I’m pansexual. Saying that leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Saying that makes me feel like I’m prying open a can of worms with my bare teeth. And once the can of worms is open, it can never be sealed again. Calling myself “pansexual” leaves me vulnerable to numerous questions, all Googleable questions. However, our lazy generation requires everything to be spelled out for them, just so they could ask stupider questions.
For example, my best friend asked, “Does being pansexual mean that you have sex with pans?” I’m not sure that he was joking, either. He stared deeply into my eyes, genuine concern etched on his face. He thought that pansexuality was a strange fetish, and who doesn’t love to inquire about strange fetishes?
Though he was probably joking, many people are certain that pansexuality is an awkward fetish, one that does not discriminate against animals, inanimate objects, or even children and elders. A blog, which has over 1,000 reads, refers to pansexuality as an “organized, activist-driven perversion.” And while this particular blog was probably written by some white Republican who believes in cowboy hat-wearing aliens and masturbates to A Bug’s Life, this is a well-known stigma. And this stigma, like most, is harmful to pansexual people, especially pansexual men.
I can’t speak for all pansexual people, but I am not a pervert. I have not pledged allegiance to some kinky cult that has orgies with vacuum machines. I am not a pedophile. I am a pansexual human being who loves other human beings, regardless of their gender identity.
A day before my birthday, I came out to my aunt as pansexual. To her, anything that isn’t heteronormative is gay. And to her, anything gay is completely unacceptable, even though she was in a seven-year-long relationship with a woman named Cynthia, right before she “found Jesus.” However, Jesus didn’t lead her to the green pastures of our promised land. He led her to crack pipes and cheap wigs, but I digress.
Anyways, after telling her that I was pansexual, she demanded that I pray the “spirit of homosexuality” out of my body, then she called me a “faggot.” Then, I ended up reading her so bad that it made headlines. It’s what she deserved, but I digress again.
Ignorance directed at pansexual people is nothing new, nor is it exclusive to my aunt. People don’t care about us. We are the pennies of the LGBTQ community. It feels like people only care about us on the internet. Most of the time, I feel like I can only exist as a pansexual person on the internet because my existence is denied anywhere else I go. I blame stigma, ignorance, and the people who only pretend to care about pansexual people behind their computer and smartphone screens. I just want to find my flock. Is that too much to ask for?
Here’s another frequently asked question about my pansexual identity: “Why don’t you just call yourself bisexual?” If I had a nickel for each time someone asked me this question, I would be the one percent, sipping mimosas with Beyoncé on a yacht, gossiping about her cheating-ass husband and about how musty Kanye West’s clothing line looks.
I’m a person who can see and appreciate the beauty of gender fluidity and non-conformity. I’m someone who is more than willing to stay in a relationship with someone who chooses to transition 15 years into our relationship. I’m someone who is attracted to the complexity and profundity of gender. I’m someone who refuses to look past gender—like color blind white people do to my Blackness—because every gender is beautiful, even the ones I don’t know about yet. I’m pansexual.
I will not have my sexual identity altered to satisfy society’s laziness. Nor will I continue to lazily call myself “queer,” in order to avoid explaining my sexuality to people who don’t really care. I’m pansexual.
I admit, my sexual identity makes me feel like a zebra with no stripes, a horse with a camel’s lump, and Beyoncé with Tinashe’s neck. My sexuality may be seen as a perversion or a fetish for non-consenting entities. My sexuality may be similar to a simple math problem that some people just can’t seem to solve, but it’s my sexuality, and I’ll keep saying it aloud until it doesn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth anymore.
Hi, my name is Arkee, and I’m pansexual.