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Have you heard of the term pangender? Let’s talk about it!

May 30, 2023

Have you heard of the term pangender? Let’s talk about it!

Hey there, fabulous you! Today we’ll be talking about all things pangender! In 2022, the term pangender was officially adopted by the Oxford English Dictionary — but what does it actually mean?

Pangender is a gender identity that encompasses all or multiple genders. It generally refers to someone who identifies with all, a few, or multiple gender identities. A pangender person might identify as multiple genders all at once or more with one or more specific genders at varying times. 

Source: Toby Barron Therapy

So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Pangender folks experience a sense of fluidity and diversity in their gender identity, and they may feel that they are not strictly male or female but rather a mix of different genders. Think of it like a gender buffet — why choose just one when you can have a little of everything?

What is the meaning of pangender?

Let us explain a little further: pangender is a term that falls under the larger umbrella of non-binary identities, which do not fit within the traditional binary categories of male and female. Pangender individuals may feel that their gender identity is expansive and can shift between different gender expressions while experiencing all of them.

As for pronouns, that depends solely on who you ask. Some might say they’re totally cool with “any pronouns,” and others have clear preferences. So it’s important that you always ask and listen! 

The etymology of ‘pangender’

The term pangender is a combination of the Greek prefix “pan” meaning “all” or “every,” and gender, referring to one’s cultural and social identities related to or compared to our biological sex. 

The term was first used in the late 20th century,  in the preface to The Flock, a novel by Lynn Wilson, to describe individuals whose gender identity is not limited to traditional binary categories.

Is pangender the same as being transgender?

Now, I know some of you reading this might have this exact question. But hold up, hun — while transgender folks may identify as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, pangender folks can identify as multiple genders at the same time, including the one assigned at birth and many more.

Since pangender defies the binary as we know it — it might sometimes overlap with the term agender for some. Someone who’s agender may experience a sense of detachment from gender or a lack of personal identification with any gender label. 

Pangender kinda sounds like gender-fluid

On paper, it might, yes. But there are a few key differences.

For instance, pangender folks feel a deep connection to various gender identities and express themselves authentically across those identities. It’s a gender identity that’s all about embracing the beautiful mosaic of gender, and that we don’t have to just identify as one at a time. 

On the other hand, genderfluid individuals experience a fluidity in their gender identity. They may feel more aligned with a certain gender at one time and then shift to another gender later. 

Remember, these are just two examples of non-binary gender identities, and there are many more out there, such as bigender and polygender!

Is pangender any different than pansexual?

Totally! The only thing pansexual and pangender have in common is the prefix and the fact that you can be both without affecting the other.

While pangender refers to experiencing multiple genders, pansexual relates to sexual orientation and attraction that is open to people of all gender identities, regardless of what they are. Both experiences defy societal norms and challenge the limited boxes people often try to squeeze them into. They remind us that gender and attraction are not fixed, but rather complex, fluid, and fun.

The beautiful pangender flag

The pangender flag was created by the talented Cari Rez Lobo, aka pangendering on Tumblr, trying to reflect an image that embodies inclusivity, just like a bright, vibrant spectrum of light.

Source: LGBTQIA+ Wiki

Let’s talk about the colors! They’re all light and bright, just like the joy that comes with embracing the full range of gender identities. White takes center stage, symbolizing broad inclusion. Think of it like white light, which contains all the different colors within it. In the same way, pangender embraces all the diverse and beautiful genders that exist in this world.

Next, we have a delightful shade of yellow. This represents all those marvelous genders that are not connected to the traditional female and male binary. It’s like a burst of sunshine, radiating warmth and celebration for the rich variety of gender identities beyond binary limits!

But wait, there’s more! We move on to a delightful light red color, capturing the transition to genders associated with the male and female binary. It’s like stepping into a new phase, a journey of self-discovery where we explore the beautiful spectrum of gender expression and identity.

And last but certainly not least, we have a lovely violet shade, representing the transition to and combination of female and male. It’s like a dance between the two, a harmonious blend where the boundaries blur and create something that truly extraordinary.

So, my darlings, the pangender flag symbolizes embracing all genders, like a vibrant rainbow of identities coming together in perfect harmony. It’s a celebration of the diversity and beauty that exists within each and every one of us. So wave your flag high with pride!

The pangender and gender non-conforming BIPOC experience

Talking about this subject, we think It’s important to acknowledge that gender identity has been an integral part of many cultures and communities for centuries and that the Western binary of male and female is not the only way of understanding it. 

One example of this is within North American Indigenous communities, where the term “two-spirit” is often used to describe individuals who possess both masculine and feminine traits or who identify as neither male nor female. Two-spirit people have historically held important roles within their communities, playing vital roles as healers, spiritual leaders, and mediators

Source: Oprah Daily

And guess what? It doesn’t stop there! Other cultures across the globe have embraced gender identities outside the binary. In India, they have the fabulous hijra people, an umbrella term for a “third gender.” In Polynesia’s Samoan culture, they dance with the magnificent fa’afafine, people who take a non-binary role in their community.

Knowing this reminds us that gender diversity is not a new fad, my loves. It’s a timeless part of our shared human experience, celebrated and honored through the ages! And even though they are not the same as pangender, the fact that deriving from the binary is natural for us is a comforting thought.

How do I know if I’m pangender?

In short, if you find yourself feeling a strong affinity with more than one gender, pangender might resonate with you. Take some time for self-reflection, my friend. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • How do I feel about the concept of gender? Do I feel limited by the binary understanding of male and female, or do I sense a broader spectrum within myself?
  • Have I noticed a consistent pattern of identifying with multiple genders or feeling a fluidity in my gender identity over time?
  • Do I feel a deep resonance with the experiences and narratives of pangender individuals when I learn about their journeys?

Engage in open and honest conversations with yourself, explore different resources, and seek support from trusted friends, loved ones, or professionals in the field of gender identity if you find it necessary. Remember, there is no rush, and it’s perfectly okay to take your time in understanding and embracing your true self.

Source: Houston Chronicle

The pangender “look”

Maybe you just found out something new about yourself and want to look the part, but news flash: your style, your clothes, your hair, that’s all very personal! The way you express yourself and your gender identity isn’t limited by the letter in LGBTQIA + that you feel comfortable with.

Being pangender and expressing it authentically is part of a beautiful journey of self-discovery. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to be yourself. Each person’s experience is unique and should be honored and respected. Feel free to rock the look you feel the most like yourself in!

Source: Family Health Centers of San Diego

As we come to the end of this fabulous journey into the realm of pangender, let us reflect on the beauty and power of embracing a multitude of gender identities. Pangender individuals shine as beacons of authenticity, reminding us that gender is not confined to a binary box but rather a magnificent spectrum of possibility!

Whether you identify as pangender or not, the beauty of gender lies in its endless variety, and learning about it can help us create a world that radiates acceptance, authenticity, and a celebration of all identities. 

Daniela Ochoa-Bravo is a writer and creative based in Brooklyn, born in Bogotá. She is the Founder and Editor of Colectivo Tabú, a project dedicated to democratizing the publishing industry by creating a space where the works of emerging and established artists can seamlessly coexist alongside each other.

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