Monday afternoon saw actress Bella Thorne announce her pansexuality in a television interview, causing searches for the term to skyrocket.
The 21-year-old former Disney star, who previously considered herself to be bisexual, explained that pansexuality is the act of pursuing love interests based on their presence and personality rather than their gender, sexual identity or sexuality.
“I’m actually pansexual and I didn’t know that [until] somebody explained to me really thoroughly what that is."
She further explained that the approach to her dating life was “you like what you like.”
Bella's experience is actually surprisingly close to the norm as most people don't realise that they're pansexual until they have the word explained to them.
For many LGBTQ+ people, the act of verbalising your identity can come as a huge emotional relief.
Pansexuality, like every LGBTQ+ label, is defined differently depending on who you ask, but queer advocacy organisation GLAAD broadly defines being pansexual as “being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender.”
Pansexuality – although it can often be interpreted similarly – is not the same as bisexuality.
Although, the term 'pansexual' was birthed from this confusion.
Bisexuality is where someone's attracted to people of more than one gender (whether that's male, female, non-binary or trans people for example). Whereas people of the pansexual persuasion are more attracted to a person, aura or overall beauty rather than physical form.
Unlike bisexuality, which is gender-specific and exclusive, pansexuals can be sexually and/or romantically attracted to someone who is transgender, non-binary or gender-fluid.
Pan, after all, comes from the Greek prefix meaning “all.” Thus, a pansexual person would be attracted to cisgender, transgender, gender nonbinary, genderfluid, and agender folks (a person who doesn’t identify with any gender).
In essence, pansexuality is all-inclusive.
Main image by @bellathorne
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