A UK lawmaker just came out as pansexual. Here's what that means.

Business Insider US
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  • Layla Moran, a UK lawmaker, came out as pansexual on Friday. She's the first pansexual member of Parliament, according to Pink News.
  • Moran told Pink News, an LGBTQ news website, that she has been in a relationship with a woman for over 6 months and later tweeted a selfie of the two of them.
  • Pansexuality, an identity that falls under the LBGTQ umbrella, refers to having an attraction to people of all genders.
  • Contrary to popular belief, pansexual and bisexuality are different.
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Layla Moran, a UK lawmaker, came out as pansexual on Friday. This makes her the first pansexual member of Parliament, according to LGBTQ news website Pink News.

Pansexuality is an identity that falls under the LGBTQ umbrella. It refers to having an attraction to people of all genders.

The Liberal Democrat MP told Pink News that she has been dating a woman for the past 6 months, which "was quite surprising, because before that I only ever had boyfriends."

Moran revealed her relationship with Rosey Cobb, a former Liberal Democrat press secretary, during an interview with Pink News, later posting a picture of herself and Cobb on Twitter with the caption: "2020 is a new decade and a new path in my journey. Last year I fell in love with a wonderful woman. Something I'd never even considered before. Now I am just happy."

According to Pink News, Moran initially felt pressure to identify as bisexual because it's a term that other people understood. Eventually, she decided she didn't want to force herself into a label.

She told the publication that she identifies as pansexual because she doesn't care about physical attributes and falls in love with personality instead, regardless of gender.

Moran told Pink News that she plans to continue to advocate for LGBTQ rights within Parliament.

It's possible to identify as both pansexual and bisexual, but they don't mean the same thing

Pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan," meaning all. Pansexual identity recognises the wide breadth of gender identities that exist, including non-binary people.

Contrary to popular belief, pansexuality and bisexuality are different identities, as bisexuality refers to a person being attracted to their same gender as well as other gender identities. However, this doesn't necessarily mean a bisexual person is attracted to all genders.

For example, a person who identifies as a bisexual woman can be attracted to non-binary people and other women but maybe not men. A pansexual woman like Moran is attracted to people of all genders.

A person who is bisexual can identify as pansexual as well if they happen to be attracted to people of all genders - but while the two can overlap, this doesn't necessarily mean these identities always overlap.

Janelle Monae identifies as pansexual.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Pansexual people sometimes have to deal with 'pan-erasure'

Bi-erasure, or the erasure of bisexual identity through belittling comments and other forms of discrimination, comes from the idea that people cannot be attracted to people of multiple genders. It has even been linked to worse mental health and less fulfilling sex for bisexual people.

This same misconception that people can't truly be attracted to people of different gender identities at the same time fuels a similar form of discrimination against pansexual people called "pan-erasure."

But notable people like Moran and celebrities like Janelle Monae and Bella Thorne come out as pansexual, more and more people are recognising it as a real sexual identity.

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