As the 21st century has progressed, so has the movement for equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. Same-sex marriage is recognized and legal in the United States of America, Canada, and many European countries. In other countries across the world, same-sex unions or partnerships are legal, but marriage is not. There are a large variety of different sexual orientations out there, including but not limited to heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, and asexuality. In this article, I will be discussing pansexuality and the history of the pansexual flag.
All About Pansexuality
So, what is pansexuality? “Pan” is a Greek prefix that means “all.” In this case, the literal translation would be all-sexual. People who identify as pansexual are sexually attracted to all genders, regardless of a person’s gender identity, which may be outside of the gender binary or different from their sex. This differs from bisexuality, which is the attraction to only two genders, male and female. For instance, a bisexual person might identify as a female, and so they would be attracted to females and males. In comparison, pansexual folks may be attracted to men, women, nonbinary people, intersex people, and genderfluid people. Essentially, gender does not play a role in your attraction to a person when you identify as pansexual.
Sigmund Freud, a well-known neurologist who is known as the father of psychoanalysis, popularized the term “pansexualism” in the early 20th century. At the time, pansexualism referred to the perspective that a majority of human behavior was due to sexual instincts. Of course, there are asexual people who do not experience sexual attraction to anyone. A lot of people criticized Freud for theorizing that sex was the primary motivation to explain the behavior of humans. Especially during a more conservative time of the 1900s, it’s not far-fetched to assume that people would turn their noses up at this idea.
As time has gone on, the term “pansexualism” evolved to simply “pansexual” and the definition that we have today. Alfred Kinsey, creator of the Kinsey scale which asks people to rate from 0 to 6 what they consider themselves in relation to their sexuality in the 1940s, defined pansexuality in a different manner. 0 represented being completely heterosexual and 6 represented complete homosexuality. This scale provided the context and opportunity for there to be an in-between to being either straight or gay, which paved the way for pansexuality’s definition to start evolving.
In the Kinsey scale, pansexuality is not included and instead bisexuality is predominantly featured. It’s not that bisexuality’s meaning has changed since the origination of the Kinsey scale, but that pansexuality has become increasingly prominent and more relevant as the movement for transgender rights has grown. This is also relevant for people who, again, identify outside of the gender binary.
The Pansexual Flag
The pansexual flag has three horizontal colored stripes: magenta (#FF218C), yellow (#FFD800), and cyan (#21B1FF). The magenta represents people who are female-identifying regardless of sex, the yellow is for attraction to people who identify as genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, androgynous, intersex, or otherwise does not fit into the gender binary of only male or female identification. Finally, the cyan is a representation of attraction to people who identify as male regardless of sex.
The pansexual pride flag came about to make the distinction between pansexuality and bisexuality, and bisexuality also has a pride flag bearing three stripes. It was created in 2010 and was originally posted on the internet by a user named “Jasper V,” and has since gained significant traction and become one of the key signature pride flags out there.
Pansexual Awareness & Pride Month
Recently, May 24th was Pansexual and Panromantic Awareness and Visibility Day, while December 8th is Pansexual Pride Day. Although pansexuality is often referred to as the sexual and romantic attraction to all genders, panromantic specifically refers to the romantic attraction to people of all genders. Many people’s sexuality and romantic attraction tend to align, but you will also find people who may be a mix, such as an asexual person who lacks sexual attraction to anyone or a panromantic person. Just because you’re not interested in sex does not mean that you aren’t romantically attracted to anyone.
June also marks Pride Month, when people of the LGBTQIA+ community celebrate their identity. Pride Day is specifically celebrated on June 28th, which is the date of when the first pride march was originally held in 1970 in New York City following the Stonewall Riots on June 28th, 1969. The Stonewall Riots were the result of the police raiding the Stonewall Inn, which was a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York. The patrons of the bar, employees, and local residents rioted in the streets outside, where protests continued over the next six days. Protestors involved demanded that they be able to have places where LGBTQIA+ people could be open about their sexuality without any backlash or fear of being arrested by authorities for simply being who they are.
As a result, the movement for equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people has made significant strides since. The fight is not over, however. LGBTQIA+ people continue to experience hate every day, and only through increased awareness will true equal rights be achieved.
Happy Pride Month, everyone!