The quest for love and self is a mystery that humanity has been looking to solve since its existence. Due to this profound question, society has gone through a sort of gender revolution within the last century as people bravely came out in order to find a more honest identity for themselves. During this time, new terms started being more widely used in order to describe a broader human identity in relation to sexual attraction and gender.
Transsexual, demisexual, two-spirited, androgynous, and even asexual are all becoming common expressions used to label oneself. This goes to show how vital the mission to find one’s identity is to this current generation. That being said, it makes perfect sense that with this new revolution filled with so many new and specific terms that some things can get easily lost in translation. One of the more prevalent confusions born is the differences and similarities of Bisexuals and Pansexual.
It can be effortless to mistake these two terms considering they both involve the ability to be attracted to more than one sex. consequently, though, this does not mean that mixing the two up will be without hurt feelings. Those who identify as bi or Pan are often very proud of their identity and most often would appreciate those around them to be able to respect their differences. A little bit of knowledge on this subject can lead to a more accepting and tolerant future. More so then lesbians and gays, bisexuals have shown to feel such things as Invisibility, societal rejection, violence, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health more often.
Simply put, the big difference between these two is the number of genders they are sexually attracted to. Bisexuals have at least two genders that appeal to them. Interestingly, the term has grown from meaning only just liking male and female to meaning they can be attracted to two or more different gender identities. They also don’t always feel the same amount of attractions to all genders they are attracted to. Some will be more into males and others more into females, but both still enjoy more than one. In 2016 more the half of the LBGT community identifies as Bi. On the contrary, those who come out as pansexual can feel attraction to all genders. The word Pansexual came from the Greek prefix pan, which means “all”. This doesn’t mean they find everyone attractive, only that they have the ability to. Basically, all those who are pansexual are technically also bisexual by today’s definition, but not all bisexuals are pansexual. Allow me to put this into real-life examples.
Sam is bisexual and looking to find love. They are attracted to men and woman but finds women more appealing. Sam sees a woman by the bar but finds they are a transgender female who is in transition. Though Sam feels nothing Is wrong with this, It is personally something they do not sexually desire. Steph is pansexual and is also looking for love. They walk into the same bar and see the same transgender woman. Steph finds this perfectly attractive and decides to see where things go.
If these descriptions do not completely clear things up, so here are a few quick tips for understanding the difference.
A Pansexual is not subjective to gender, but subjective to the unique person. Bisexuals can also feel this way, but can possibly have higher levels of subjectivity to gender depending on the bisexual.
Gender and Sex are different
Through-out the ages the two words sex and gender have been used as substitutes for each other, but in recent years the psychological society has been pushing the true meaning of gender. Sex is what you were born as. It is straightforward in that males have male parts and hormones, and females have female parts and hormones. With few exceptions for those born with both, sex is very easily defined. Gender is more so what you relate to mentally. An example being, those who are transgender are often born with a set sex but feel like they relate more to a female identity or vice versa.
Attraction is subjective
Even if everyone cant understanding being attracted to the same sex or someone of a different gender identity, everyone should know what attraction is, at least to a simplistic level. Most people have experienced that moment where they show something they love, such as a painting, game, or tv show, to someone else, only to feel that horrible disappointment when it does nothing for them. This is just a reminder that attractions is subjective and entirely differs from person to person. This is related to Bi and Pan is that someone who is Pansexual generally has a much wider range of attraction. Attraction to
Gender and sexual identity are personal
Other than being subjective, attraction and your gender identity can be a very personal thing. The search for who you are can be an extremely emotional and challenging journey filled with many changes throughout one’s life and should be respected. People of all genders, sexes, and sexualities should do their best to be considerate towards each other, and attempt to understand that no matter what one identifies as this is a complicated subject for everyone in one way or another. Whether they are Bi or Pan, it is essential to release this is something very dear to them and needs to be handled as such.
At the end of the day, even if the differences between these two terms still bring confusion, what’s most important is to try and be understanding. A little understanding can change the world. Respecting others for who they are and allowing them the chance to be respectful towards your own identity is the whole essence of living in a human society. Everyone loves in their own way, and if you can discover what love means to others, you may even find out what it means to yourself. Bi or Pan, more than one or all, attraction is attraction, it’s natural, it’s love, and it’s beautiful.