Possibilities, Pressures, and Pancakes: A rant by a Pansexual

Disclaimer: Sass and sarcasm below

The first pancake never turns out quite right. My brother loves this joke because he is the
secondborn. Haha. Very funny. Not going to lie though, there have been a lot of times in my life
where I felt like he was onto something there. Growing up I never felt right. I didn’t feel particularly
wrong either. Just something in between. Took me a good while to figure out why: I am pansexual. I

Can one ever really be sure of one’s sexuality? Some people are, I guess. Lucky folk. They grow up
just… knowing. And when the time is right for them – and only them, if they are really lucky – they
tell the world: “I’M GAY!” “I’M A LESBIAN.” Or: “I’M BI, actually.” I’ve met these kinds of people.
People that are just so sure of themselves, it’s sickening. Not because it literally makes me sick, but
because it makes me jealous.

I am one of the other people. The people who spend their teenage life trying to figure out what the
hell is going on in their minds and in their hearts while simultaneously trying to navigate what is
going on in their pants. And we’re talking about teenagers here… so not an easy task. In other words:
The people who aren’t sure of one damn thing in their life.
I am not saying, the first group of people have it easy. I am just saying, I would love to be as sure as
them. Now, I am no statistics expert, but I am pretty sure that for the majority of queer people, this
is not the reality. A lot of us are unsure. A lot of us follow that “Hey, I haven’t tried it all, so what the
hell do I know?” approach. I know I do. We’re somewhere up and down on this much-cited spectrum
of a rainbow and it’s absolutely beautiful. But it can also be absolutely soul-crushing. Especially if,
after all the teenage angst, you end up with… Pan!
A Tale of Tom Kaulitz and Miley Cyrus

I was born in 1995. My environment was open and tolerant, it still is, but it was also old school. I
remember jokes, I remember things not being spoken about, I remember queerness not being “the
norm”. The first time I asked an adult how love between two men worked, I got a very abrasive yet
very short answer: “In the ass!” I was 10. I did not ask again.
As a teenager, I had two celebrity crushes: Tom Kaulitz, who I loved to dream about. And Miley
Cyrus, who I hated for it. And who made me throw out a perfectly good copy of Bravo magazine.
Because she was on the cover, and I couldn’t deal with it. The pressure I felt to not look at this cover
for too long and to make myself believe I was nothing but straight frightens me to this day.
Tom Kaulitz, the guitarist of Tokio Hotel, ended up marrying supermodel Heidi Klum (good for you,
mate). And Miley Cyrus, well… She ended up being my sexual awakening. No matter how hard I tried
to explain those thoughts away. No wonder, because I had the worst excuses possible: “I just want to
be as famous as she is. I wish I had hair like that. I am so jealous of her figure.” Sure girl, THAT’S the
reason you keep staring at her picture. Very believable…

Not straight – what now?
Eventually, I came to terms with not being straight. Good, first step. What now? Am I a lesbian? No,
there were some guys. There were some feelings. Do I find girls attractive? Yes… if they mean
something to me. That part is crucial because it took a lot of anxiety and depressive phases of
loneliness, where I thought I’d forever be alone, for me to figure this out: I need that emotional
connection. I need to know that person to develop feelings. And if I am on a train, looking around
and finding absolutely no one attractive, that doesn’t mean that I’ll never find someone and die
alone. It just means I need a deeper connection. I fall in love with people’s minds, people’s
personalities. And if I do, I don’t care what’s in their pants. Not at first, I mean. Later, I do. You
know… You get it!

Okay, now that we’ve figured that out, it should get easier, right? You know what you need. You
know what you’re into. It’s going to be smooth sailing from now on, right? RIGHT? Good one…
Endless possibilities – something in between
It was not. It still isn’t. And it will probably never be. Because I am pansexual. The odd pancake that’s
ugly but tasty. Maybe burnt, but just a little. Can’t serve it, can’t throw it away either. There is that
“something in between” again. That’s what we are, I guess, something in between.
I would love to think that pansexual people are a bridge between communities. The connection
between straight and queer. One foot in each world. The uniters of love. Well… We are NOT that! In
fact, we seem to belong to neither world. We have no feet whatsoever.

Because there it is again: the pressure. Pressure to belong to either community. Pressure to make a
choice. A choice between loves, lives, and family models. And whatever you do, you can’t seem to
make anyone happy. Endless possibilities result in endless suffering. Yes, I can fall in love with every
person, no matter their gender. And yes, I have. Yes, that is amazing. And yes, it can also really suck.
Because as a pansexual person, you’re not just choosing between potential love interests but
between complete lifestyles. And let me tell you, that’s a pressure that a girl near here 30s doesn’t
need added to everything else going on in that period of life.
Not queer enough?

Because we have these possibilities, people seem to think that we can choose whatever. But life
doesn’t work like that. Love doesn’t work like that. If I fall in love with a woman, a transgender or
non-binary person tomorrow, there will always be straight people asking: Why? You can choose, so
why not just choose a man? Choose the arguably easier way of life?
Not that straight men are necessarily easy to live with. Have you seen their bathrooms…?
And if I fall in love with a man tomorrow, I’d be genuinely afraid of losing a community that I see as
an essential part of my identity. Because there are these queers (not the majority, thankfully) that
would just love to give you the boot if you happen to end up in a heteronormative relationship.
Because in their eyes, you’re not queer enough anymore.

Case in point: We’re the LGBTQ+ community. Or the LGBTQIA community. I might need to clean my
glasses, but I am not seeing a P anywhere. Granted, there are a lot of letters in the alphabet that
stand for some sort of sexual orientation, and I guess we can’t name them all. I’m fine with the Q.
But do you know where else the P is missing? Mainstream media. And no, it is not the same as Bi.
And yes, we’d appreciate it, if people stopped saying that. In case you skipped that class in
elementary school, P is a completely different letter. Sorry, Nick Nelson and Alex Claremont-Diaz, but
you’re just not enough.

Where are the pansexuals? And what are we?
If we saw it more, heard it more, read it more, maybe people would finally get it? Would understand
it better? Maybe we wouldn’t have to explain ourselves that much anymore. Not that I really could,
because I am just one person, and love is different for everyone. People always ask: “What does
pansexual mean?” Sorry, are you asking me? How the hell should I know? I am just making this up as
I go. You know… as you do in life.
There are brands that sell merch for the LGBTQ+ community with fun emojis. The P usually gets a pan
or – my personal favorite – a stack of pancakes. Can I get behind that? Yummy… I mean, yes. Do I
identify with pancakes? Not really?

Honestly, I haven’t got a clue what the P exactly means. But I guess that’s the point. We’re all just
trying to figure ourselves out, aren’t we? We’re all just trying to make sense of our feelings. And
we’re all going to come to a different conclusion. But we’re also all just people that fall in love with
people. And if you can see the beauty in that, I guess that means… you’ve won?
So, what does the P mean for me? Possibilities? Pressure? Or just pancakes? Guess, I’ll find out…

By Louisa Kohnert