also find it difficult to date when potential partners don’t understand or are intimidated by who they are attracted to.
Sadly, pansexuals are viewed by some as promiscuous, confused, or just being trendy.
Pansexuality: What pansexuals want you to know
Sexual orientation and sexual behavior are two different things, and pansexuals are not more likely to be promiscuous or unfaithful than anyone else.
Pansexuals are open to dating someone who is male, female, transgender, intersex, or genderqueer. They are not restricted in their choice of partner because of a person’s gender or sex.
However, they are in no way undecided about whether they are gay or straight. They form connections with another person because of that person’s character and personality.
Finally, pansexuality is not a phase or a trend. Whether or not they have dated people of other genders, pansexuals should not have to justify their sexuality to others.
Also, there is nothing fashionable about opening yourself up to prejudice by expressing who you are.
Recognition of the existence of different genders and sexualities is a major aspect of pansexuality. Just like anyone, pansexuals expect their sexual orientation to be taken seriously.