In an interview to the ABC show Good Morning America this week, American actor Bella Thorne (right) described herself as “pansexual” — not bisexual, as she had said earlier. Thorne is among several celebrities who have declared that they do not conform to binary labels while defining sexual orientation.
“I’m actually a pansexual, and I didn’t know that,” Thorne was reported to have said. “Doesn’t have to be a girl, or a guy, or a he, a she, a this, or that. It’s literally, you like personality, like you just like a being.”
What is pansexuality?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, pansexuality relates to, or is characterized by “sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation”. The word has also come to mean an attraction that is uninhibited by gender.
Stonewall, the LGBT rights charity in the United Kingdom, defines pansexual as “a person whose romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by sex or gender”. In the spectrum of gender identities, there is only a small proportion of people who identify themselves as being pansexual.
The term itself is not new, however — having been coined in the early 1900s. It comes from the Greek prefix ‘pan’, meaning ‘all’. The other word for pansexual is omnisexual — derived from the Latin word ‘omni’, which means ‘all’.
Interest in pansexuality — both the word and the idea — has surged every time a celebrity has come out being as one. In August 2015, Google searches spiked after actor-singer Miley Cyrus described herself as pansexual. More recently, in April 2018, singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe told Rolling Stone magazine that she was pansexual.
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