What's The Difference Between Being Bisexual, Pansexual And Queer?
Let's break it down.
The beauty of sexuality is that it's different for everyone, and while using a certain label might feel useful to you, equally putting yourself into a single box might not.
Either way, because the world is a pretty heteronormative place, it's up to all of us to be schooled on what it means to identify to different parts of the LGBTQ+ community as even if you know the umbrella term, the sexual and gender identities that exist inside there are very different to one another.
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While you can mug up on the entire LGBTQIAP community right here, one of the most common confusions seems to be between what the difference between identifying as bisexual and pansexual means, plus what it means to be queer and why some might prefer that particular label.
So let's break it down, shall we?
Bisexual is actually an umbrella term in itself and all it means is that you have a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. If you're bi, you might also describe yourself as queer, bi-curious or another non-monosexual identity, which could also include pansexual.
However, being pansexual is also an identity in itself and comes under the 'P' in LGBTQIAP. Being pan refers to someone who has an emotional, romantic and/or sexual attraction that isn't limited by sex or gender.
This doesn't - as many people wrongly assume - that you are attracted to everyone ever, it's more that when it comes to being attracted to people, you are attracted to them irregardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
Similarly you might have heard the term panromantic, which is often associated with asexuality and which means you are romantically attracted to people irregardless of sexuality or gender identity. This is just romantic attraction though, and usually means you don't experience sexual attraction in the same way, if at all.
So where does being queer fit into things? Queer is a term with a history as in the past it was used by mainstream culture as derogatory insult for people in the LGBTQ+ community. However, over the past few decades LGBTQ+ culture has begun to reclaim the word and it is now often seen as an umbrella term for people (and often particularly young people) who don't identify with traditional notions of gender identity and sexual orientation.
That said, it should be noted that for some and in certain contexts, it is still seen as derogatory.
Of course there is way more to these identities than this brief breakdown, so for more info on all of this plus multitude of identites within the LGBTQIAP community, head to stonewall.org.uk.