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What Is Pansexuality? Breaking Away From Misconceptions

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Parnika believes that sexual attraction can be either simple or complicated to figure out. For some, it becomes simple as they love regardless of the other’s sex or gender. This is what it is like being a pansexual. Let’s understand it better, shall we?

To lay down a definition, pansexuality is the attraction where one feels sexually or romantically towards another — regardless of gender or sex. The prefix “pan” means all, which redirects one to the meaning of pansexuality. According to David Bond, someone who identifies as a pansexual can be attracted to multiple sexes and gender identities. He says, “It might have to do with who you have romantic feelings for or who you have a sexual attraction for, and those two can be hand-in-hand or distinct.

The flag of pansexuality has the shades Magenta, Yellow, and Cyan. Magenta represents women, yellow stands for non-binary, and cyan for men. With this laid down, let’s further look into pansexuality with other sexual orientations and the misconceptions that come with it.

Today, pansexuality has come a long way. It recently gained media attention as celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Brendon Urie came out to the world.

Several celebrities recently came out as Pansexual.

Figuring Out Sexual Orientation

Figuring out sexual orientation can be quite confusing to an individual. Usually, when someone realizes that they are pansexual, they tend to think they are bisexual because they are attracted to more than one gender. I always thought I was bisexual… but later, I also felt attracted toward trans people and gender non-conforming people. So I read a few books, and I realized I’m actually pan.” said a male student. “When I’m attracted to someone, gender identity of the person is not something that is a consideration to me. It’s basically how a straight or gay person is attracted to their partner but for me, the gender is not really a thing,” he added.

Bisexuality and pansexuality are often confused with being the same, as the baseline of both of them is being attracted to more than one gender. However, these two sexual orientations are different, like sisters from the same parent. An individual can be said bisexual when they are attracted to two or more genders. In contrast, pansexuals are attracted to all genders.

Pansexuality And Bisexuality

According to, Bisexual means attracted to multiple genders, and pansexual means attracted to all genders. These are different because “multiple” isn’t the same thing as “all.” Bisexuality can have a different definition to many people. Hence the amount of confusion between the two. But, many agree that bisexuality is being attracted to many genders, and pansexuality is being attracted to all genders.

A lot of people assume pansexuals are bi-phobic. Bi-phobia is that prejudice or intense hate towards the bisexual community. However, many think pansexuals are bi-phobic simply because these two sexual orientations have only one factor in common. However, many pansexuals claim not to be that way. Though bisexuality and pansexuality are two faces of the same coin, they do not hate each other. With that being said, let’s look into more misconceptions around pansexuality.


Breaking Away From Some Misconceptions Of Pansexuality

Like with everything else, pansexuality has several misconceptions around it. Few of them being:

“It’s just a phase”

The most common one for every sexual orientation is that it is just a phase. In that case, one might assume that every other sexuality is a “phase.” “ It can depend on being a ‘phase.’ Maybe for years, they’ve identified as being pansexual, and later they come out as being Queer. That might happen because of enough experimentation with different genders and sexualities. Finally, they settle down on the term that identifies with them the most,” says a user on the LGBT+ forum.

“They just don’t want to come out as gay fully”

Many people assume that pansexuals are just “testing the waters.” But, unfortunately, this leads them into thinking if they are figuring out if they are actually straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

“They are more likely to sleep around with everyone”

Many pansexuals consider this to be very offensive. The misconception that pan people think “everyone” is attractive or want to sleep with everyone is just downright untrue. “Gender or gender identity may not be factors that determine who we find attractive, but we’re human beings, too; we have preferences, types, and kinks just as varied as the other sexual orientations. There’s just more fish in the sea for us,” says Lee Monster.


All of the above information proves that pansexuality is just as important as any other sexuality in the rainbow spectrum. However, many pansexuals are still closeted because of the cons that come out of a simple act of one being nobody but themselves. Additionally, many do not have an idea about pansexuality because of the lack of resources available to them for example lack of pansexual characters in movies and books.

In conclusion, pansexuality, like any other sexual orientation, is a part of an individual and it’s high time our surroundings begin to get sensitized with it. “Live and let live,” said a 21-year-old student. At the end of the day, love is love and it cannot be contained.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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