The attraction to people regardless of gender or sex.
I first realised I was pansexual around a year ago. Before that, I was your typical cisgender, heterosexual girl: slightly homophobic, and completely ignorant. Being ‘gay’ didn’t make sense to me at all, it seemed like a foreign concept, something never spoken about, almost taboo. Growing up in South Africa probably didn’t help my mindset either, it’s not what you would would call the most open-minded country. And at the time, I was fine with that. I wasn’t questioning anything, and I even had a boyfriend.
But then I went and watched Twin Peaks.
Not many people have heard of Twin Peaks, it’s a 90's show that wasn’t even super popular back when it was released. The show is based around a girl called Laura Palmer, who was murdered mysteriously and found on a beach. Because the show started after she had died, you rarely saw her face, but when a standalone movie was released about her life, called Fire Walk With Me, the heterosexual label I had built for myself was completely shattered. At first, I was confused about my feelings, not really understanding them. But pretty soon I realised what these feelings meant.
I was very attracted to Laura Palmer.
And strangely enough, I accepted it rather quickly, which probably had a lot to do with my group of friends at school. They were super supportive and didn’t even question me liking someone of the same gender. So what if I loved Laura Palmer? Who wouldn’t?
But I was still slightly confused: I still liked men, but I also liked women? And I wouldn’t mind dating anyone in between? I was a boggled 14 year old with no idea of how to label myself. So I did the only thing I could think of: I asked my friends. Some of them found it a little humorous if I’m being honest, but like when I realised I wasn't straight, they were super accepting of me.
So, how it it different from being bisexual? When you’re bi you like more than one gender, right? This is true, but bisexuality is typically the attraction to two genders, whether this be male and female, or any other two genders in between. When you’re pansexual, you have an attraction to all genders, male, female, non-binary, etc. And no, this does not mean I will date a tree.
Remember, pansexuality is completely valid, and just because it doesn’t have a ton of representation, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make you a ‘slut’, or any other slur that someone might call you, and it definitely doesn’t warrant any kind of abuse or insult from anyone. You’re amazing, no matter who you like.