Pan lover? No, instead they are lovers at their best. Confused isn’t it? Lately, there have been many new terms, especially for sexual orientation and gender identity. Let’s learn a little about pansexuality, what it means, and how to support friends who are pansexual.
Definition of Pansexual
Pansexual is a term that refers to sexual and romantic interests without considering the gender and gender identity of the person they like (LGBT Foundation, 2019). Pansexuality is included in the type of sexual orientation.
Pansexuality is not a sexual deviance.
Sexual orientation refers to the gender that is considered “attractive” both sexually and romantically (APA, 2012). Pansexuality is not just limited to sexual attraction, it can involve romantic as well as emotional attraction.
To make things clearer, here’s a short example:
A man who is attracted to women who are very feminine, beautiful face and long hair. However, he can also be attracted to someone who is genderfluid with a beautiful face and long hair. This man can also be attracted to men whose faces look feminine.
You might think that someone who is pansexual likes, everyone, this is true, but still not very accurate. Pansexual individuals also have preferences for their ideal partner.
However, he can be attracted to anyone who fits his “criteria” regardless of gender. Both the people he likes are men, and women, genderfluid (changes between men and women), and Agender (does not identify gender).
So how do you help a friend who is pansexual?
How to Support a Friend Who Is Pansexual?
As a member of society and as a good friend, it’s also good to learn how to support our friends who are “coming out.” For those of you who don’t know, the term “coming out” is a moment when someone admits/tells their sexual orientation or preference to someone who is very close to them. As close and trusted friends, we need to cherish those moments and accept them (or not, that’s up to you).
Dr. Sera Lavelle, a clinical psychologist at NY Health Hypnosis & Integrative Therapy advises parents or romantic partners to have an “open mind” about pansexuality. Pansexuality has only recently been accepted, and it often becomes confusing for individuals who find themselves pansexual. These individuals need support as they work to understand their own feelings.
Dr. Sera Lavelle also added, “If your romantic partner is open and comfortable, just ask about their openness and willingness to discuss their pansexuality.” This discussion can help in building a deeper connection and an open and non-discriminatory understanding of the feelings he is experiencing.
A national survey from the Trevor Project with 28,000 participants showed a high rate of discrimination against friends who are LGBT by 71%. Individuals who experienced discrimination were more likely to attempt suicide (22%) than those who were not discriminated against (9%). As many as 39% of respondents to the survey seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months.
An open mind and a desire to understand can help our LGBT friends and ourselves. Given the current direction of world development, it is not surprising that this term will become increasingly popular and experienced by more and more individuals. We need to “prepare” and learn more so that we can increase our understanding by seeing the world through their eyes.
Pansexual and Bisexual Differences
The main difference between pansexual and bisexual is the amount or extent of their sexual preferences. According to Healthline (Ferguson, 2019) some parts of the LGBT community respond to the term bisexual as “not recognizing the existence of Non-binary”. The word “bi” in bisexual also means “two” and can be confusing, because it can mean;
- Like 2 or more genders
- Or, like men and women
Both interpretations remain generally accepted, but can sometimes be confusing to those who are not familiar with the terms. It’s a little confusing at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. To clarify, maybe we liken it to using color:
- Albert likes bright colors, like pink, khaki, pandan green and so on. However, she does not like dark colors
- Meanwhile, Albert likes all colors. Whether it’s a bright or dark color.
Using the interpretation of bisexual as “liking 2 or more genders”, Albert is included as bisexual because he likes various individuals of various genders, but not all of them. Meanwhile, Dino can be classified as pansexual because he likes individuals regardless of gender (all genders, including gender and non-binary).
Indeed, there is no absolute and absolute agreement regarding these two sexual orientations, there is even debate. However, most agreed on the explanation of the characteristics along with the basic things regarding the two sexual orientations.