Honestly, what did we do to deserve Janelle Monáe? Along with the release of her incredible new album, Dirty Computer, Janelle has revealed to the world that she identifies as pansexual, but is open to exploring her sexuality. After all, gender and gender identity is fluid! Janelle’s coming out alongside an album that celebrates queer pride, female power, and self-love has empowered so many people and communities, but it has a lot of people asking the question: what does it mean to be pansexual?
Pansexuality: A Definition.
According to Miriam Webster, pansexuality is defined as “of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.” Basically, what this means is a pansexual person is attracted to people regardless of gender or gender identity, whether they be cis or trans or somewhere in between.
Pansexuality vs. Bisexuality: Aren’t They The Same Thing?
NO! Pansexuality and Bisexuality are very different sexualities. “Bi” implies that a person is attracted to 2 genders, which is typically their own gender and that which is not their gender (which could include multiple things). A pansexual person is not only attracted to their own gender and their opposing gender, but also people who are non-binary, genderqueer, intersex, etc. Pansexuality definitely falls under the bisexuality umbrella, but they are not interchangeable terms. It should also be noted that just because a bisexual or pansexual person is in what may be considered a homosexual or heterosexual relationship, they have not somehow “turned gay/straight.” This is what is called bi-erasure. Just because someone is in a specific relationship does not mean their sexual identity has changed. “What does it mean to be pansexual” is the question on a lot of people’s mind, and we hope this clears it up.
The Importance Of Janelle (and other celebrities) Coming Out.
In her interview with Rolling Stone, where she initially came out, she was asked about her sexual identity and previously identifying as bisexual. she responded “…later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.” Whenever a high profile celebrity comes out, it gives the LGBTQ+ community a louder and stronger voice. Monáe shed light on the pansexual community (one that isn’t widely discussed in the media), which opened doors for so many other pansexuals the opportunity feel free and more comfortable with their sexual identity, as Monáe can pose as a role model alongside many of her fellow queer celebrities. Turns out, many other main-stream celebrities identify as queer and pansexual as well!:
As well as Halsey, Ezra Miller and Billy Joe Armstrong. And this is just to name a few. These celebrities coming out and being vocal about bi-erasure and other queer issues gives budding queers an incredible outlet to begin a discussion with their family and friends about their sexuality. Not only did Monáe bring pansexuality to everyone’s attention, but she is sure to highlight that sexuality and gender are a fluid spectrum. This theme is further discussed on her iconic new album…
This album, accompanied by an emotion film dawning the same name, and makes a big statement. In the film/album, Janelle Monáe takes the identity of an andriod, which she explains is supposed to represent an ‘other’ in society. She took on this theme to help explain who she truly is. Monáe says she is a “free-ass motherfucker,” and this album shows just that.
In arguably the best bop of the album, “Pynk,” Monáe sings about “celebration of creation, self-love and pussy power.” In the music video she and a few other black women dance in pants that resemble vaginas, and honestly we are LIVING for it.
“Make Me Feel” is the bisexual/pansexual anthem we were all waiting for. In this song, Monáe describes her “sexual bender,” which is personified in her music video as we watch her flip-flop between dancing with what is seemingly two people of different genders identities. What does it mean to be pansexual? Watch this music video, it’ll give you a good baseline.
The rest of the album is unapologetic and free, catchy and empowering. We get a glimpse of the real Janelle, who is sending us all the message to embrace ourselves and discover who we truly are. While Monáe hesitated to release the album because she felt it was “too revealing,” we are so glad she did because that is the reason we all love it.
We Love You, Janelle.
Monáe’s coming out is inspirational to all, especially the pansexual community, and gives the queer community a louder voice in the music industry and media. Her new album perfectly personifies her identity as a pansexual black woman in America, while giving women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community an album they feel they can identify with. Janelle knows how to make a statement, and we are so inspired by her courage and coming out journey.
Dirty Computer is out April 27th, 2018. Stream it on iTunes and Spotify, and let us know what you think!
When it comes to the question, “what does it mean to be pansexual”, what is your take on it? Let us know down below!
Featured Image Source: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/janelle-monae-confirms-sexuality-rumors-shes-queer-black/story?id=54750518
Lisa Morgan Simon is a relocated Jersey Girl living in Boston, Massachusetts. She is in her fourth year at Northeastern University, studying Marketing and Media Production. In addition to working with Society19, Lisa also fulfills her dream of producing live television by working with GoNUxstream, helping broadcast division 1 sports at Northeastern. When she’s not updating Society19’s social media, broadcasting, or writing articles, she’s likely rock climbing in some foreign country. Lisa is a fake vegan but a real queer Gemini with a huge love for animals, Rihanna, and the outdoors.