Tag Archives: pansexuality

sexuality triad

Anyway.  This… thing… tumblr meme? …of positioning ace/bi/pan folk as an allied unit was cute at first I guess, but it’s making me uncomfortable at this point.

‘Cause the theme has just more and more aggressively become this implication that The Hypocritical Gay Kids are invalidating and being bigoted toward innocent blameless ace/bi/pan folk, and, uh, while that definitely happens in specific incarnations (trust me, I’ve been there), it’s pretty clearly presented as if solely gay people (as a class) are Problematic and ace/bi/pan people (as a unified class) never engage in the same vice.

Which is false, by the way.

I’ve heard aces talk like anti-gay prejudice is mostly over and aces have it harder.  I’ve seen bi/pan people get on lesbians’ case for not being into men.  Our communities/demographics are not pristine.

If you’re addressing a specific case, that’s one thing, and if you’re just talking about things that have happened, that’s one thing, but if you’re adding that up to speak in metonymy as if gay people are guilty of invalidating others’ sexualities and ace/bi/pan folk totally aren’t… you’re wrong.

PSA for Pan, Bi, and other Non-Mono People

Hey there, my multiple-gender-loving friends.  You’re all lovely people.  Keep rocking on with your bad selves.

There’s just one little request I need to make of y’all.  When you’re talking about your orientation, please avoid saying things like “hearts, not parts” or that, for you, attraction is “about the person, not the gender”.  I am a person on the asexual spectrum, and I love people regardless of gender as well… and I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re getting at, since the reason you identify as bi, pan, or what have you, I assume, is because you have a different experience than I do as a ???romantic gray-a.

I, too, would date or fall in love with someone because of what’s in their soul, not because of what’s in their pants — but that’s just because I hate genitalia in general.  For me, it’s a perspective of hearts, not parts as well, because those kinds of “parts” don’t appeal to me in the first place.

So, while that kind of talk isn’t bad, per se, it’d be nice of you to keep in mind that it’s not a very precise way to describe the experience of feeling romantic or sexual attraction to multiple genders if it can also apply to a person of whom that is not true.

Please inform your peers of this consideration if the opportunity arises.


What You’re Doing When You Take Labels Away

For the people who think labels are unnecessary, who think there are too many, who think the world would be a better place without them, who regard them as an interference or an obstacle to be done away with, or however you want to phrase it: this post is for you.  This post will focus primarily on orientation labels, especially the ones I relate to, but if you can apply this same idea to something else, go for it.

In a hypothetical world where you could wish away the entire use and existence of words like gay, straight, bi, pan, and ace, here is what you would be doing.

1) making it harder to combat oppression

You don’t need a to use the word “gay” to reprimand your employee for mentioning her girlfriend.  You don’t need to use the word “heterosexual” to uphold romantic relationships between men and women as a universal norm — by referring to “the bride” and “the groom” as if there’s always only one of each, or by assuming the gender of someone’s romantic partner based on their own, or by thinking that there’s something wrong with someone who isn’t interested in dating, or by any number of things.  Heteronormativity doesn’t require labels to exist. Continue reading

Labels: Looking Forward vs. Looking Back

a picket fenceThere’s something strange about the rhetoric of “don’t limit yourself” in response to identity labels.  The idea, or argument, rather, seems to be that you shouldn’t neglect the possibilities — i. e., if you feel a new kind of attraction toward a gender for which you didn’t previously have those feelings, or if you no longer experience a kind of attraction to a certain gender, you should be open to acknowledging what you feel.

This line of thinking seems to be predicated on the idea that labels are about looking forward and predicting the future.

Perhaps it’s meant to encourage acknowledgement of the fact that sexuality is fluid rather than static.  Things could always change.  I agree that orientation isn’t set in stone, and a reminder of such can be warranted — but what “don’t limit yourself” neglects to consider is that in order for “things” to change, there must be a “thing” in the first place.  And perhaps we would like to give a name to the current state of that thing.

While acknowledging that, perhaps, there are people who use labels for a different purpose than I do, I’d say one of the (available) reasons for using orientation labels is not about looking forward, but looking back.  If you’ve only experienced sexual attraction to people of the same gender as yourself your whole life, or if you’ve experienced it toward multiple genders regularly, or if you’ve never experienced it at all, and so on, you’re not “limiting” yourself by giving a name to that experience.  That’s because describing a personal history is not the same as placing a “limit” on anything.  Calling yourself what you are and have been makes no other statement than what you are and have been.

I can recognize some of the objectives and intended sentiments behind the rhetoric of openness (as applied to orientation labels), but I’d recommend they take a more effective route, because at present, this kind of warning only causes consternation by implying that an individual does not have the authority to describe their own experiences.