Pansexuality refers to sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction to people regardless of their gender identity or sex. A person who is pansexual may be attracted to some people and not others, but the gender or sex of the people who they are attracted to does not matter.
While some consider pansexuality to fall under the umbrella of bisexuality, it may also be considered a separate sexual orientation. According to PFLAG, the first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families, bisexuality describes sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction to people of more than one gender. Since the prefix “bi” means “two,” some people find the term “pansexuality” to be more inclusive than “bisexuality” as it acknowledges that there are more than two genders.
All the same, some individuals who are attracted to two or more genders prefer to identify as “bisexual.” Others may choose to use the terms “bisexual” and “pansexual” interchangeably to describe their sexual orientation. Some may prefer the term “omnisexual” to “pansexual” when describing their sexual orientation. The prefix “omni” means “all,” so omnisexual describes attraction to all genders.
Pansexual individuals can be of any gender identity or expression. They can be attracted to cis- and transgender men, cis- and transgender women, non-binary people, and gender fluid people. A person need not have any sexual experience to be considered pansexual. The determining factors for whether a person is pansexual are attraction and self-identification.
Everyone is entitled to good sexual health including respect, safety, and freedom from discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If you are facing discrimination for your sexual orientation or gender identity, it may be helpful to seek positive support systems (whether in the form of family, friends, or community organizations).
Furthermore, if dealing with discrimination is negatively impacting your mental health, consider seeking professional support from a psychologist or therapist who can help you manage any symptoms of stress or depression.
Gould, W.R. Medically reviewed by David Susman, PhD. (2022, August 18). What Does It Mean to Be Pansexual? https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-pansexual-5075602
PFLAG. (Updated January 2021). PFLAG National Glossary of Terms. https://pflag.org/glossary
Rice, K. (2015). Pansexuality. The international encyclopedia of human sexuality, 861-1042. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs328
WebMD. Medically Reviewed by Isabel Lowell, MD. (2021, October 20). Pansexuality: What It Means. https://www.webmd.com/sex/pansexuality-what-it-means