Pansexuality vs. Bisexuality.
My views on pansexuality are summed up in the follow statement taken from Katawa Grey:
Pansexuality works on the basis that there are a bunch of genders aside from “feminine” and “masculine.” Personally, I take issue with the term pan-“sexual” because this word implies that are more than two sexes. I would much prefer the term pan-“genderal” much more because that actually describes what it is that people under this umbrella of sexuality are attracted to.
There are two sexes three if you count people with both kinds of external genitalia which is why I think that “bisexual” is a much more accurate term for someone who is attracted to people with either kind of external genitalia.
Also, what gets me about this is that once you try and define what gender is, that makes everything so much more complicated.
I identify as bisexual because I am capable of developing attraction for both of the TWO biological sexes. Sex in biology (as it applies to homosapiens) is broken down by genitalia. Bisexual=two sex= penis and vagina= I like both… This doesn’t mean that I only like vagina on those who identify as womyn or that I only like penis on those who call themselves men. It just means I have no problem loving someone whether they have a penis or a vagina. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean I love them BECAUSE they have either a penis or a vagina.
I feel that pansexuality singles out transmen and transwomen in a way that implies they are perhaps less of a woman or man than cismen and ciswomen.
I understand what you’re saying completely. Here are my comments:
- I also hate the fact that word “sex” is included so much because (A.) as you said, pansexuals, as I take it, are attracted to people on more than which one of the three sexes that exist. It’s about loving all genders, the infinite amount of gender expressions. And (B.) at the end of the day, anyone gay or pans or bi or whatever it may be has relationships on more than just sex. People hear bisexual and think about who they want to shag, but it’s more than that. It’s who you prefer to fall in love with, who to be in a relationship with, you know? I hate that, there’s no other term for bisexuals to use, the only one they have has the word ‘sex’ in it. If you’re gay, you can say gay. If you’re straight you can say straight, as opposed to homosexual or heterosexual, respectively.
- I identify as pansexual. I see what you’re saying, that identifying as bisexual doesn’t mean you are not open to all gender expressions, because it focuses on the assigned sex and not the identified gender anyway, but I know that there are people who identify as bisexual who aren’t open to dating, let’s say, a transgender person. What I need to make clear is that gender doesn’t matter to me at all, so I choose the term pansexual. But your arguments are concise and compelling. I’m gonna start using “pansgenderal” from time to time, haha.
Some responses, in no particular order:
- Terms that end in -sexual are about the sexuality of the people who use them as identities, not the sexes of the folks those people are attracted to. Therefore pangenderal would mean… well, I’m not really sure what it would mean, but it wouldn’t refer to your attractions.
- There are many more than two sexes—There are scores of ways to be intersexed, various transsexed bodies are sometimes considered medically or by the people who have them to be neither male nor female, and besides, if we really dismantled the sex binary, we would recognize that no one is the same sex as anyone else. Some of us have genitalia and sexual function that could be lumped together into categories, but we all have different shapes and sizes and levels of hormones in our bodies.
- YOU SHOULD ALWAYS COUNT PEOPLE WITH BOTH SETS OF GENITALIA. Duh. Not a lot of intersexed folks have two kinds of external genitalia, but when you meet someone who does, you should include them in whatever you’re positing about their existence.
- I hear you on the problem of having -sexual right there in your term about your attractions because it’s about more than sex, but it isn’t really. Relationships among sexual people rely on sexual attraction and chemistry. If you don’t either desire to have sex with a person or believe that over the course of your relationship you might develop a lasting desire to have sex with them, why are you dating them in the first place? This, of course, is different in the case of asexual relationships, but I’ve found that—as a person who has, during some portion of hir life, identified as asexual and sought to date sexual people—even if people know they’re not going to have sex with me ever, their sexual attraction to me and my genitals are part of their consideration.
- I’d much rather that people focus their labeling on their ability to be sexually attracted to me in my gender than their ability to be sexually attracted to my genitals.
- Bisexual does not mean two sexes, it means sexual with both sides of a binary. The reason I don’t like the term bisexual is that you, allegorical bisexual-identified person, may, in fact, only have been sexual with people who had genitalia that would be said to fit into the (false) genital binary, and you may, in fact, only have been sexual with people whose gender identities—regardless of whether they were cis or trans—would be said to fit into the (false) gender binary, and you may intend to continue only being sexual with binary-fitting individuals both cis- and trans on “both” sides of what I suppose you will call the the gender spectrum, but I live on a remote island on the gender globe, and regardless of my binary-beautiful, female-assigned genitals, I don’t appreciate being interacted with on binary terms. Now, it’s fine, you don’t have to date me, and if I liked you, I’d probably date you regardless of your label. But next time someone tries to tell you that pansexual is a transphobic term because it devalues the true womanhood or manhood of trans men and women, you can tell them from me: pull your head out of your ass, not everyone in the world is a man or a woman and I’m attracted some of the ones who aren’t. I like this term because it lets me validate them and I’m sorry that it makes you insecure because I am open to more possibilities than you even noticed existed.
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