Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bisexual and Pansexual..same thing? ~Sevan

I've noticed an issue that seems to be coming up to a fever pitch lately...and it's an issue between two sexual identities. Bisexual

 and Pansexual.

What I'm hearing so far...the argument goes a little like this:

Pansexual: Since Bi means "two" it's binary, and not inclusive of trans* and other identities.

Bisexual: That's not true!!! How dare you tell us what our identity is! Bi can mean two..sure, but as in "same as, and different than...which includes everyone!

Pansexual: Dude...chill out. It's fine if you don't dig trans* people...every gender/sex isn't for everyone. It's fine. Don't sweat it.

Bisexual: Why are you being insistent on Bi-erasure!!!!

Ok so that's a SERIOUSLY over simplified version, and only from my perspective...and I'm pretty sure I'm missing some of the information since this whole disagreement really makes no sense to me at all. The way I'm seeing it is that many Bi people seem to feel/believe that Pansexual IS the same as Bi, and therefore, there's no need for the additional sexuality.

Also, bi-erasure is in there somewhere...and trans* politics being put above bi politics is also in there somehow.

Now that it's all clear as're on the same page as me.

As a trans* person, let me tell you about some of the relationship types I've seen. I've met a couple who was straight. One was pre-everything trans woman, and a cis man. His sexual identity never changed to encompass his trans wife, because she's a woman regardless of her body.

I know a few couples that are gay men that are with trans guys, and they felt no need to change their sexuality due to dating trans guys...because trans guys are GUYS.

As a genderqueer person, who's married to a trans*woman. I personally identify as pansexual. In LGBT spaces I often identify as Queer because it's easiest...I'm genderqueer, I'm pansexual, I'm polyamourous...I'm Queer!

If someone's identity is bisexual, and they feel they can and/or have been attracted to trans* people and feel their identity is bisexual. Awesome. That's great for them. I would never presume to tell someone what their identity is.

To me, looking at a word in a literal means two=binary man/woman system. That's what it means to me which is why I don't feel it fits me. If it doesn't mean that to you, that's ok. We don't have to use just one word at a time to understand each other. We can, in fact...have whole conversations with many words in order to get our point across and see eye to eye.

Once again I'm so happy for the community I'm a part of. The organizations I interact with actively seek out participation who are gay, lesbian, bi, and trans*. All are equal and important. I don't understand why it seems to be this way elsewhere, or at the very least...just that some seem to feel it to be this way. We really really can get alone and work together for better visibility. Honest.


Anonymous said...

I recently heard someone I believe identifies as trans* loudly dismiss/reject the word/concept pansexual. That I'm not entirely sure how she identifies (even though I know her birth assigned gender & how she presents to the world at large- I have never heard her state an identity- that makes sense right?) I guess kind of speaks to her rejection of yet another term. It was on a post I couldn't comment on which was incredibly frustrating. Even if I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with my observations, I'm happy I can make them here :)
I have revisited the 'do I identify as bi if I am in a mono, hetero relationship' question dozens of times over the years. And right about when I decided ya I think I want to & will claim that, I'm introduced to this new (I know it's not really new, but new-again or whatever) term. And a new set of questions. Is attraction enough to claim the term? How much attraction-does that I've ever crushed on a trans* person qualify the same way as I am equally attracted to non-binary persons? If your partner suddenly comes out & your relationship continues, did you become pansexual by default?
Not expecting you to answer all or any of these questions really- just thinking out loud & enjoying your posts :)

Sevan said...

I got into it with someone on instagram who insisted I wasn't pansexual because there is no such thing. He's in a relationship with a trans* woman and he's still straight identified so therefore the "trans* part of the argument" is invalid. Even when I stopped arguing this person felt so strongly that my identity is invalid that he argued with me anyway. Special.
Many people (who aren't bi or they don't get a say...) seem to think that the relationship you're in dictates your sexual identity. (assuming you're mono) however, I know (at least for me) that being in a mono (esque) relationship doesn't change my identity, nor stop my attraction, even if I don't act on those attractions.
I think that the lack of "belief" in pansexual as a valid sexual id likely has alot to do with the lash back against bi identity...though I think the whole thing is unreasonable and rude for anyone to tell anyone what their own sexual id is, and how it should be defined.
So, Eden, if bi or pan works for you...I say own it! :) If you'd had attraction toward Trans ppl, or even feel you totally could...I say rock with the identity that you feel best fits.
For me it's been a pretty fluid thing on this life journey so perhaps I'm a little more...flippant(?) than most.

LaurenG said...

I suppose by the modern definition I would be considered pansexual, bur in straight society I just say I am bisexual, that's something they have heard of at least. I'm a post-transsexual (as of 2013) woman who is attracted to all sorts of people, but I tend to concentrate on one relationship at a time.

So what does that make me?

I just feel comfortable with the bisexual label, I have carried that for many years. It fits like an old shoe.

Sevan said...

If bi is where you feel you fit, then that's where you fit. I often say I'm bi when in straight company and pan when I'm with community I think will know that term.
To me it's kinda like saying non-binary or genderqueer. They both fit. *shrugs*

Unknown said...

The reason I justify my use of bisexual is simple
1. as a label meant to communicate that I am attracted to people regardless of their sex that does not require an explanation in social situations, it works great.
2. I don't see as bi=man/woman, I don't even see it as binary. Someone who says "i'm attracted to men" is attracted to the whole spectrum of manhood - not just a certain point on the gender spectrum, some people prefer more androgynous guys, some more hypermasculine. What I mean when I say I am bisexual is that I am attracted to both sides of the gender spectrum