How To Shut Down Someone Who Insists On Making Gender Labels


When someone asks about my sexuality, I never really know what to say.

Society likes to categorize people, only further distancing us from those we think are different from ourselves. We must be “this” or “that.” When it comes to sexuality, we must be straight or LBGTQ+.

What about the people who don't fall within these strict parameters? People like myself.

I guess the label for lacking a label is “pansexual.” A pansexual is someone who doesn't limit their sexual preference based on biological sex, gender or gender identity.

Different from bisexuality, a pansexual can be attracted to those who don't fall into the traditional roles of male and female. This includes the transgendered, androgynous and gender fluid.

Pansexuals are the forgotten orientation.

While technically pansexuality falls under the LBGTQ+ umbrella, where is my P? We are the forgotten orientation. One that hasn't yet been recognized by society's outdated labels.

Shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Transparent” are beginning to shine a light on the subject. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus have come out as pansexual. Caitlyn Jenner bravely announced herself as a trans woman.

Influencers like Jaden Smith and Ruby Rose are letting society know it's OK for boys to wear skirts and girls to wear the pants. CoverGirl recently announced its first CoverBoy, because boys can wear makeup too.

The conversation has been started, but it's our job to continue it.

You may think your voice doesn't matter, but even small steps eventually make it to the finish line. Whether or not all this applies to you personally, I urge you to spread the love.

Let others know it's OK to love who they love. If anyone tries to criticize you for being too liberal or open-minded, here are four things to remind people:

1. Being manly doesn't make you more of a man.

I'm often criticized for my taste in androgynous men -- think Jared Leto. “Don't you want a manly man? Someone that can make you feel safe and protected?” Protected from what? I'd really like to know.

Do I need someone to go kill animals for me while I look for berries? I am a strong, powerful, independent woman. I don't need no man to take care of me.

Manly men do what? Watch and play sports? Fish? Mow the lawn? Operate heavy machinery? All of those things sound absolutely horrible.

I only let people into my life that I plan on keeping there for a while, so why would I want to be with someone I have absolutely nothing in common with? I just want another human with similar values and interests.

If a man has style or shows emotion, does that make him gay? Does wearing my hat backwards make me a lesbian? Does aspiring to be something other than a mother make me a failure as a woman?

I could go on forever, but gender roles are downright medieval if you ask me. What I find attractive in someone is being in touch wit' yo' bad self. Now that's sexy.

2. PDA is awesome and anybody can do it with whoever they want.

Kissing is fun; it makes you and the person you're kissing happier and healthier. Your brain is literally being flooded with a bunch of hormones and chemicals that make us feel fucking great! It's science.

I like kissing girls and kissing boys. I kiss my male friends. Mostly the gay ones, since the straight ones can't wrap their heads around a platonic kiss.

I'll kiss a few of my girlfriends who don't think it's weird. You would die for your best friend, but you wouldn't kiss them on the lips? I just don't get it.

Kissing is an innocent display of affection we don't use freely enough. It might look a little weird to outsiders, but IDGAF. I kiss the people I love. Sorry, not sorry.

3. Being open-minded doesn't make me a slut.

While I just admitted I like a good makeout sesh, this freedom of expression is not my excuse to be a slut.

Being pansexual doesn't mean I like EVERYONE. It just means that I care more about what's behind your eyes than what's inside your pants. I'm not going to lie; physical attraction is important to me, but a beautiful face can be so quickly ruined by an ugly soul.

An open mind does not equal open legs. I am extremely picky and have exceptionally high standards. If your beliefs don't align with mine, I don't care what else you have to offer.

Few people can hold my interest, and I don't waste time or energy on anything that's not real. If I don't like your vibes, keep them away from mine. Same goes for your junk.

4. Being open-minded is not a phase.

I am not experimenting or confused. I'm not trying to be different. I'm just me. I like who I like. I'm sorry if your small mind can't possibly comprehend the ability to love someone regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. I don't criticize your love life. Don't criticize mine.

Even some of the most conservative thinkers are beginning to accept gay people. They don't like it, but they try to understand it. They write it off as a flaw, wish things were different, then move on. Being somewhere in-between gay and straight still leaves them confused.

Men are accused of being afraid to come out of the closet; women are criticized for seeking attention; jokes are made about playing both sides of the field.

Families ask questions like, “Well if you LIKE men can't you just be with one instead of doing this to us?” I'm sorry, I didn't realize my sexuality was causing you so much pain.

Society tells us we must be “this” or “that.” I guess anything in-between still doesn't make any sense.