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"My most authentic self" : creating visibility and understanding of pansexuality through stories of identity formation
Creating visibility and understanding of pansexuality through stories of identity formation
Green, Ashley Marie
Rothblum, EstherHoward, Yetta
The purpose of this study is to increase visibility and understanding of individuals who adopt "pansexual" as their sexual identity label. Pansexual is defined as potential sexual attraction to individuals of all genders, and, despite the increased usage of the label over the past twenty-five years, there is still little research on individuals who identify this way. This study provides a comprehensive literature review of existing research to contextualize this topic, then utilizes analytic autoethnography and qualitative interviews to determine why some individuals choose the label pansexual over others, what role gender identity plays in this process, and how these individuals feel about similar labels, such as bisexual and queer. The interviews conducted with the ten individuals who participated in this study suggest that these particular pansexuals, who primarily learned about the label pansexual from their friends and community members, adopted the label because they felt it was a more authentic description of how they understood their identity, that it allowed them to communicate this identity better to others, and that it was more inclusive of trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Additionally, most of the participants felt that their gender identity or that of their partner played a large role in their process of pansexual identity formation. Finally, many participants noted the ways in which the label queer is used to build community connections, and some discussed the ways in which the definition of bisexual is beginning to shift. Overall, the results present a number of avenues for future research on pansexuality and other non-binary sexual identities.
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2016
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