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In need of direction

Discussion in 'Family, Friends, and Relationships' started by Nathan F, Jun 12, 2022.

  1. Nathan F

    Regular Member

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    Hello all. This is my first post, so please advise me if this is the wrong section of the forum, and I will adjust this.

    I am in need of some advice and direction. My daughter is openly pansexual, and came out to me as such recently. She identifies as female and uses the pronouns she/her. I fully support her and told her so. To me the most important thing in life is to be true to yourself and to be happy. She is happy with herself, and that is what matters most. I have no desire in anyway to do anything but support her in her life.

    My problem is this: when she came out to me, my first thought was that "OK, you're bisexual. That's perfectly fine with me." She instantly corrected me to say that she is pansexual. I am from a different generation. I am not familiar with the correct terminology, and that is my failing. I looked up the terms on the internet, but I need clarification from individuals who also identify the same way as my daughter.

    I know I can ask her, and I certainly will, but as a parent, I like to go into conversations with my children having a deeper understanding. I know this may seem prideful, but I truly want to know so that I can continue to have meaningful conversations with my daughter.

    Hence, why I am here. I truly want to know the difference and nuances so that I can continue to support my daughter. She means everything to me, and whoever she is, or whatever her expression, I love her and support her. I just want to be able to talk to her in the correct terms, and to understand what she means. So I ask, as someone who, by my own failings, has not kept up with the proper terms and knowledge, can some members of these forums help? Any definitions or experiences you have would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    TinyWerewolf likes this.
  2. bambibat

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    Hi! It’s wonderful that you make the effort to support your daughter :slight_smile:

    As a younger bisexual person, I am going to say something that some of my generation probably won’t agree with but that I wholeheartedly believe is true. And it’s that pansexuality is indeed functionally the same as bisexuality. “Pansexual” as a word has existed since the 1900’s I believe, however it’s meaning initially was something completely different.

    The definitions nowadays are usually:

    bisexual = “attraction to two or more genders”
    pansexual = “attraction to all genders”

    (There are other variations of the definitions, but those are the most common and what I’ll be using in my argument).

    What these new definitions revolve around are the concept of “genders” instead of sexes. There are essentially infinite genders (a quick google search will show you many terms that are out there now), and gender is considered separate from sex. I don’t think there’s a real solid definition of “gender” but it nowadays roughly refers to the way a person feels/identifies, unrelated to their physical body.

    However regardless of how an individual identifies, there will always be only two sexes. And traditionally, sexuality labels described a person’s attraction to these sexes/sex characteristics — heterosexual as the attraction to opposite sex only, homosexual as the attraction to same sex only, bisexual as the attraction to both sexes, and asexual as the attraction to neither sex (nobody).

    We can see how these four labels alone can easily encompass everyone. When we use these definitions, there is no need for a “pansexual” because “bisexual” is fully inclusive and already covers the (potential) attraction to all kinds of people.

    But nowadays, the more progressive view is that gender-identity trumps biological sex when it comes to describing who you are attracted to — this is why pansexual as a label is used the way it is, and why definitions are often changed to use the word “gender” specifically instead of “sex”.

    According to this, a “pansexual” is potentially attracted to any person regardless of their gender identity. A bisexual person on the other hand is only “attracted to two or more genders” — so they may be attracted to those who identify as men, those who identify as women, and those who identify as [insert another gender-identity label].

    But I for one, still go by the older definitions and define my attraction based on sexes. Many others still do this too.

    I hope my explanations have made sense! In short: “pansexual” can only exist if you use genders to define your attraction instead of sexes. And because of the intangible and vague nature of gender-identity, as well as the fact there are supposedly a huge amount of them, it can make things much more complicated. I have seen many online debates over the authenticity of “pansexual” as a label. I don’t believe people who use the label should be attacked or ridiculed however, as more often than not they are young or may have been led via misinformation. Plus nowadays, using the newer definitions is seen as more correct by certain crowds.
     
    Nathan F likes this.
  3. Nathan F

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    Thank you very much for your response. You have definitely given me some good things to research. I look forward to talking about this with my daughter and to share the journey with her as much as I can.
     
    bambibat likes this.