I have written before about identifying as ‘straight’, much as I hate the word and labels in general. However, I’m not feeling so certain about that any more and am increasingly drawn to the idea behind the word ‘pansexual.’

The Oxford English Dictionary defines being pansexual as ‘not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.’ This makes a lot of sense to me. Whilst I am still imbued with subconscious biases and affected by the patriarchal culture which we all live in in different forms, I am slowly moving away from gender and sexual identity assumptions.

The less grounded I feel in being a cis- female and the fewer assumptions I make about another persons gender, the less it makes sense to me to identify with the label ‘straight.’ The concept only works for people with clear cut gender identities, which is great but I am not one of them and I am starting to stop assuming other people are.

It has been a summer full of experimentation and ‘first times.’ It has possibly been the best summer of my life. One of the weird and wonderful things that happened was that I fell for someone assigned the gender identity of ‘female’ at birth. I think the label ‘gender fluid’ describes them best, although I am not sure they would ever slap a label onto themselves so this is just to give you context. I have never been attracted to someone with a ‘female’ body before.

In many (most) ways they are very masculine but I never thought about gender when with them or found it weird that I was with a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’; they saw themselves as simply a human being and that is how I saw them. Hence, perhaps pansexual may be appropriate and I like the idea behind what it stands for.

However, it is still a label at the end of the day and I think most, if not all, labels are inaccurate. Broadly speaking I still find myself attracted to people who are cis male and I think this person from the summer may simply be an exception. I may not be attracted to women but simply to them because they are interesting and intelligent and such an insane individual.

I’m not sure if labels are helpful to contribute to our ability to communicate and express diversity or damaging in the way they shoehorn people into different expressions of themselves and form groups around an identity. Either way I am much more comfortable with the ideology behind the word ‘pansexual’, than the restrictions around the word ‘straight.’