Janelle Monáe is Pansexual. What does that mean? 

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Janelle Monáe

Shortly after Janelle Monáe dropped her new song and video Pynk, she also came out and told the world that she is Pansexual.

The much talked about video has been described by members of the LBTI community as highly important because it broadens perspective of gender identity in the mainstream commercial world.

But what does it mean to be Pansexual?

By Ayanda Sitole 

We’ve seen over the years the LGBT acronym-  which represents various identities in the queer community- become more inclusive (and thus a little longer)

Today we speak about the LGBTIQA + community.

Janelle Monáe who says she is Pansexual means she is attracted to people regardless of any gender identity or sexual orientation. The word Pan means “All”.

Genavieve Louw from GALA, which is an LGBTIQA + archive which documents the history of people in the queer community in Southern Africa, explains.

L is Lesbian. A homosexual woman.

G is Gay. A homosexual man.

B is Bisexual. A person who is sexually attracted to both men and women

T is Transgender. Someone who’s gender identity does not match their assigned biological/physical sex. This person is described as identifying with their gender (i.e. how they see themselves and how they live) but they don’t identify with the body they were born in and the gender they were given at birth. Some may choose to have gender reassignment surgery or gender confirmation surgery as trans woman Caitlyn Jenner did, although this is not necessary and is often prohibitively expensive.

I is Intersex. Intersex is a broad/general term to refer to individual who may have physical and/or genetic characteristics that do not fit what are broadly considered male and female sexual characteristics. Examples include, as the Intersex Society of North America explains:” a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.” Intersex individuals can identify with any number of gender identities on the spectrum they choose because biological characteristics are not the same as gender identity. An intersex woman/man can be heterosexual, gay, pansexual, asexual, etc.

Q is Queer. An umbrella term to describe anyone who exists outside of heteronormativity, which is the normalisation of heterosexuality in society.

A is A-sexual. This refers to someone who is emotionally or psychologically attracted to someone but not necessarily in a sexual way.

+ is Plus. This means there is a lot more to add to the acronym because of the wide spectrum of gender identity. Facebook for instance now allows for over 70 gender options- a great step towards inclusivity. It’s not as simple just being male or female or heterosexual or homosexual, identity is a wonderfully vast and complex spectrum.