Democrat Mary Gonzalez was the first lesbian to openly serve in the Texas House of Representatives, and now she's becoming the first "pansexual," too.
"During the campaign if I had identified as pansexual, I would have overwhelmed everyone...Now that I’m out of the campaign, I’m completely much more able to define it," she explained.
So what, exactly, is a "pansexual"? And how is it different from "bisexual"?
The Huffington Post summarizes:
Though many might describe Gonzalez's orientation as bisexual, pansexuals don’t believe in a "gender binary," and hence can be attracted to all gender identities.
Gonzalez specified to the Voice that she doesn’t believe in a gender binary because “gender identity isn’t the defining part of my attraction," and that she never fully embraced the term "lesbian." Although she came out as bisexual at age 21, Gonzalez said she has also dated transgender and "gender-queer" people, in addition to women.
Gonzalez... continued: "As I started to recognize the gender spectrum and dated along the gender spectrum, I was searching for words that connected to that reality, for words that embraced the spectrum. At the time I didn’t feel as if the term bisexual was encompassing of a gender spectrum that I was dating and attracted to." [Emphasis added]
As Gonzalez defines it, apparently a "pansexual" is attracted to men, women, men who identify as women, women who identify as men, and everything in between, because they don't recognize "gender binaries."
"This is a big victory for Mary, for El Paso and for Texas," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund reportedly said. "The people of El Paso will be represented by a talented and committed fighter who knows how to get things done in Austin. And LGBT Texans will be represented by an authentic voice in the Capitol, standing up and speaking out for fairness and freedom for all."
Denis Dison, a spokesperson for the Victory Fund, added that there are several bisexual U.S. Representatives and they should "inform the media and others about the term they prefer."
"That sort of education is a good thing," he said.