Photo by ABC Action News
*This article is a modern analysis of the themes and content of “Isn’t That Bisexual?“ (Fall 2013), the eighth installment of our From The Archive series.*
The fact that misunderstandings regarding pansexuality presented in “Isn’t That Bisexual?” still persist today indicates a need for education.
The recent passage of Florida HB 1557, also dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, into law as of late March will ultimately lead to these misunderstandings and falsehoods becoming much more pervasive.
The resulting inability to discuss sexuality and gender in the classroom worsens differences in education within our next generation of adults. Without this education, these children are put in a position where they are responsible for their own education and thus unable to really learn what they don’t know. As the psychological concept of the “Illusion of Explanatory Depth” explains, we have a belief that we know more about the world than we actually do and are unable to realize this gap of understanding until we are placed in a position where our limited knowledge is uncovered by others.
By taking away this education from children, we are promoting the ideas that are present in “Isn’t That Bisexual?”, including the wildly gross idea that pansexual people would be attracted to animals and that their sexuality falls in a place that even provides for this possible attraction at all. Pansexuality is not being attracted to all beings, but rather having the ability to be attracted to people regardless of their gender. The untrue statement that bisexuality implies an attraction to two sexes (as debunked in the article itself) is just as false as the implication that pansexuality is an attraction to all beings. The falsehood that pansexual people are attracted to animals or partake in incestuous relationships is echoed in conservative Supreme Court justices’ concept of the “parade of horribles,” the argument that immoral sexual acts will become legal based on the result of Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that decriminalized anal and oral sex. Which is funny, considering bestality is not punishable in some US states and isn’t anything more than a misdemeanor in other states.
Moreover, through taking away this education, we are stigmatizing the sexualities that lie outside heteronormative standards. This contributes to the increasing prevalence of teen suicide due to shame and bullying that surround queer individuals who feel that they don’t belong and that their feelings are wrong.
The fact that I have mislabeled my own sexuality due to others’ lack of understanding of pansexuality — a problem that was mentioned in the article released nearly ten years ago — shows the way in which pansexuality (and other sexualities) are still barely recognized by the LGBTQ+ community (not even given a letter (yet)!), let alone understood by a general public that is largely cisgender heterosexual.