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May 24. International day of Pansexual and Pan-Romantic Visibility.

published on 24 May 2023

May 24th is the international day of pansexual and panromantic (or pan) visibility.

Pansexuality is a sexual orientation in its own right, although it is often associated with bisexuality. However, while bisexuality refers to attraction to more than one gender, pansexuality and panromanticism refer to sexual or romantic attraction to a person regardless of their gender identity or gender expression.

The word “bisexuality” (or in the form “bi+”) is sometimes used as an umbrella term, which is why some people and organizations (e.g., GLAAD in the U.S., Rainbow Visibilities at RainbowHouse) celebrate pan visibility on September 23, Bisexual Visibility Day.

These orientations have in common to leave the regime of monosexuality which includes heterosexuality and homosexuality. It is therefore false to place bisexuality and pansexuality in an intermediate zone, halfway between these two poles. It is about another perception of the world and of the relations between individuals. On the other hand, the imperative monosexuality is a normativity, which like the heteronormativity, discredits the possibility of living according to other models. It contributes to maintain clichés that make bi-es and pan people are those who, among the LGBTQIA+ community, are the most prone to depression and suffer the most discrimination within the family circle. The 2023 report of SOS Homophobie testifies to these specific difficulties, but like many studies, this document does not distinguish between bi and pan.

However, this day of May 24 invites us to consider pansexual people as a community in its own right, with an identity, a culture and specific needs. Recently, the term has appeared in the mainstream media thanks to the testimonies of celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monáe or Angèle. Its democratization coincides with the recent liberation of the word about fluid and non-binary gender identities, which explains the popularity of the term among the younger generations (according to Arnaud Alessandrin, author of Sociologie des transidentités, éd Le Cavalier Bleu, the majority of people identifying as pan are under 30).

To our knowledge, there are no associations or collectives representing the pan community in Belgium, but there are online resources, notably on social networks (Instagram, Discord…).
The RainbowHouse member association Let’s Talk About Non Binary regularly addresses issues of sexual and romantic attraction beyond gender norms during its monthly meet-ups.

In connection

Sexual diversity


Identities and gender expression