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Pansexuality and the LGBTQ+ Community

Pansexuality and the LGBTQ+ Community


Where does pansexuality fit within the LGBTQ+ community? What is pansexuality, exactly? These are two of the most common questions that people ask about pansexuality. In the last few years alone, more people have come out about being pansexual than ever before. Even some celebrities, like Miley Cyrus, have spoken out about their pansexuality.


But where does pansexuality fall within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, if anywhere? Let’s take a closer look at this and other important questions that will help you understand how pansexuality fits into the LGBTQ+ community.


What is pansexuality?


First, if you’re unfamiliar with pansexuality, it’s important to get a base understanding before moving on to more complex topics. Pansexuality refers to a sexuality in which someone is attraction to people regardless of their gender identity. Someone who is pansexual does not have any limitations regarding who they feel romantically or sexually attracted to; they can also be attracted to people who do not identify with any gender binary.


Is pansexuality the same thing as bisexuality?


No. Pansexuality and bisexuality are sometimes confused for being the same thing, but there are some distinct and important differences between the two. Someone who is bisexual is attracted to both gender identities or sexes, I.e,. men and women. Someone who is pansexual is attracted to all people, regardless of their gender identity or sex.




Is pansexuality new?


No. It is important to remember that our current understanding and definition of gender and sexual identity differs from how people approached their sexual and gender identity in the past, but we do know that there are people who exhibited traits and feelings that we could today consider pansexual.


The usage of omnisexual to describe what we today consider pansexuality has been around since at least the 1960s-1970s, and it was during the 1990s that the phrase “pansexuality” took on its modern meaning. The 2010s saw the largest increase in the awareness of pansexuality, as it turned from being something relatively obscure to more mainstream. Today, pansexuality is about as mainstream as the concept of bisexuality.


Is pansexuality on the LGBTQ+ spectrum?


Yes. Pansexuality is considered to be on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, within the “+” section of the term. The “+” in LGBTQ+ is designed to encompass the many types of gender and sexual identities that may not fall within the lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer definitions in the LGBTQ term.


One thing to remember is that sexual identity, gender identity and similar concepts should always be approached as fluid and changing concepts. Our current understanding of gender identity is a lot broader than it was ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago, and so on.


And it is only in the past decade or so that the concept of pansexuality has grown from being a relatively obscure term to something that is considerably mainstream, particularly with the advent of celebrities coming out as pansexual.


Some have advocated for adding a “P” into the LGBTQ+ phrasing in order to represent pansexuality, and some variations of the acronym (especially those designed for showcasing pride) do contain the P. However, the typically accepted verbiage of the acronym--LGBTQ+--currently reserves pansexuality for the “+” that encompasses the wider range of sexualities not found in the earlier letters.

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