1. RDSJ4: Spade, Mutilating Gender (pp. 419-425) (see attachment)
2. RDSJ4: Meyerowitz, Introduction—How Sex Changed (pp. 388-390) (see attachment)
3. RDSJ4: Kacere, Transmisogyny 101 (pp. 394-398) (see attachment)
4. RDSJ4: Green, Look! No, Don’t! (pp. 439-441) (see attachment)
5. RDSJ4: Chess, et.al, Calling all Restroom Revolutionaries (pp. 459-461) (see attachment)
6. RDSJ4: Blumenfeld, Women & LGBT People Under Attack (pp. 378-380) (see attachment)
7. RDSJ4: Gokhale, The InterSEXion (pp. 391-394) (see attachment)
8. RDSJ4: Carbado, Privilege (pp. 367-373) (see attachment)
9. RDSJ4: Airen, Pansexual Visibility (pp. 398-400) (see attachment)
10. RDSJ4: Evans & Washington, Becoming an Ally (pp. 447-455) (see attachment)
11. RDSJ4: Pharr, Reflections on Liberation (pp. 604-610) (see attachment)
12. RDSJ4: Johnson, What We Can Do (pp. 621-627) (see attachment)
13. Hernandez: Becoming a Black man (see attachment)
14. Brune: When she graduates as He (see attachment)
15. Video: Toilet Training
16. Schlasko, transgender etiquette (see attachment)
17. Video: Everyone Matters – Dignity and Safety for Transgender People
18. Read: Ochs, Biphobia
19. Video: Reteaching Gender and Sexuality
20. Video: Wanda Sykes, That’s So Gay
21. Video: Hilary Duff, That’s So Gay
22. Teaching Tolerance, Six Steps to Speak Up (see attachment)
23. Blumenfeld: An LGBTIQ History: Part 1 to 5
total 2000 words
Pansexual Visibility & Undoing Heteronormativity
Pride was bittersweet this year. We are still devastated and grieving over the Orlando shooting of
50 people at Pulse, an LGBTQ night club, AND we continue to proudly celebrate who we are.
The celebration of LGBTQ feels even more important with the violence that recently happened.
Though greater strides have been made towards the acceptance of gay and queer people, we still
have a long way towards changing perceptions, beliefs, and the safety of LGBTQ people. I want
to acknowledge the intersections like race, gender, and disability that many gay or queer people
experience. Thus, the fight towards more acceptance and safety of being queer or gay is also a
fight to end all social oppressions.
In this post, I specifically want to talk about pansexualtity and heteronormativity. I’m focusing
on pansexuality because I am a pansexual, and pansexuals are hardly acknowledged and
represented. Today, being pansexual has a wider understanding than it did eleven years ago when
I was first identifying as one. I’m thrilled to see how much of the awareness and acceptance of
pansexuality has evolved though we still have a long way to go. Pansexuality is hugely
underrepresented in the media, and it’s still not taken seriously enough in society at large. We
need greater pansexual visibility and awareness of heteronormativity.
What Is Pansexuality?
First, I want to share what pansexuality means to me. Each pansexual can define what their
sexuality means, and I do not claim to speak for all pansexuals. For me, I define pansexual as
being attracted to multiple genders and/or being attracted to/fall in love with someone(s)
irrespective of gender. When I first heard the term pansexual, I heard it described as falling in
love with the person, not the gender, which resonated with me deeply.
To me, pansexuality differs from bisexuality because of “bi” meaning two, as in two genders. I
prefer to use pansexual because it acknowledges more than two genders that I could be attracted
to. I do want to acknowledge that not all bisexuals only define their sexuality within the binary,
but for my love of deconstructing language, I prefer to use pansexual. Sometimes, when my
sexuality pops up in conversation with someone who doesn’t seem to have an awareness of
pansexuality, then I usually identify as bisexual. I’m fine with bisexual, but it doesn’t feel like
the whole truth. Also, I don’t feel like I am attracted to both women and men because I’m not.
I’m not attracted to one being a woman or a man. I’m attracted to the person underneath. It may
sound like an ideal fantasy, but it’s true; my genuine attraction stems from the inside first and the
Heteronormativity Erases Pansexuality
A big part of the fight to foster greater acceptance of and to keep LGBTQ folks alive is to
dismantle heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is deep seated in our society and we encounter
its presence in our everyday lives. In order to help end oppression and violence against queer
people, we must face the heteronormativity that we perpetuate. A huge part of this work involves
awareness, education, and action.
People are assumed to be heterosexual unless their perceived gender has people believing
otherwise. I don’t identify as “femme” but, sometimes, I present as more “femme,” and thus am
assumed to be heterosexual. Heteronormativity assumes that when I am with a man, I am
straight; it assumes heterosexual until proven otherwise. I’m not with a man because of my
heterosexual “nature.” I’m with him because I fell in love with a human being who happens to
“be” a man. I’m not going to walk around with a sign on my forehead that states “Pansexual,”
thus the heterosexual assumption is important to change.
Heteronormativity treats pan, gay, or bi sexuality as a spectacle. When my ex-girlfriend and I
would take neighborhood walks holding hands, people would drive or walk by staring and
smiling at us. Granted, we were a cute couple, but after a while, I started to feel like a spectacle.
This is twofold. On one hand, it was beautiful that people were responding positively to our love.
But, on the other hand, my relationship was not on display for other people’s pleasure (or
disgust). We lived in an open-minded neighborhood, so we rarely, if ever, encountered disgust or
negative reactions to displaying our affection for one another in public. But, because we lived in
an open-minded neighborhood, I was surprised that people were reacting (even though positive)
to us at all. If women being romantic with one another is normalized, then there wouldn’t be a
reaction from others at all.
No one blinks an eye when they see a couple they perceive to be heterosexual walking down the
street (at least in relation to sexuality/gender; racism, disability and other identities can still be a
factor). This is heteronormativity and heterosexual privilege. Not being aware of heterosexual
privilege perpetuates heteronormativity. When we perceive a couple to be heterosexual, we are
engaging in heteronormativity. We don’t actually know if the couple we perceive to be
heterosexual is actually heterosexual. We perceive a heterosexual couple to consist of a
“woman” and a “man,” but what if the woman or man is bisexual or pansexual? When we
perceive people as heterosexual, we are projecting our own social conditioning onto them
because of heteronormativity.
Also, heteronormativity tends to assume that if you’re pansexual, then you’re automatically
polyamorous. Polyamorous or monogamous, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be with both a
woman and a man at the same time to prove you’re pansexual. Being monogamous with a man
does not erase pansexuality either, but society treats it that way. A pansexual woman being in
relationship with a man does not all of a sudden make her heterosexual.
As a culture and society, we need to do a better job of unpacking heteronormativity. We can
unlearn the assumptions we make about other people’s sexuality based upon their physical
appearance. As pansexuals, we will not be erased. We are here; we are queer, and we’re not
The Lack of Pansexual Representation Onscreen
Pansexuals are hugely underrepresented in film and television, which isn’t a surprise since
society is still catching up in understanding what pansexuality is, and even being introduced to
the term. Heteronormativity allows for writers and directors to create characters heterosexual
without questioning why they are creating a heterosexual character. Heteronormativity allows
most, if not all, of the characters in a film to be heterosexual and have its one token gay
character. If we didn’t live in a heteronormative world, then there wouldn’t be such a disparity,
heterosexual would not be the norm.
Pansexual and bisexual representation onscreen is rare. While we have more lesbian and gay
people onscreen than ever before, pansexuals and bisexuals pale in comparison… Can we say
that TV is doing a better job at queer representation? No doubt, we can. Films need to step up to
the plate! But, both television and film needs to greatly improve their representation of
pansexuals and bisexuals. The more we see pansexuals onscreen, the more pansexual will be
normalized as a sexual orientation. But, we can’t wait for the media to change, we need to start
now. It starts with deconstructing heteronormativity in our everyday lives. Notice the next time
you make a judgment (whether it’s in your own head or out loud) about someone’s sexuality…