In college, I had a friend who I found incredibly unique and inspiring. Not only was Margaret relaxed in the most stressful of circumstances, but she was kind, accepting, and loving—all of which rubbed off on those around her. She kept her cool during exam week, calming everybody else’s nerves; she always had an honest smile on her face; and she accepted everyone with open arms. She was the sincerest human being I’d ever met—she was truly one-of-a-kind.
As it turns out, these qualities carried over into Margaret’s love life. Her ability to accept and love all people is almost the precise definition of her sexual orientation: pansexual. This means that Margaret is sexually, emotionally, and spiritually open to love with both cis and trans men and women, as well as intersex, non-binary, and agender individuals. (Note: Cisgender refers to a person who continues to identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and trans refers to anyone who does not. Additionally, it’s important to specify that it is not just cis men and women who are pansexual — trans individuals, non-binary individuals, etc. can and do identify as pansexual, bisexual, and so on).
In summary, pansexuals can be attracted to and have a relationship with any given individual, regardless of their sex or gender identity. They are more concerned with what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside.
What’s the Difference Between Pansexuality and Bisexuality?
I first assumed that Margaret was bisexual: She dated both men and women and didn’t appear to prefer one over the other. But when this topic of conversation came up, she explained that she was not bisexual—instead, she identified as pansexual.
While there are overlapping qualities between the two orientations, there are key differences between pansexuality and bisexuality, which are important to distinguish and understand — as there is ample misinformation out there about these differences.
Maddy Brener, PsyD, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Thriveworks, explains: “While both orientations are attracted to people across the entire gender/sex spectrums, bisexuals may not experience sexual and/or romantic attractions to people of all genders, while pansexual folks typically do. For example, a bisexual woman I know reported that she dates folks of all genders/sexes except for cisgender, heterosexual men. She dates women (both cis and trans), trans men, and folks of various other gender and sex identities but prefers to self-identify as bisexual because she is not ‘all-inclusive.’
When it comes to the features one is attracted to, many bisexual individuals identify things that attract them that may differ across varying genders, such as being most attracted to skinny men but muscular women. Pansexual peoples’ attractions are often less gender-linked, such as being attracted to brunettes over blondes.”
5 Celebrities Who Identify as Pansexual
While I had no issue understanding Margaret’s lifestyle and identity, others have a difficult time making sense of pansexuality. This, however, is improving as multiple celebrities from actors to musicians to YouTube personalities have spoken out on the topic and openly discussed their own pansexuality. Here are a few of those well-known stars who addressed the topic:
- Miley Cyrus: Miley Cyrus is not only known for her unique style and vibrant performances but her open-mindedness—which is why it should come as no surprise that she identifies as pansexual. “I’m very open about it—I’m pansexual,” she told Elle UK back in 2015.
- Angel Haze: Angel Haze is a rapper and singer who also identifies as pansexual. “To kind of identify as pansexual, to me, means to just want love. To have a connection with anyone you can find it with,” she said during an interview with Fusion TV. “I care about connecting with people on a deeper level and actually having something to talk about and something to work for.”
- Jazz Jennings: Jazz Jennings stepped into the spotlight as the star of I Am Jazz, a show on TLC about her journey as a young transgender. Jazz told Cosmo, “being pansexual basically means you are attracted to anyone, no matter their sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, everything.” She went on to say, “there are no limits, I’ll date anyone. It’s more that I love someone for their soul.”
- Sia: Sia doesn’t like to put a title on her sexuality but openly accepts all people as possible partners. “I don’t love just men. I love people,” she told Seventeen. “It’s not about a gender. It’s about the spirit that exudes from that other person you’re with.” Note: This means that Sia could also identify as bi or another non-monosexual identity as she has not actually shared her preferred term.
- Laci Green: Laci Green is a well-known YouTuber and MTV personality, who hosted MTV’s Braless. In one of these episodes, she takes the opportunity to address her pansexuality. “Gender identity, gender expression… it’s not really a factor in my experience of attraction to people,” she said.