Hi. My name is Jordan, and I am pansexual. To give you a starting point, the definition of pansexuality according to Wikipedia is “sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.”
The first time I heard the term ‘pansexual’ I was in grade ten. My older friend confided in me that she thought maybe she could be pansexual and that it meant she “just likes anyone, and it doesn’t matter to [her] what someone’s gender is. If [she] likes someone, [she] likes them.” It had stuck in my head since then. Something about that word seemed to fit me like a glove.
Our conversation stuck to the back of my mind all through high school. I was constantly wondering if my initial reaction was correct. I had a perpetual back and forth conversation with myself as to whether I liked some women because I admired them as individuals and wanted to be close friends, or whether there was more behind that admiration that I hadn’t unpacked.
Fast forward to my first year in university, I slowly began to unpack some of those feelings I was confused about in high school. I started to realize that some of the women I admired carried more than a platonic admiration. I was seriously considering that I was not straight, but I was still unsure of myself.
Second year of university rolled around, and I was getting closer to putting my finger on how I felt. Then I joined TikTok. The community I found in the LGBTQ2S+ side of TikTok was the perfect space for me to begin experimenting with the types of attraction I was feeling. I found myself drawn towards cis-presenting men and women, however, I also found myself attracted to masculine presenting women, feminine presenting men, non-binary and androgenous presenting people, transgender men, transgender women, and people who did not fit any label at all. Now I was beginning to realize that maybe I had gotten it right from the beginning, but I didn’t have the environment to realize it at the time.
Halfway through my second year of university, the Covid-19 pandemic began, and I had to go back to my small conservative Canadian town. Despite my change in environment, I was still determined to go through with my coming out journey. For the next six months I sat on the idea that I was pansexual. Through all the lockdowns I contemplated if or how I should come out, or if I was even sure of myself. The whole time I was determined that pansexual was the term I felt the most connected with, but there was still a voice in my head saying, ‘what if you’re wrong?’
During the summer of 2020, my friend who was studying abroad, and also happened to be a lesbian, finally managed to come home. I confided in her how I had been feeling and she helped me talk through my feelings, until I finally realized it was true. All of these doubts I had were not how I had actually felt. I said it out loud for the first time. I am pansexual. It felt so good to finally say it.
Slowly after that day in July, I started to tell people. The first person I told was my younger brother. He’s only two years younger than I am and I was almost certain that his reaction would be just what I needed in my first coming out conversation. I was right. I told him I was pansexual, and after explaining to him that I don’t care about people’s sex or gender, that I like people for who they are and it doesn’t matter to me what sex or gender someone identifies as, he gave me a resounding, “okay.” The fact that he had almost no reaction and carried on like it changed no part of our lives or relationship was exactly what I needed.
After coming out to my brother it got easier. It made me realize that the people I chose to keep in my life were the kind of people I trusted and felt safe around. I told my friends. They were all excited for me, some of them told me they already knew, some had no idea, but they all accepted me. I even managed to come out to my parents that winter, but perhaps those are stories for another time.