It appears that 2018 was the year of pansexuality. With multiple celebs embracing the label and fictional characters contributing to an all-time high in LGBTQ+ TV representation, Merriam-Webster has included the word on their Words of the Year list, released this week.
Coming in after “justice” and “nationalism,” the word is defined as "of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation."
According to the dictionary’s statistics, the word saw a spike in online searches when Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual in a Rolling Stone interview in April. Though she had previously come out asbisexual, she explained how her understanding of her own identity had evolved, “I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
In addition to the Dirty Computer musician and Welcome to Marwen actress, Panic! at the Disco frontman and OUT100 Honoree, Brendon Urie came out as pansexual in July. In an interview with Paper he said,“I guess you could qualify me as pansexual because I really don’t care. If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart’s in the right place. I’m definitely attracted to men. It’s just people that I’m attracted to.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, Courtney Act also contributed to the conversation around pansexuality after winning Celebrity Big Brother. In an interview for her April cover story with Attitude, Act said, "It’s important to acknowledge bisexual, pansexual. We have such a rigid idea of what heterosexuality is, and that’s problematic. We have such a rigid idea of what gay is, and that’s also problematic.” The drag queen also expanded her reality TV résumé, hosting the new UK dating show, The Bi Life.
Pansexuality also made its way to scripted television with Ambrose, Sabrina’s hot cousin in the Netflix reboot, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Of course, that was only one role contributing to this year holding the status as the most representation for LGBTQ+ characters on television.
Lesbian Jesus, Hayley Kiyoko, dubbed this year #20GAYTEEN, but maybe the pans have it? Any bets on what we’re walking into for 2019?