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American singer Janelle Monáe has come out as pansexual.
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, the 32-year-old opened up about her sexuality, revealing that though she initially thought she identified as bisexual she has now settled on the more inclusive pansexual.
“I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too,’” she told Rolling Stone. “I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
While many of her fans have applauded Monáe’s honest revelation, some have been left a little confused about what it means to be pansexual.
What does being pansexual mean?
The word ‘pansexual’ is derived from the Greek prefix pan, meaning “all”.
According to Urban Dictionary a pansexual is “one who can love sexuality in many forms. Like bisexuality, but even more fluid, a pansexual person can love not only the traditional male and female genders, but also transgendered, androgynous, and gender fluid people.”
Unsurprisingly, people sometimes mistake pansexuality with bisexuality although the two are actually different.
“While being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, being pansexual means being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender,” GLAAD, an organisation supporting LGBTQ+ representation in the media, explains.
Monáe isn’t the only celebrity to identify as pansexual, back in 2016 Miley Cyrus also opened up about pansexuality.
Cyrus said that she first discovered her sexual identity “when I figured out what it was.”
“I went to the LGBTQ centre here in L.A., and I started hearing these stories,” she told Variety. “I saw one human in particular who didn’t identify as male or female. Looking at them, they were both: beautiful and sexy and tough but vulnerable and feminine but masculine. And I related to that person more than I related to anyone in my life.”
“Once I understood my gender more, which was unassigned, then I understood my sexuality more,” she continued. “I was like, ‘Oh — that’s why I don’t feel straight and I don’t feel gay. It’s because I’m not.'”
In her interview with Rolling Stone, Monáe doesn’t elaborate about what being pansexual means to her but says she hopes opening up might help anyone struggling with their own sexuality.
“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracised or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she says.
“This album is for you. Be proud.”
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