Pansexuality vs Bisexuality: Is there a difference between bisexual and pansexual?

  • Nov.13.2020
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difference between pansexual and bisexual

What is pansexual vs bisexual? What is the difference between bisexual and pansexual? The difference between bisexual and pansexual meaning, identity, and pride within the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Know how to define pansexual vs Bisexual and answer questions like “am I bi or pan?”

Pansexual definition vs Bisexual definition

am i bi or pan

Bisexuality is a sexuality that is defined as not being attracted to only one gender. Notice how this doesn’t say being attracted to both men and women as many would assume. There has been a lot of debate centered around whether bisexual is an outdated term or an exclusionary term that enforces a gender binary. This disregards the history of people identifying as bisexual who dated outside of the typical gender binary or who are outside of that binary themselves.

While most people wouldn’t argue against the existence of bisexuality as sexuality, many simply feel it does not extend far enough or is not as obviously fitting to their identity, and this is why they may personally refer to themselves as pansexual. It is important to clarify that sexuality is a spectrum, or a color wheel rather than many specific exclusive groupings. Someone could be fine with interchanging the terms bisexual and pansexual while others feel that based on their definitions of their own sexuality, there is a difference between pansexual and bisexual. To develop more of an understanding of this pansexual bisexual difference or lack thereof, let’s talk more about individual humans’ identities and individual humans’ pansexual vs bisexual definition.

What is the difference between bi and pan identity?

Pansexuality has different meanings for different people. Some would say pansexuality means attraction to all genders, others would say it is an attraction based on personality and not on gender, some would say its an attraction to even those who do not identify as any known gender or agender people as well as those whose personal gender identity does not fit into society’s gender binary.

The same goes for bisexuals. Some included all gender identities in the list of people they’re attracted to and still identify as bisexual and potentially some people may be attracted to very masculine men and very feminine women only. Each person is different so it is difficult to group a large number of people under umbrella terms about sexuality. It is important if you are asking am I bisexual pansexual, that you read up on both and decide which feels the most right for you.

There has recently been a surge in people identifying as pansexual which has inspired a lot of conversation in the LGBTQ+ community surrounding the categorization of sexuality and gender identity.

Although pansexual is a relatively new term for mainstream usage, this doesn’t erase the rich history of human sexuality that includes this kind of attraction. Some folks who have used the term bisexual to describe their sexuality for their whole life continue to do so because they feel that this term has never excluded transgender or gender non-conforming people from their attraction.

Some people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming would prefer to simply use the term queer because it is even more of an umbrella term than pansexual. The term queer can include an individual’s gender expression as well as that person’s sexual orientation where pansexual only express sexual attraction and does not express personal gender identity.

Pansexuality vs Bisexuality: What is the difference between bi and pan?

what is pansexual vs bisexual

The recent controversy over whether bisexual has become an outdated term has sparked many folks who identify as bisexual to redefine bisexuality not as having a romantic interest in both of two genders but instead having a romantic interest in more than only one gender expression or identity. The assumption that bisexuality is an identity that excludes transgender people or non-binary people discredits those who have identified as bisexual and also found themselves in relationships or sexual encounters with people who do not fit into the archetype of cisgender woman or man.

However, this is not true for every bisexual person and it does not mean that transgender and gender non-conforming folks have always felt included in any or all LGBTQ+ events or organizations. We must remember history and the fact that famous LGBTQ+ rights activist and trans woman Sylvia Rivera was ridiculed and booed off stage when she attempted to speak about how much she has given to the gay rights movement at a pride parade in the 1970s. We must remember Marsha P. Johnson, a self-identified drag queen, who threw the first brick at the famous Stonewall Inn riot for queer liberation. In order to use the acronym LGBTQ+, we cannot erase the meaning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and more from the humans who have fought for rights and freedom in an oppressively heteronormative society.

The trans and non-binary community has always been full of so many different stories and experiences, but the visibility that has come about in the last two decades has made some cisgender people believe that this is a new topic. This is simply not the case. However, this very visibility is something that people who are not cis-gender have fought for, and the term pansexual might be another expression of that fight for some. For others who understand that their sexuality has always included non-binary and transhumans and see to it that bisexuality does not mean cisgender folks only, bisexual may still feel like the right term.

So what is the difference between bi-sexuality vs pansexuality? I hope after reading this article you can confidently answer if someone asks you “what is the difference between bi and pan?” To some people, there is a big difference, and to others, it’s basically the same thing. If you’re questioning which term works best for you, follow whatever your heart tells you because you don’t have to give an explanation about your sexuality to anyone.

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