I feel like a common problem for our community is that many people invalidate our sexuality. When coming out to someone, it’s a natural response for them to ask me if I’ve ever dated a woman.
“Have you ever dated a girl?” is an annoying reaction when I tell someone I’m pansexual because that’s not what pansexuality is. Although I understand many people don’t understand what pansexuality is, I’m also confused as to why they don’t just ask, rather than jumping to the conclusion that I also date women aside from men.
After I have put some thought into this, it made me notice how many people want to hear someone’s dating history in order to validate that their sexuality. It’s completely unnecessary and invasive to be forced to tell my past or current love interests to have someone believe that I’m pansexual.
I’ve also seen posts on social media that say “coming out as bisexual has been such a trend recently.” Another thing that bothers me about these specific responses is that people discover themselves every day; it’s not a problem if someone states something today and something totally different the next. As humans, it’s natural to change our perspective and find new things out about ourselves. Believing that everyone is “suddenly” coming out is extremely harmful and discrediting. This type of feedback is what stops others from being comfortable enough to tell their family and peers about their sexuality.
As a pansexual woman, it’s kind of hard to explain that I am open to more than just the two genders. It’s also common for someone to say “So you would date a transgender person as well?” The answer is yes, but it definitely goes deeper than just that. When defining it to someone, I try to expand it on a bigger spectrum so they can have a better visual of how pansexuality is basically being open to anyone, regardless of their sex or gender identity. Many people also confuse bisexuality with pansexuality. It’s hard to differentiate the two, but the best I can put is the idea that bisexuality is open to more than just 1 gender, while pansexuality refers to having an attraction to someone regardless of gender.
I think it’s really important that people educate themselves on different sexualities, whether it be looking them up or asking whoever is in the community (in a respectful and noninvasive manner of course) for more knowledge. Overall, I have learned that people who are curious to learn about others are not trying to come off as insensitive. Although I have gotten offended several times, I strongly encourage myself and others to inform people about sexualities they may be unaware of.
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