Queer culture in Bangladesh is often represented through a bisexual, gay, lesbian or trans lens. Not many are familiar with pansexuality or with the term even. Let’s break down how this ‘new’ identity differs from the familiar ones.

What is pansexuality? 

Well, it obviously doesn’t mean that you’re attracted to pots and pans. Yes, it’s definitely not being a chef. According to Google, it means being attracted to all people regardless of gender identity or sex. The Greek word ‘pan’ means ‘all’. The word Pansexual can be used as both a Noun and an Adjective to describe a person.

Oftentimes we see people use pansexuality as a synonym for bisexuality. But these two are clearly different identities. Vera Papisova, wellness writer at teenvogue, discussed in an article the differences between these two terms. According to them, identifying as bisexual means you are attracted to more than one gender while identifying as pansexual means you’re attracted to people of more than one gender or regardless of their gender.

When asked about what people mean by identifying as pan, 25-years-old Alexa says, “If I dig your energy, I dig you”. I found this expression very interesting as it does sum up the whole idea. Again, identifying as pan doesn’t mean that they are hypersexual or that they have a very high sex drive or that they will always like whoever they meet. It just means that one is romantically or sexually attracted to a person just the way they are. You vibe with them regardless of what they identify as. That is, you like being with them despite their gender identity. 

At the beginning of my journey of being a panromantic person, I found myself asking, why do I confine myself to a certain label? I can just be with someone that I want to be with and not restrict my feelings or channel them towards a certain gender. I started to think that these gender roles are very fluid and it always depends on one’s circumstances. But it obviously doesn’t have to be like this for everyone— it is purely a matter of preferences. It is, in reality, a very simple part of your lifestyle. Of course in our current context, it is quite difficult to explore oneself due to the presence of many negative societal aspects. But it is not impossible. A safe and appropriate approach through ethical consent is really important in this case and it should always be maintained. But you don’t have to limit yourself according to these social or cultural barriers— be whoever or whatever you want to be or love whoever you find yourself attracted to. Most importantly, you just need to be happy and spread positivity.

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