A couple of weeks ago, I had a friend admit, “I identify as pan-sexual, but I catch so much flak from bisexuals claiming I’m ‘erasing their sexuality’ that I may just stop saying anything just to avoid further conflict. It is all so exhausting.” So we have bisexuals making a pan-sexual person feel negatively about her sexuality to the point that she was just ready to give up. This took me by surprise on a couple of levels.
Treating each other poorly
First and foremost, I was surprised that my friend was experiencing bisexual people giving her grief at all. How can the feelings she has about her sexuality take away anything from someone else’s feelings about their own sexuality? It is basically that same argument the queer community suffers from all those holier-than-thou types, but we’re doing it to each other. My homosexuality doesn’t make straight people less heterosexual despite what some people say. Why does her pan-sexuality make someone less bisexual?
My dad had a saying. If someone else gets something or can do something that you don’t or can’t, and they do it without taking anything from you or hurting you, then don’t stress about it. He was a hundred percent right, and everyone on this planet would do well to take a lesson or two from him on that topic. Yep, I said it. Admit that you’re taking your frustration out on someone you shouldn’t. Maybe you’re doing nothing more than moral grandstanding or whining…probably both. Whatever the cause, stop making other people on this planet miserable.
Not the same
The second thing that struck me odd about the situation is that pan-sexuality and bisexuality aren’t the same. If they were the same, we wouldn’t need both words. We could still have both words, but we wouldn’t need them.
Bisexuals are sexually attracted to both men and women. Sexual attraction is a physical response. You see a hot person and think, “I’d love to get that under me.”, or “I’d love to get under that.” You get the idea.
Pan-sexuality means that attraction doesn’t primarily stem from a person’s appearance. Pan-sexual people pay less attention to what a person looks like and more to how a person makes them feel. A pan-sexual person could experience attraction to something other than a man or a woman. The package a person comes in becomes secondary…maybe even tertiary.
So, what’s the problem?
Clearly there are problems. The bisexuals talking to my friend aren’t happy. My friend feels like crap. That’s two problems right there. I’d suggest that the bisexuals who feel like another sexuality is erasing their own need to explore how they feel through the lens of my dad’s life lesson. Pan-sexuality isn’t the reason bisexuality hasn’t gotten the respect it should.
Bisexuality has always been the red-headed stepchild of the queer world. Is it right? No, it is not. That doesn’t mean pan-sexuality is the problem. Maybe because bisexuals haven’t historically felt validated, the fact that pan-sexuality just sprung fully formed into the world like Athena from Zeus’ head seems like a slap in the face.
The fact that we live on a planet dominated by male and female humans could be adding to the frustration. From a bisexual’s point of view, it might sound something like, “You got men. You got women. You like ‘em both. So do I. Why do you need a new word for something?” That argument is missing a key point. Pan-sexual people have relationships mostly with men and women not because the other people are men or women, but because those two options are predominant on this planet. Those aren’t the only two options for pan-sexuals though. Remember, pan-sexual people have less concern about the package a potential mate has.
Let it be
I wish we could all just let other people be the way they were born to be and feel the way they feel so long as no one is getting hurt. You’ve probably heard me say that before. I mean it every time. If the feelings or the acts are consensual between the adults involved and no one is getting hurt, then leave it alone. That should apply to so many things, but I’m trying to stick to the topic at hand y’all.
You don’t think we need a label for pan-sexuals and bisexuals? Fine. You can feel that way. Feeling that way doesn’t mean you should go around and try to make other people feel differently, and it certainly doesn’t give you a license to make them feel bad about themselves. Doing that makes your actions no better than those of the other hatemongers in the world.
Look at things from a different angle
In addition to the guideline from my dad about what is and isn’t fair, try what I do. Ask yourself these three questions before opening your mouth and adding to the negativity in the world.
- Does this need to be said?
- Does this need to be said right now?
- Does this really need to be said by me?
Let’s explore those questions
A need is something that will cause your physical death if you don’t get it. It is very different from that oh-so-common feeling of, “I just want to give them a piece of my mind.” See that word “want” in there? “Want” and “need” are both four letters, just like some of my other favorite words, but they are spelled differently and don’t mean the same. So, when you go, “Oh I just NEED to…” do this or say that, no sweetie, you don’t. You just want to. It doesn’t pass the first test. Keep quiet.
Did you legitimately make it to question 2? Alright…does it have to be said right now? Could you say it later? Would saying it later cause less harm to the person you’ll be talking to? Harm in ANY form. Say it now, it causes embarrassment. Say it later, they don’t suffer embarrassment. See…less harm. What was that? You don’t see a problem with causing harm? If your reason for saying something now versus later is to cause harm, go read my blog on kindness and maybe get some therapy because that’s just messed up. There can be another benefit to waiting. Waiting to say it under different circumstances might make the other person more likely to hear you.
Wow…honestly made it to question 3? Okay, if you honestly did, there’s one more test to pass before shooting your mouth off. Do YOU need to be the one to say it? I can hear it now, “Yes, Daniel, I do!” You do? No one else on the planet can say it? You’re telling me you MUST be the one to open your mouth and spew this out? You are the chosen one? Really? Why does it have to be you? Is someone holding a gun to your head? Remember, impending death does constitute a need. Oh, there’s no gun to your head? Hmmm…has a divine being commanded you to speak out? Did you ask them why it matters to them, or are you just some brainless automaton that does whatever you’re told? Are they going to smite you if you don’t speak out?
I don’t think divine beings give a rip about a person’s sexuality, and until you produce one in front of me who says it to my face, you aren’t changing my mind. There’s more under heaven and on Earth than you can imagine. I guarantee I’ve seen more than most of you. Besides, why are the voices in your head divine, but they are demonic or psychotic when other people hear voices? You’re thinking you are the chosen one again, aren’t you? Did you ever think that if your actions based on “divine calling” are spewing more hate and negativity into the world that maybe, just maybe, you’re the
dumba…I mean, the poor soul who might need anti-psychotic drugs…or maybe an exorcism?
Change starts with you
This world can be an amazing place. Learn to live in the moment…okay, learn to live in your own moments. Let everyone else live in their own moments. Have your thoughts and feelings, but apply a bit more consideration before sharing those thoughts so as not to ruin other people’s happy moments. It sounds so simple but could have such a profound effect. Try it. What have you got to lose? Kindness doesn’t cost a thing.