Often, after the awkward conversation that almost always follows my coming out to someone as pansexual, a number of questions follow. Some questions are out of genuine curiosity and encouragement, while some, quite the opposite. Intrusive, irksome, repetitive, and most of all, annoying; these are questions I frequently get asked by many when they discover that I’m pansexual.
So, ‘pansexual’, that’s a real thing?
Yes it is very much a real thing. No, it does not mean I’m sexually attracted to pans and pots.
It’s just a fancy term for ‘bisexual’, right?
Nope. Being bisexual is completely different from being pansexual. Bisexuality is attraction towards only two genders. But as a pansexual person, I’m attracted to people of every gender identity.
But aren’t there only two genders?
Absolutely not. There are endless gender identities out there, not just ‘male’ and ‘female’, for example, transgender, nonbinary, genderfluid and so on. Pansexuality is attraction towards people regardless of their gender identity.
So you’re basically confused and experimenting with your sexuality?
If I were still ‘confused’ and ‘experimenting’, I wouldn’t have put my sexuality into a category which is already a well-defined part of the LGBT spectrum.
But how can you be attracted to so many people at the same time?
Yes, pansexuality means being attracted to multiple genders, but not at the same time. Unless you are polyamorous, which means experiencing romantic or sexual attraction to multiple people simultaneously.
So you must be having sex all the time?
Being sexually attracted to all genders does not mean I’m having sex with everyone I find attractive. My sexual choices are my own and extremely personal.
Explain to me again the difference between ‘bisexual’ and ‘pansexual’?
Bisexuality means sexual and/or romantic attraction towards people of two genders.
Pansexuality means sexual and/or romantic attraction towards people of more than two gender identities, or, sexual and/or romantic attraction towards people regardless of gender identity.
If you haven’t dated a trans or nonbinary person, how do you even know you’re attracted to them?
Every individual, regardless of sexual identity, has their own moments of realizing who they are attracted to, and everyone should respect that.
Why is there no ‘P’ for ‘pansexual’ in LGBT if Pansexuality is a legit sexual identity?
Even within the LGBTQ community, lesser-acknowledged sexualities like asexual, demisexual, pansexual etc are not adequately represented and often erased. Hence, there is a significant need for the queer community to work on bringing these sexualities into the limelight, and discussing their various issues.
Are you sure that you’re not actually bisexual and ‘trying to seek attention’ by calling yourself pansexual?
Just because bisexuality and pansexuality overlap does not mean you can walk up to the nearest bisexual or pansexual person and tell them that their sexual orientation is incorrect.
Pansexuality isn’t a commonly heard of sexual orientation because not many people are aware of it. To most people, sexuality functions within the gay/straight binary, and hence they refuse to acknowledge the whole plethora of identities that make up the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. It is important for people to recognise these various identities more often, to realize that pansexuality is something as natural as being ‘gay’ or ‘straight’. I hope my answers to these frequently asked questions somewhat serve to facilitate that.