What does pansexual mean and how does it compare with being bisexual?

·Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrats MP, has revealed she identifies as pansexual.

In an interview with the PinkNews website, the 37-year-old told how she had started a relationship with a woman six months ago, a development she described as “surprising” in terms of her sexual identity.

“It was really wonderful on the one hand, but also quite surprising for me in how I had identified before,” she told the publication.

“It wasn't really something I had done before or considered before, but sometimes when you meet the right person, it just kind of happens.”

Liberal Democrats Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran addresses supporters during Rally for the Future at Battersea Arts Centre on 09 November, 2019 in London, England. The Liberal Democrats set out vision to stop Brexit and announce plans to introduce free childcare from 9 months old as the party campaigns for the General Election 2019. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Liberal Democrats Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran identifies as pansexual. [Photo: Getty]

READ MORE: Bella Thorne identifies as pansexual

Moran is the first known British politician to openly identify as pansexual.

She cited this as part of her motivation to come out, calling parliament a “weird, backwards place” for LGBTQ+ people.

However, she also said in an article she wrote for iNews that some journalists had suggested they would “out” her.

A number of high profile celebrities have previously said they are pansexual, including plus-size model Tess Holliday. The 34-year-old revealed in an interview with NYLON magazine that she’s spent time reflecting on her sexuality and would consider a relationship with a woman, if she wasn’t happily married to husband Nick - who she wed in 2015.

Last year, actor Bella Thorne told ‘Good Morning America’ that after finding out about pansexuality, which does not consider sex or gender, she has had a self realisation.

“I’m actually pansexual and I didn’t know that,” she explained. “Somebody explained to me really thoroughly what that is. You like beings. You like what you like. Doesn’t have to be a girl or a guy or a he or she or they or this or that. It’s literally you like personality. You just like a being.”

Musician Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual in 2018, telling Rolling Stone: “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.”

Additionally, singer Miley Cyrus, who has been romantically linked to both men and women, came out as pansexual back in 2015.

Despite the headlines pansexuality has made in recent years, many don’t know what it means.

The search term received a 100% spike on Google Trends in the wake of Moran’s announcement today.

What is pansexuality?

The word ‘pansexual’ is derived from the Greek prefix pan, meaning “all”.

Often confused with bisexuality, pansexuality is where gender is not factored into attraction at all.

In contrast, those who identify as bisexual are attracted to both genders.

“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 on their website.

READ MORE: Woman refuses to attend her straight sister's 'coming out' party

Asked to define her sexuality by PinkNews, Moran said: “Pansexuality, to me, means it doesn't matter about the physical attributions of the person you fall in love with, it's about the person themselves.

“It doesn't matter if they're a man or a woman or gender non-conforming, it doesn't matter if they identify as gay or not.

“In the end, these are all things that don't matter - the thing that matters is the person, and that you love the person.”

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