Adam Polaski

Pansexuality: A Hidden Gender Binary Buster

Filed By Adam Polaski | November 07, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: gender binary, genderless, omnisexual, pansexual, sexuality

JessHockPansexual.jpgThis weekend I spent a few (dozen) hours working on the November issue of Buzzsaw magazine, Ithaca College's premier alternative publication. This month, for the Body & Soul Issue, we've been exploring the ways in which American society views, treats, and labels the human body, how Americans conceptualize the idea of "soul," and how these constructions of body and soul interact.

One of the articles I helped to edit was about pansexuality, often referred to as omnisexuality, or the sexuality that basically disregards gender and biological sex. A pansexual person - male, female, trans, intersex, or otherwise - may be sexually attracted to any other person - male, female, trans, intersex, or otherwise.

The topic fit into this issue because of the largely understood summary of pansexuality: that people are attracted to souls rather than to specific genders or sexes.

As we helped to flesh out the article by fact-checking, editing, and developing a graphic sidebar, we realized just how little discussion existed about pansexuality. As tolerance continues to evolve into acceptance for gays and lesbians, as understanding continues to develop for bisexuals, and as visibility continues to grow for trans people, pansexuals have remained at a stand-still.

There's no organization that focuses specifically on pansexual people, and very few of the national LGBT organizations specifically list pansexuals as a group of people the organization represents. Only a handful of blogs provide consistent coverage of pansexuals.

What's more, their cultural visibility is often misunderstood and misrepresented -- if it's even represented at all, of course.


It's not a scientific poll by any means, but to gauge general interest and conversation about the various letters in the LGBT acronym, plus pansexuality, we did a basic Google search of the terms. There were hundreds of millions of results for "gay" (218 million) and "lesbian" (429 million), and tens of millions of results for "bisexual" (86.9 million), "transsexual" (34 million) and "transgender" (28 million). But "pansexual" only returned just over 1 million -- though the number did spike to 17 million when switched to "omnisexual." These results demonstrated some semblance of the lifetime amplitude of the conversation surrounding each term.

Then we took at a look at the terms' presence in more recent conversations by doing the same searches, but in Google News instead of Google. The results were again similarly disproportionate: "Gay" received 15,300 results, "lesbian" received 5,500, "transgender" received 2,650, "bisexual" received 2,510, and "transsexual" received 362. "Pansexual" only returned 30 Google News results -- and "omnisexual" appeared even less frequently -- only six times.

The pansexual identity is perhaps a complex idea to communicate and a difficult idea to understand, even in the broader LGBT community. But does our societal failure or discomfort to talk about a genderless sexual attraction have deeper roots?

Are we too brainwashed into believing in the gender binary that we can't understand an identity that largely disregards gender? Is the potential of shattering the gender binary -- and the unequal system of cultural capital inheritance -- too integral to our society to be a viable option? Does pansexuality pose such a threat to our black-and-white world that we can't consider it?

Image by Jess Hock for Buzzsaw magazine


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Finally a discussion that I can sink my teeth in to and actually learn something.
OK, it finally clairfies to me that Pansexual is the same as Omnisexual.

I’m Intersexed and Transgender soooo, pretty much anyone who is Cis-gender who would have a relationship with ‘me’ would be Pansexual or Omnisexual…Right?
But, what if they were Intersexed and/or Trans? Would they still be Pan/Omni or would it be a Hetrosexual, Homosexual or Bi relationship? …and what about me?

Oh should I just get a big bottle of aspirin and quitely go away?

I'm trans too, and I'd say it depends on how you identify your own gender. Heterosexuality does not have to define itself according to the genitals of the people it is attracted to. That said, I have had better luck in dating people who identify as pansexual, omnisexual, demisexual, or just "queer" in general...they do seem to have fewer hangups when it comes to issues of anatomy (they also tend to be really liberal-thinking, which is a major turn on for me).

One little side note, at the risk of de-railing, but I have an objection with this sentence in Adam's post: "A pansexual person - male, female, trans, intersex, or otherwise - may be sexually attracted to any other person - male, female, trans, intersex, or otherwise." Segregating trans as an identity separate from male and female does an injustice to male and female-identified trans people, and does nothing to acknowledge the existence of non-binary gender people (who may or may not be intersex). I think this conversation about pansexuality can be a good one, but only if we choose to be precise and sympathetic towards everyone's gender and sexual identities.

Speaking strictly for my pansexual, transsexual self, I suggest that pan in this case should be interpreted as beyond, as in beyond sexuality.

Wikipedia offers 2 variations. The first “The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary, the "notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations", as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women” to me is more like omnisexualaty. The second “Pansexuality can also mean the attraction to a person's personality, rather than their physical appearance or gender” is closer to my own perceptions. Mine is beyond sexuality, not all sexuality but more accurately NOT AT ALL sexuality.

As a transsexual I have an intimate understanding of the fluidity of gender and sexuality. I have dealt with myself on levels that I don’t think many non-transsexuals can understand. I am well beyond the binary concept. In my case my own gender perception is well beyond biology and societal constructs and demands, even definitions. These realizations are the real subject of transitioning, the knowing of one’s self, one’s own truths, this is the true transition, dealing with the cognitive dissonance, moving from questioning to knowing, getting to the point of making informed decisions about your being. The rest of it is just adjustment to those realities.

Now projecting that forward into the choice of mate/partner I am attracted to people who have similar understanding of, acceptance of, their own realities and truths. And confidence in their own sexuality. My attraction is to self-aware people, people as open to my realities as I am to theirs. Attraction is to people who are kind, loving, caring, giving, to people who are interesting and capable of intelligent discussion, people who are motivated, who are confident and comfortable in themselves, people who perceive a relationship as a “we” rather than a “me and you”. The rest of it is then adjustment to those realities.

I am not a young woman, I have had a significant amount of experience. Let me state that I have never tried anything that I would not try again, and there is little that I have not tried that interests me at all. The fact that I have limits to my interests precludes the Omni descriptor. As great as sex is, it is still a physical act, stimulation that leads to a result. The genitals involved – at least the other persons' - are really immaterial – to me anyhow. While that might make me Bi in the eyes of some, the sex act to me is just as immaterial in choosing a partner as the genitals, gender and/or sexuality of the candidate. The person, the spirit, the being is what I am attracted to. That to me is pansexuality. It is beyond sex.

I always assumed bi and pansexual were the same thing. That if you loved both genders then the concept was loving one's soul was already baked into that. Filing this under things I learned today.

For someone who would be open to/interested in genderqueer or non-binary people I can see pansexual as a valuable and needed ID. If it's someone who's interested in having intimacy with a trans person who IDs as a man or woman, then I feel pansexual, if anything, third genders persons who don't ID as third gender and is offensive.

My other issue with pansexual is I've seen way too many people ID that way but then follow it with, "but I only want to have sex with people who were born with a vagina" or "I'm pansexual but I'm not sure I want to have sex with a trans person." That's not a pansexual, that's a wannabe hipster who's trying to be the queeriest queer. In my experience from what I've heard and seen, that might be a near majority of people IDing as pansexuals. And it's bs which needs to be called out when it's said.

I also want to have $10 each time I hear someone say "I don't see any gender when I'm attracted to someone." 10 to 1 that person only dates cis-women or trans guys. C'mon, place your bets!

Pretty much all of this. While I have seen pansexual used by guys who date trans women it is rather rare (but growing). Mostly, I see it used among cis women and trans men who date cis women and trans masculine folks.

It was shortly after I wrote an article on trans issues in which I brought up the topic of pansexuality for the diversity section of the local paper, that I was subsequently banned from writing for them. Although I probably was banned for a separate article that I had written for my blog, pointing out and criticizing the same paper for having endorsed a local orginization that had racist and homophobic content on their website.

For some odd reason though, I never thought of pansexuality in terms of spiritual love, since sexuality/sexual relationships do need a romantic or spiritual element to them. Instead I fought of pansexuality as merely a form of gender blindness.
-Jeremy

Om Kalthoum | November 8, 2011 4:49 PM
"For some odd reason though, I never thought of pansexuality in terms of spiritual love, since sexuality/sexual relationships do need a romantic or spiritual element to them."

Did you intend to put a "not" before "need" in that sentence?

Actually, yes. Thanks for the catch.
-Jeremy

What I have seen so far in this thread is way to limited in pan sexuality perspective. Pan meaning all rules out nothing. That means two-somes, three-somes, quads and more. It means men, women, others, young, old, beautiful, ugly, thin, obese and anything else you want to toss into the equation. Not only is a pan-sexual free of gender prejudices but one is also free of all other constraints which would limit sexual pleasure. A pan-sexual person can give and receive sexual pleasure in an unlimited variety of settings and interactions.

No, pansexuality does not automatically mean polyamory. Pansexual just means attracted to all genders. When people are both pansexual and polyamorous, they say so.

Polygamy? Did I mention marriage? Likewise the term poly-amorous is not synonymous with group sex.

Pan-sexuality is indeed rare simply because there are few people who don't have at least one hangup about engaging in sexual activities. Here's a clue for you. If you think about all possible forms of sex and one or more seem to you repulsive then you are probably not pan-sexual.

Om Kalthoum | November 8, 2011 4:52 PM

So, pansexuality would (or should??) include necrophilia, for instance?

Om pardon me for being blunt but that is a stupid question. Of course it does but that does not mean a pan-sexual person makes love to dead bodies. The essence of pan-sexuality is that nothing is off the table but you must then understand that with everything in play there are just so many hours in a day. Think of it like going to a restaurant and being attracted to every single menu option. But even so you won't order and consume every single item. Hmmm, the bestiality looks good today but I think I'll order a hetero appetizer followed by an MFM sandwich and perhaps an orgy for desert oh, and bring me a slurpy to drink. Get the picture?

It is very easy for a pan-sexual person to stay under the radar because in any setting you simply go with the predominant flow. The sixties saying of "if it feels good do it" was foisted on the public consciousness by a card carrying member of the Pan-sexual Order of Templar's or POT.

Om Kalthoum | November 8, 2011 6:08 PM

Again, just to make sure I understand correctly, you are saying that by definition ALL pansexuals feel that fucking dead bodies is not at all repulsive; that it is just one many desirable options? Regardless of whether they actually engage in this activity, of course.

that's correct, om! i'm pansexual and i have sex with dead people. and dead non-human animals of all sorts. and food. i even make love to bathtubs and small children.

this is fun game, actually...

seriously, though, "pansexual" means "i don't give a shit about your gender" to me. it means different things to different people, but that's what it means to me.

Seriously? You are a person who doesn't know what polyamory is (I never mentioned polygamy), and you are arguing for a definition of pansexuality that nobody uses. Polyamory definitely is more closely related to group sex than pansexuality is (and quad is a term for a 4-person poly relationship, not a foursome, so you were the first one to refer to romanticism and sexuality interchangeably in this conversation).

Here's a clue, you don't get to arbitrarily redefine words that are used by other people based on how you interpret their greek roots.

Thought:

Pansexuality somehow translates to me as "across sexualities" (From the term panning in cinema) while the term omnisexual translates to me as "including all sexualities" (the term omni of course meaning all) so maybe it would be better to use omnisexual in the way that your thinking, rather then pansexual? (Not that I'm the sort who usually wishes to dictate how people use terms, just thinking out loud here)

-Jeremy

A lot of ways this discussion can go. I like what I have read so far. To stick to the question Adam poses at the end of his piece,No, pansexuality is not too great a threat(?) to consider, or it shouldn't be to those of us in the LGBTQI Community. We are overall a loving, accepting community. We have each suffered to be our authentic selves. Pansexuality simply needs to be brought more into the open and discussed. This post is only a beginning.I propose that the Binary, specifically the heterosexual patriarchy has been the root cause of many of society's problems. Trans, GenderQueer, and Pansexual can all bring something important to the table of life if only some people would take their blinders off.

I see 'pansexuality' as a case of attraction to the person, without regard to one's sexuality, gender or other identity. Simple as that. That is how it works for me.

that's what it means to me, too. actually, you put it better than i ever have.

ok, well, i guess i don't take other people's sexual orientation into account when discussing my own sexual orientation. oops.

I always supposed I was bi, but that never quite worked. ok to just be me.
I see the beauty of the person, no matter what gender the person is. Sometimes there is a deep soul connection, and that is what I am attracted to. Thanks for these pansexuality discussions. At 52, I finally have an orientation to declare, as if we need to.
Possibly in the future there will be no more need for orientation identity, and we will all just be fully human. For now, pansexuality seems closest.

If anything, I tend to see the terminology as part of our weird obsession with defining language down to minutiae, when human sexuality is just fluid. But maybe that's just me.

"it finally clairfies to me that Pansexual is the same as Omnisexual."

Actually, I've encountered at least one argument about how they're supposed to be different, but don't recall the basis of the division offhand (it was awhile ago). But like many identity-based communities, the terminology can sometimes develop as many different definitions and criteria as there are people identifying that way.

I think it's possible though, to see a difference between bisexuality and pan/omnisexuality. Bi of course meaning two and if the only terms one could use to identify one's sexual orientation were "gay" "lesbian" "bi" or "straight" then the implications would of course mean that there are two genders. Unlike Adam, I always assumed the term pansexual was simply meant to acknowledge that there are those who fall outside the traditional male/female gender binary, not a means of destroying that gender binary.

But then, that's just me as well.
-Jeremy

"I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure." Mae West

Think of bi / pan / fluid people not has "half", but more than 1. Think of bi / pan / fluid people as "Yes, And" instead of "Or / Either". I would not say bi / pan / fluid people are the same, just that people who choose to identify as such have more in common with each other than with the gay or straight communities.

"Common misconceptions about bisexual/pansexual/fluid communities include: There’s no such thing as bisexuality; bisexuality is just a phase; bisexual people have multiple partners and/or can’t have monogamous relationships; bisexuality itself reinforces the gender binary; bisexual people spread sexually transmitted diseases; and bisexual people face less discrimination than gay, lesbian and transgender people" - A Guide to Bisexual/Pansexual/Fluid Etiquette (http://binetusa.blogspot.com/2011/08/guide-to-bisexualpansexualfluid.html)

The concept that the gender binary is re-inforced OR destroyed by bi / pan / fluid people is fairly common and often said to bi / pan / fluid identified people. It can be very confusing for people coming to terms with a misunderstood identity. Any well meaning equality oriented person should agree sexuality is complex! We can all appreciate each and every person's orientation as something worthy of loving and being loved!

I wonder how the number Pansexuals would change if we had a term for those attracted to Transexuals?
Just need to throw that out there. Now, I don't really see the Google numbers as having any real meaning here. Pansexuality is still a rather new term, and as such there aren't that many sites out there devoted to it.
I do keep looking for a definition for Pansexual that doesn't either try to degrade Bi's or wouldn't include things that I doubt the Pans out there would support like pedophilia.

We just call them Tranny chasers!
Please see my definition of pansexuality, one of the first comments listed.

Paige Listerud | November 8, 2011 11:14 PM

If pansexual is a hidden gender binary buster, then it's because most non-bisexuals, including young queer, pansexual and fluid identified people, have no idea that the bisexual community defines bisexual as "attraction to more than one gender" or "attraction to one's own and other genders." It's the non-bisexuals who define us as binary oriented. I'm all for breaking out with identities that help us to get closer to an accurate expression of fluid sexuality, but I also wish that non-bisexuals listened to our community more and knew more about our history.

Actually, I know of bisexuals who define bisexual in binarist ways. Julia Serano, for one, who used an explicitly binarist definition while arguing that bisexuality is not binarist. (She basically argued that she should be allowed to nonconsensually categorize all people as male or female based on how they make her feel in the pants.)

I wish the bisexual community would listen to non-binary individuals and realize that sometimes the trepidation is based on interactions with and statements of bi-identified people, especially coupled with the community's denial that these people (binarist bisexuals) exist, and stop making universal statements about how open they are. Not all problematic constructions of bisexuality come from outside the community.

i'm pan and i'm not defining you as binarist. i respect your right to self-definition and i respect your right to determine your own terminology. however, i don't identify with the word "bisexual". it doesn't fit me and that had better be ok.

i also respect my own right to self-definition and my right to determine my own terminology.

Please remember Mx that anyone who is not pan can have an opinion but can not understand because understanding requires living the experience. Empathy is possible, sympathy is possible, intellectual knowledge is possible but understanding is a bit different. Forgive those who think they can understand yet lack the experiences.

Deena, it would have been okay if you just said you backed yourself in a corner with a faulty definition and were just too stubborn to admit it. Really, no one would have thought less of you, I'm sure of it.

Hey, did you hear about the guy in Russia who collected people and clothes and stuff from graves and kept them in his apartment like dress-up dolls. What was up with that, do you think?

This has been an entertaining thread, despite so many posters getting all uptight about their definitions.

Om You seem to me to be a bit deluded at times. Would you like to really discuss pan-sexual or are you just a wanna-be? I'm sure you are far more experienced and intelligent than I am. Pan means all but it also refers to Pan (the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs).

I wish you all the best and do not mean to insult you in any way. It has been years since I have openly discussed personal experiences in sex with men, women, animals and other varied and sundry "others". I learned long ago that sensuality for most people is culturally constrained and hide-bound by morality as perceived through lenses of upbringing. I didn't respond to you earlier because I sensed you lack a breadth of experience in these matters that would cause you to prejudge any response I might make. I also believe that discretion is required on Bilerico and do not wish to get banned for crossing boundaries of propriety.

But you just could not leave it alone could you?

Oops! I don't know about the deluded part lol, but I definitely got confused about where in the thread I was. I thought your reply to Mx Punk had to do with our exchange earlier. You mean it's not all about me? Sorry! Carry on.

Paige Listerud | November 12, 2011 2:10 AM

@Shaed and mx.punk--I truly would be interested in knowing your ages. I'm 48 and my personal experience is replete with bisexual-identified people discussing and defining their sexuality in fluid and non-binarist ways. But then, I've attended a lot of national and regional bisexual conferences--plus one international bisexual conference--which obviously attract a more activist crowd and give bisexual folk a chance at generating a distinctly bisexual/pansexual/fluid culture than the average LGBTQ community.

Plus, being older, the generation of bisexual writers and speakers I've been exposed to are distinctly on the fluid side--Susie Bright, Carol Queen, Loraine Hutchins, Lani Ka'ahumanu, Robyn Ochs, etc.
Plus, check out this web page that carries the manifesto of Anything That Moves, a national bisexual zine that began publishing in 1996: http://www.anythingthatmoves.com/manifesto.html

My general impression is that Julia Serano is one of a younger generation of writers who defines "bisexual" more rigidly and binaristically than an older generation of bi activists. I attribute this to a profound disconnect between bi activists who fought for bisexual inclusion in the LGBTQ in the late 80s/early 90s and the bi/pan/fluid generation coming of age today.

i'm somewhere near the end of "young", i guess.

i don't think bisexuality is rigid at all; i think bisexuality, like any other sexual orientation, is defined by the people who identify with it.

if someone says they're bi, i'm not going to argue with them and call them pan if they happen to be attracted to people of non-binary gender. if someone says they're bi/pan/gay/etc., i'm just going to take their word for it.

i've encountered waaaay too many people who DO attempt to identify other people's sexual orientation for them--- and that's just disrespectful. these words are just labels and they mean whatever we need them to mean.

thanks for the link; i'll be checking that out pretty thoroughly.

Paige: Re: the bi/pan/fluid generation coming of age today. I identify pan & while I decline to disclose my age, suffice to say my daughter by my second marriage is just a little younger than you.

Paige Listerud | November 12, 2011 9:34 PM

How interesting. What year did you come out as pansexual and what influenced your choice of that identity.
I came out in 1986 at Oberlin College, which had a strong Gay and Lesbian Union that was not recognizing bisexuals at the time and there were no openly identifying transgendered people that I was aware of. Bisexual was the only word around to indicate attraction to more than one gender. A few years later, I came across the word pansexual in print (I was out of college by then and knew no self-identifying pansexuals). In the text in which I first came across it, pansexual had connotations not just of fluid sexuality but also interest in BDSM, fetish or leathersex. Pansexual, as I was exposed to it at that time, had a tinge of sex radicalism. Post 1990, I heard younger, Queer Nation member sometimes use it, but with a purpose to expunge any hint of gender binary. To my knowledge, they were not also adopting its sex radical connotations and they may not have been aware of them.

Come out Paige? I am not sure that I have ever come out as pansexual, I have just always been this way and it never occurred to me that I needed to discuss my sexuality with anyone - we are either attracted to each other or we are not. Please understand that I am of a “very much before the internet” generation, back then you had to know what it was you were looking for in order to find anything on a subject in a library. Search engines were unknown, asking small town librarians for assistance suicidal! From today’s perspective I am not sure the term even existed back then. It was not until relatively recently that I joined the internet community (2000) and even more recently discovered the term & associated definition that fit my self perception. (see my personal definition thereof above, currently the third posted, a reply to Gina’s comment)

Admittedly there had always been a primary attraction to more feminine traits in people, with male attributes only of interest in more D/s relationships. That did not change with my transition except to reduce the interest in both males & D/s relationships. When I suddenly found myself quite attracted to a gentleman unlike any I had known previously I reevaluated and researched the subject. That is when I discovered the term.

Quite similarly I used to think of myself as agnostic, until I discovered the more accurate – at least for me - nontheist term (see http://www.nontheistfriends.org/article/what-is-a-nontheist/) If you’ll notice the definitions given for nontheist are as loose and fluid - and conflicting - as the ones for pansexuality. The point would be that be it my spirituality, sexuality or gender identity – or many other itys – some of us just do not fit in society’s conventional pigeon holes, and see no reason to try to do so for the convenience of others.

Then again, I don’t fit in most beds either, my feet are always hanging out! But that is the way that is comfortable for me! Is there a term for that? Who really cares?

Paige Listerud | November 14, 2011 10:14 PM

Am I to take it, then, that Bilerico is the first space in which you've come out as pansexual? Quite intriguing, if I presume correctly.

I'm sorry Paige, no, that would not be an accurate statement. I have always been this way, and I have had conversations in which I identified as pan, I just never thought it necessary to "come out" as I have always been this way. The term may be new to my lexicon but the realities of my sexuality have been more or less constant.

My wife is a through and through pan, and I love that about her. She's dated cis women in the past (before her own transition), a cis guy right before we met (after transition), and then there's me (post op transgender woman). She was with me before my GRS, and she's still with me now; sexually very little changed, especially since I'm much more fond of topping via strap on (heh, when it's my turn ;) than I ever was with...it. However, neither of us are poly (though we once considered keeping our relationship open, and decided against it after a time). So most people ID us on the street as lesbians, and unless we have time to talk about it, that's usually fine. We both pass as women, so it's not worth it to preach to strangers.

Among friends, though, we make sure it's clear. I also ID as sexually pan but homoromantic - I've never had romantic affections for more masculine types, but sexually the whole gamut turns me on.

Needless to say the porn collections in our house are pretty impressive, if I do say so myself :D

P.S.: Thank you, Adam, for starting this thread, I see it's been quite informative!

The thing that bothers me about this article is that bisexuality has ALWAYS been a "genderless sexual attraction." One can find definitions of bisexuality as being attracted to one's same gender and another gender (whatever it might be), or all genders, that go back for decades.

I am 57 years old, have been attracted to trans people for as long as I knew they existed, and because I am gender variant, have been fighting for trans rights nearly as hard as bi rights (I am a bi activist). Imagine my feelings when I watched my first YouTube video of a pansexual college student telling me that bisexuals were these awful people who only liked manly men and feminine women, and that we hate and discriminate against trans people. And she was dead certain of this. It felt even more awful than the hatred that comes from straight or gay people, because here is someone with the same attractions and behaviors I have, yet deciding that she is the expert in my sexuality just like gay and straight people so often do. And being just as wrong. And I have no idea where she got these weird ideas. Where are these odd notions about bisexuality coming from?

Those of us who do bi/pan/fluid organizing realize, just as was pointed out in this article, that there needs to be a common word for search engines. That word has aways been bisexuality. Pansexuality, omnisexuality, fluidity, pomosexuality, flexisexuality, heter- and homo-flexible, bi-curious, bi-romantic, etc.: each of these words fits some of the people who are somewhere on the spectrum between straight and gay, but not all of them. None of these words will ever replace bisexual. This incredible, hostile attack on the word has got to stop.

Paige Listerud | November 12, 2011 9:55 PM

Just as a slight contradiction to your first statement, Estraven, some but not all bi-identified people have defined bisexuality as a genderless sexual attraction. I point to the work of Carol Queen, the co-author of PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality, published in 1997. Queen is almost vehement in her defense of gender-specific attraction--to her way of thinking, one is never not attracted to a gender, although her perspective on gender is definitely non-binaristic. In fact, I've heard Queen repeat this assertion several times at speaking engagements at various conferences--I think that people expressing "it's not the gender, but the person" attraction pushes buttons for her.
As for me, I always think it unfortunate when new dichotomies get set up in our discussions about fluid sexuality among ourselves. I personally think there is more to be erotically attracted to beyond an individual's gender expression. However, I dislike the presumption of a genderless attraction being a higher, more evolved form of attraction than gender-based attraction--or vice versa. I think both responses are personal in nature, are not mutually exclusive, and one is definitely not better or more real than the other.
And yes, it is a terrible, horrible thing to run across another person of fluid sexuality, putting down bisexual identification and re-casting bisexuals as evil oppressors--someone with no knowledge of our history or the diversity of our discourse on non-monosexuality.

Well, you beat me to the punch. I'm really annoyed at the idea that according to some, I have to stop being a bi guy, and become a cisgendered pansexual. And next week, someone else with a doctorate in the humanities will tell me that, no, really, i'm something else.

Paige Listerud | November 13, 2011 1:19 PM

I include this note to anyone coming to this post late. Here is an intelligent podcast discussion of bisexual, pansexual and queer identification between transmen, genderqueer and cisgendered participants. I found it a wonderfully sensitive and even exploration of the language and issues surrounding different identities for fluid sexuality and am recommending it as a fine starting place for continued dialogue:

http://gendercast.libsyn.com/episode-16-bisexuality-and-the-binary-or-are-we-all-queer-