Tess Holliday has come out as pansexual: here's what that means

Tess Holliday at the InStyle Awards in 2018 [Photo: Getty]
Tess Holliday at the InStyle Awards in 2018 [Photo: Getty]

Plus-size model Tess Holliday has revealed she now identifies as pansexual.

The 33-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.

The model said that she was on holiday when she had her first open conversation about her sexuality.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship to my own queerness, and I think the word pansexual speaks to me more than bi does,” she said.

“I feel like a lot of stuff in my life now makes sense. A lot of the things that I felt when I was younger make sense. A lot of the relationships that I had make sense.”

READ MORE: Former Disney star pens powerful essay about her sexuality

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.

Janelle Monae at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party [Photo: Getty]
Janelle Monae at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party [Photo: Getty]

Celebrities Janelle Monae and Miley Cyrus have both previously admitted to being pansexual.

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 an interview with Rolling Stone, Monáe 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.”

She didn’t elaborate about what being pansexual means to her but said 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 said.

“This album is for you. Be proud.”