As people have been getting more and more open about their sexualities, the confidence and pride in oneself are also amplifying. You might have heard the terms bisexual, demisexual, homosexual, pansexual, and so on. When it comes to sexual orientation, people can express themselves in many ways. Pansexual is a common type of sexual orientation that people confuse with bisexuality. It’s important to educate oneself of different sexual preferences as it helps in knowing your surrounding peoples’ preferences and even in getting oneself confident and open about sexuality. So, what is pansexual? How is it different from bisexuality and other forms of sexual orientations? Read on to find out all about pansexuality! Also read: Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Is Still A Social Dilemma? What is Pansexual? The term pansexual has been around and used for many years but it is being used a lot more as more and more people are coming out and being open about their sexuality. More and more celebrities are coming out as pansexual which has increased the exposure of this term. So, what does pansexual mean? Well, a pansexual is a person who refers to being attracted to all the genders or being attracted to a person regardless of what their gender is. It has no gender boundary and is a pansexual person is often referred to as ‘gender-blind’, meaning gender and sex are not bonded in their sexual attraction to other people. Pansexual is referred to as someone who is attracted to or has the potential to be attracted to all the genders, binary or not. You can have gender preferences and still be a pansexual but you can indeed not care. Pansexuality isn’t a trend or a fad, it has been around for many years. It was not just understood or accepted widely in previous years. Gender impacts the way people experience relationships and being pansexual means being romantically attracted to people of any gender. Also read: Is Every Woman A Female: Gender Vs Sex How do you know you’re Pansexual? Do you find the romance between Cinderella and Prince Charming very traditional or heteronormative and you find yourself attracted to the ‘girls’ instead of the Prince Charming might be your sign? However, it’s not always the deal here as exploring and discovering your sexuality can be stressful and difficult at times. As the mainstream media and society press you to believe in a fairytale romance, you’ve been watching since your childhood, you might be in a position where you just can’t figure it out. If you’re not sure how to tell if you are pansexual, bisexual, or anywhere between, know that there’s no right way of confirming so. The terms you use to describe your sexual orientation evolve and can grow over time so explore! Experiment and see what you prefer and what works for you. Don’t be afraid to explore and pressured to decide. Be empowered by it and do not ever think you are in a phase, you are not mentally ill if you prefer to love your gender or any gender. Do not let yourself defer to the orthodox norms of society. Also read: Expressing Self – Coming To Terms With Sexual Orientation – Liberalisation Of LGBTQ Community How are Pansexuality and Bisexuality different? Most people confuse the term pansexual and bisexual as the same. In a way, they are similar in many ways as they both have a lot in common. If you are not aware of the term bisexual, bisexual is a person who is attracted to more than one gender whereas a pansexual person is attracted to all the gender identities. People who are bisexual can be attracted to one or more gender or even multiple genders. For some, it means it only means being attracted to only men and women. However, this is not the case for every bisexual person. Pansexuality comes under the bisexual umbrella and it all depends on your own experience what you identify as. Both the terms fit into broadly the same definition. Let us take an example, suppose you are attracted to boys and non-binary people, girls, and non-binary people, or a range of specific non-binary genders but not all of them. You can be attracted to any number of genders but not all of them, that’s what bisexuality means. On the other hand, pansexuality means that you are attracted to all genders. Why is it important to use the term pansexual? Well, you make it easier to communicate what your preferences are without getting specific. Also read: Asexual V/S Allosexual: A Sexuality Spectrum That Remained Unexplored Can you use one term over the other? Yes, you can! It’s not wrong if you are using ‘bisexual’ over ‘pansexual’ or vice versa. Using one term over another doesn’t make the other one bad or someone using one over the another disdaining the other term. Both bisexual and pansexual are legitimate identities and it’s on you what term you use to identify your sexual orientation. The stigma faced by Pansexual people The LGBTQ+ community has faced a lot of stigmas for a long period and pansexual people aren’t any exception. The trolls and insults have created shame and secluded the queer community to express their sexual identity to the world. Pansexual people most often face a misconception that they are more likely to cheat on their partners. This belief has been used as an excuse for discrimination and bigotry against pansexual people. Another very common misconception about pansexual people is the assumption that they are always sexually available, creating an unsafe environment for them. The 2018 LGBTQ report found that more than 75% of bisexual, pansexual, and fluid people confirmed that they usually felt worthless and hopeless over the past week. This shows how these stigmas can affect the mental health of people who identify as pansexual, bisexual, or fluid. These stigmas are harmful and can lead to doubting the legitimacy of pansexual orientation. It can also increase the violence against pansexual identities.