Even as a cis man, I’ve experienced how awful gender roles are. There’s always someone questioning your masculinity, someone always know better, what it takes to be a “real man”, don’t they? Especially if you’re gay. Because, you know, fucking some sweaty, muscular dude in the ass, is so... delicate, so feminine, isn’t it? Ask any homophobe...
I’m seriously annoyed by all the people on the Internet crusading against unusual gender identities, repeating over and over again that “there are only two genders”. Because chromosomes, because sex organs, because biology.
Well, they obviously know nothing about biology or sociology, and never even bothered to learn the difference between “sex” and “gender”.
So let me briefly explain.
Person’s sex is determined by their biology: chromosomes, sex organs, hormones... But it’s not as simple as you might think (if you slept during your biology classes). There are people whose chromosomes are neither female XX or male XY (check out Sex chromosome disorders). There are people with both male and female reproductive organs (check out Hermaphrodite and Intersex). There are also people with hormonal disorders. In biology the male/female distinction is helpful, but not binary.
Person’s gender on the other hand is determined solely by that person, in regard to their role in the society. Take for instance a society that associates masculinity with strength, aggression, short hair, earning money for the family, etc., while feminity is associated with softness, long hair, makeup, submissiveness towards a man, being a hausewife, etc. If a man living in such culture likes to wear makeup, has long hair or decides to do housework – can he do it even though he has XY chromosomes and a penis? If a woman is independent and pursues her career – does her vagina stop her from doing it, or is it just society?
It’s society that divides specific behaviours or looks into “male” and “female” categories. And different cultures do it diffently. Did you know that in Western Europe color pink and high heels used to be considered “manly”? Really.
Society tries to define how should men and women behave. But nowadays more and more people just stop giving a fuck about it. And that’s what the “unusual” genders are. Nothing more.
Why would you care if a guy has piercings? What does it matter to you if a girl has a career or if she wears trousers? Why can’t you just accept that some people don’t feel like adjusting either to male or to female social norms? Why does it bother you if someone dresses like a man one day, and like woman the next day? Is hate really the only way you’re able to react to those harmless attitudes?
Now, the deal with pansexuals... They are sexually attracted to other people, regardless of their sex or gender. That’s it.
It doesn’t mean however, that they are willing to fuck anybody. Straight people aren’t automatically attracted to every person of the oposite sex they see. Bisexuals are turned on both by dicks and by boobies – but also not everybody’s. Pansexuals can, but don’t have to, fancy any person, including trans or genderqueer.
Basically, their sexual attraction is based on overall looks of the other person or on the romantic relation between them, but their gender identity is irrelevant.
It’s not really that hard, is it? Not that scary either.
But apparently, not even queer activists get it right. The funpage LGBT News has uploaded an image that is soooo wrong... I believe their intentions were pure, but still...
They mix up love and sexual attraction. I’ve loved a lot of people who I wasn’t sexually attracted to, and also I fucked with a lot of people who I didn’t love.
(Sure, I like “love is love” as a great motto for marriage equality, but there we’re talking about spending the rest of your lives together – it requires both love and sexual attraction.)
Secondly, they seem to suggest that all the other sexual orientations are somehow wrong, as if gay, straight and bi people discriminated against others based on their gender. No, they don’t. They didn’t chose what turns them on.
Finally, they suggest that gender is a trivial thing, thus diminishing the pain of all the trans people and those who suffer from society not accepting ther gender identity. Their gender is a big deal for them.
So much indifference in such a short sentence... I know they didn’t mean it, but still...
But then I saw something worse. I took a look at Wikipedia, how do they define pansexuality. The English version is basically what I said above, just more elaborate and encyclopedia-style. They also note that some people wrongly understand the Greek “pan-” prefix literally, thinking that pansexuals fuck... everything. Well, they don’t.
The Polish version, however, looks as if it was written by some right-wing assholes desperately trying to prove to the world that LGBTQ has a lot to do with zoophilia, paedophilia and necrophilia. Oh dear...
They define “pansexuality” as a “view” or “philosophy” claiming that human sexual energy can and should be directed towards everything and everyone. Including children, animals, plants, dead objects, oneself and even abstract ideas. What the actual fuck?
Then they propose an alternative definition: a view that whatever a person does is mainly driven by their sexual tension (currently rejected hypothesis).
Then they say that pansexuality is a term related to sexual liberation, which includes i.a. having sex with people with dissimilar fetishes (BDSM is exemplified). Do they imply that pansexuals force others to do BDSM even if they don’t like it, or what?
Then, finally, they call pansexuality a sexual orientation. A “proposed” orientation. And they describe it shortly. They also note that pansexuals emphasise that they’re usually not paedophiles, zoophiles or necrophiles.
The thing is, all of that is backed by footnotes and quotes from sources with some kind of authority. One Polish dictionary is a source for the first definition, the other one supports the second one... And I get this, words happen to have multiple meanings and that’s ok. (However, dictionaries listing just one of them aren’t). I’m sure there are poeple postulating that everything can be fucked and they call that “pansexuality”.
But putting the pansexual pride flag next to a paragraph claiming that pansexuality includes paedophilia is just wrong. And it’s also wrong to write an article in a manner so confusing, that its average reader when asked “so what is pansexuality actually” will most likely answer “dunno, some kind of deviation”... And they will. Even though I know quite a bit about this subject, after reading that article I wasn’t really sure, what does it wanna tell me.
Just one conclusion from all of that...
I know it’s hard to know all the terms and labels related to gender identity and sexual orientation. There sure is a lot of them. But you really don’t have to know them, if you don’t want to. Just treat other people with respect, don’t mock their gender identity, their makeup, their voice, their body, their love. None of that harms you or anybody else. Only your hate does.
Mistaking bisexuality with pansexuality isn’t that big a deal. An average person doesn’t really need to know the difference. However, deliberately crafting an article that might make people think that LGBTQ people are paedophiles... That’s just evil...