It’s easy to speculate what panromantic really means, and while everyone has their own view on sexual orientation, we thought we’d learn first hand from Alex, 21, and hear how he found exactly who he’s supposed to be…
Unfortunately, for many, sexuality is still very much black and white – As a considerable amount of people continue to ignore those that consider themselves bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, or panromantic. With this list continuing, the understanding of sexuality beyond heterosexual and homosexual lessens. Alex tells us in his own words what panromantic means to him: “Basically, I am romantically attracted to all genders. It’s not just males and females, I am also attracted to people who are transgender, genderqueer, non binary, and any other genders on the spectrum. Gender doesn’t matter to me, at least not on a romantic level.”
Previously, Alex, who is a trans male, considered himself a lesbian even when he realised he was panromantic. Fully aware he didn’t fall into a category of straight, bisexual or homosexual, he found himself needing to gain a deeper understanding in order to explain to others. “I needed to figure out what other orientations there were and which one felt right,” he says, and after using the Internet to discover an entire pool of sexualities, he knew he wasn’t the only person that felt this way. Unsure how to tell those close to him, Alex has only told a small amount of people that he is panromantic. To him, he doesn’t feel the need to ‘come out’ and will simply date whoever and explain as he goes. “I’ve had good reactions overall. I don’t mind that I’ll most likely have to explain it every time I tell someone, because educating people on these things is very important and will hopefully lead to more understanding and acceptance towards different orientations,” he tells us, his words incredibly supportive of educating and informing those with little or no knowledge of being panromantic.
‘are you sure it’s not a phase?’
At such a young age, people often ask, ‘are you sure it’s not just a phase?’ According to Alex, no matter what someone identifies as there will always be someone asking that question. Unless you’re straight of course. ‘So when did you realise you were straight?’ is just something we never hear. Frank and honest, Alex gives us his views on knowing your sexual orientation at a young age: “As soon as a person comes out as anything other than straight, it’s suddenly seen as a phase. People might ask ‘how can you be so sure of your identity at such a young age?’, well, I believe I was born this way and some people may think I’m too young to know who I am and what I want, but why does it have anything to do with being myself? And what’s the big deal even if it is a phase? I know what I want right now and I’m happy with how I identify, if that changes in a few years time then so be it.”
And while acknowledging that for few, a sexual orientation appears to others as a ‘phase’, Alex explains that it really shouldn’t matter: “There’s no age limit on figuring out who you are and there’s no problem if it turns out to be a ‘phase’, as long as you’re happy with who you are. Some people will come out and then a few years later they may realise that they relate more to a different sexual or romantic orientation. That doesn’t mean their previous identity was a phase, they may not have known about other orientations beforehand, and after some research they may discover that they identify as something else. Regardless of age, I believe it’s quite ignorant to dismiss a persons identity as ‘just a phase’, and everyone should accept all identities in the same way they accept heterosexual people.”