The pansexual flag represents people whose attraction towards others is not determined by sex or gender identity.
“Pan” comes from the Latin word for “all”, referring to an attraction toward all genders.
Before I understood the meaning of the term pansexuality, also called omnisexuality, I had a lot of misconceptions about it. However, the more I’ve learned about it, the more I believe it describes many people from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
First, human sex is variable and determined by a diverse range of biologic markers, including but not limited to: internal genital, external genital, gonads, hormones, chromosomes, gene expression, secondary sex characteristics, brain structure, skeletal structure, and personal identity.
Second, gender is even more complex, because it involves the way someone interacts within society. In short, the more you know about human biology, the harder it becomes to accept the socially constructed in a male/female binary.
Given this context, pansexuality makes enormous sense as both a descriptive term and a personal identity.
History of LGBTQ Flags
Harvey Milk created the first widely-accepted version of a queer community flag in 1977. Since his death, the LQBTQ+ community chose his flag to commemorate the activist’s efforts and life. Ever since, the Pride flag has evolved, producing the desire for a flag to represent each identity within the community.
Along with the overall pride flag, each sub-community has created its own flag. For example, the pansexual flag was created in 2010 to represent the pansexual orientation.
Flags have historically united similar groups of people to show solidarity and community.
The LGBTQ+ flags are no different. Ready to explore the pansexual flag and how it developed as a symbol of pansexuality? Keep reading to learn what this flag is and who it represents.
What is the Pansexual Flag?
The pansexual flag is recognizable for its three distinct stripes. The top stripe is salmon-pink and sits atop a strip of canary yellow. The final stripe is of bright blue, rounding off the design of the flag.
An online pansexual community helped create this flag in 2010. It originated as a symbol of the distinction between pansexual and bisexual identities. The differences between the two can even be seen in the flag’s design.
The bisexual flag is represented by two overlapping stripes of pink and navy blue. They create a small purple strip where they merge to represent the bisexual attraction to two different genders. But the bisexual flag should not be confused with the pansexual flag.
If you’re new to or are still discovering what it means to be pansexual, you may be wondering—does this flag represent my identity? What exactly does it mean to be pansexual?
For the answers to these questions and so much more, let’s dive into this subject even deeper.
What Does the Pansexual Flag Represent?
The three colors in the pansexual flag represent three different gender groups a pansexual individual is attracted to. The pink stripe represents those who identify as female and the blue stripe represents those who identify as male.
The third yellow stripe stands for all of the individuals who identify somewhere along or beyond the gender spectrum.
For example, a person who identifies as pansexual may be interested in men or women, as well as nonbinary people, transgender people, intersex individuals, gender non-conforming (GNC) folks—or anyone else.
An interesting comparison to help illuminate the nuances of a pansexual orientation is to look at the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality and demisexuality.
Bisexual vs Pansexual vs Demisexual
The definition of bisexuality is expanding, but traditionally it has described an individual who prefers more than one gender. Remember, there are not two genders, but a diverse gender spectrum, which is part of what gives this identity a lot of flexibility.
Pansexuality, on the other hand, means an attraction to all genders. That’s why it’s common to hear a pansexual person say that they don’t see gender. Often, individuals who identify as pansexual don’t categorize people into gender groups at all.
When judging prospective partners, a pansexual person may assess factors such as appearance, personality, intellect, confidence, spiritual energy or anything other quality that draws them in.
A similar but distinct identity is demisexual. Demisexual means exclusively preferring individuals based on their personality traits.
A pansexual person can be attracted to another person based on looks. That’s where the largest difference between being pansexual and being demisexual comes in.
A demisexual individual is only attracted to someone after getting to know their personality. Conversely, a pansexual person may be attracted based on personality. But they may also be attracted based on appearance (not necessarily gender appearance).
Having delved into these explanations, please recognize that all personal identities are just that—personal.
Meaning, if you meet someone who defines these identities differently or doesn’t want to define them at all, please embrace that.
In that case, respectfully explore what these identities mean to them.
Who Does the Pansexual Flag Represent?
The pansexual flag represents anyone who identifies with a pan-sexual orientation.
A distinction you should understand is that pansexuality does not determine your gender identity.
That’s because pansexuality describes someone’s sexual orientation, meaning who you prefer romantically. Pansexuality does not describe how you see yourself along the gender spectrum.
It’s important to note that the pansexual flag can also represent a polysexual identity. The difference between poly- and pan-sexuality is found in the meanings of their respective prefixes:
- “Pan” comes from the Latin word for “all“, which refers to the pansexual orientation toward all genders.
- Meanwhile, “poly” comes from the Latin word for “many“.
This represents the idea that not all polysexual people are attracted to every gender. But they are attracted to most or some of the gender identity spectrum.
Learn More About LGBTQ+ Identities
The pansexual flag isn’t the only one to represent different LGBTQ+ subgroups. However you identify, there’s probably a flag out there to describe and encompass your identity. If the flag you’re searching for isn’t out there, perhaps it’s time you formed your own community and created a flag to represent it.
What are your thoughts on the pansexual flag and do you identify with it? Let me know in the comments below.
Up Next: What Does It Mean to Be Nonbinary?
Are we connected yet on Instagram? It not, let’s make it happen so I can share in your world too!