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Content warning: mentions of homophobia 

I am pansexual! 

It feels so good to say that. I have been through a journey the past five years of my life to get to this point. I am overwhelmingly proud and happy that I feel comfortable with sharing this intimate part of myself in such an official way. I also wanted to share what the past five years of my life entailed, and what my sexuality has done for me.

So as a precursor, pansexuality is a sexual identity in which you have no preference in a partner based on their sexual or gender identities. Many times people may confuse this with bisexuality; however, bisexuality is when you’re attracted to more than one gender.

History

Okay, now that we’ve got that all sorted out let’s get into my history with the LGTBQIA+ community. In the seventh and eighth grades, I was a part of a huge 7-10 person friend group. Throughout those two years, many of them came out as bisexual, gay, lesbian, and trans. Amanda, my best friend who I have known for 8 years now, was actually one of the first in the group to come out as a lesbian. In the town we grew up in, there were many homophobic and racist people who definitely would commit a hate crime. Luckily, I never had a personal experience with one of those people, but the area did make me nervous for my friends. Unfortunately, because of the town, I did not know anything about the gays and it wasn’t a topic my parents would bring up. I never really felt like I was anything outside of straight, so I just kind of lived my life and had my friends teach me about the LGBTQIA+ community. I was actually introduced to Rupaul’s Drag Race through those friends (which sent me into a whole thing but we’ll talk about that later). 

 

High School Era

Freshman year of high school hit and everything changed. My friend group split up and we were in a whole new school with scary older kids. I stayed close friends with Amanda, and we found our own little group of people. We were kind of your traditional “weirdos.” We all sat in the hallways at lunch and were weeaboos and could not function without Tumblr. One day, I was walking to my theatre class when the choir door swung open, and I saw her for the first time. It was exactly like the slo-mo scenes in movies where the main couple meet and it’s love at first sight. I had no idea who she was but I was in love and decided that afternoon that I was bisexual. Now, the rest of this part through my sophomore year is horrifically cringey and I cannot physically type out all of the awkward gay things I did so I will sum it up. Didn’t work out with that first girl, or the second one. I cannot believe the things I said in some of my classes. I was edgy, used Tumblr too much, and became the typical theatre and choir kid.

OKAY. I can breathe now. So Rupaul’s Drag Race was shown to me in eighth grade. I was obsessed immediately. Amanda and I actually started going to drag shows in Denver, so we got to meet icons like Kim Chi, Katya, Pearl, Thorgy Thor, and a bunch of other wonderful queens. Our first drag show was when we met Katya, and we made these rainbow flower crowns for the queens. Katya posted a picture wearing it on her Instagram so my fame was sealed that very night. I got to see such a vibrant side of the gay community, and I am so thankful for what I experienced at these drag shows. Unfortunately, my father decided to become increasingly homophobic and told my mom that she couldn’t take me and Amanda to shows anymore. I was devastated. At the same time, I was questioning if I was asexual and if bisexuality really fit me; not to mention that I was yelled at for wanting to go to Miles McKenna’s stage show when he identified with they/them pronouns. Sophomore year to junior year was very not fun.

I spent a lot of time thinking and learning about more labels and identities to try and find what fit me.

Another term definition for you: asexual refers to someone who does not feel sexual attraction towards others, and for me, this also meant no sexual interactions while in a relationship. For a good year, I identified as asexual until I started dating my ex-boyfriend and suppressed the idea of being asexual because I thought that identity would complicate things too much. Even now I still think about re-adopting that identity, but who knows? 

The years kept passing and I couldn’t find something that was really me. Eventually, I came across a post on Tumblr about different identities and their flags, and one of them was pansexuality. Honestly, I really liked the colors of the flag so I was intrigued. I looked into the definition and that was it. I loved that it reflected my feelings of not wanting factors like gender identity to keep me from finding someone I truly love. From then on, so late junior year, I was pansexual. Since then, I have been feeling great with that label.

 

Present

There are always horrible people in the world though, so coming out has been the new challenge. I off-handedly or accidentally came out to the majority of my friends. I definitely hung out with people who did not care about me too much, so when I would tell them, everyone thought it would be so hilarious to joke about me dating pans. Cooking pans. There were some french bread jokes too, but mainly the kitchen appliance ones were popular. So that was not fun to deal with constantly from many of the people I was friends with.  

I also don’t think I’m ever going to come out to my parents. Our family has been through a lot, and I have a complicated relationship especially with my parents, and right now, coming out is just not in the plan. I don’t think they would kick me out, but we would fight. I’m thinking one day I’ll just bring my partner home for the holidays and deal with it then. I am hopeful that one day I’ll be able to tell them without fearing for my life, but it’s also been good for me to come to terms with the fact that may never occur. 

I know we ended on a bit of a sad note, but I really am happy with being pansexual and living my life in the LGTBQIA+ community. I don’t have any regrets, except for the things I did freshman year. I will NEVER live them down, but other than that, I like me. I’m proud of me. I hope other people are also proud of themselves for having the courage to live authentically. Sexuality is a big and scary thing, but tackling it feels so good and freeing. 

Kass Ricketson is a Civil Engineering Technology major and a Musical Theatre Performing Arts Scholar at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She plans to graduate in 2025 through the CET Honors program, obtaining minors in Film Studies and Sustainable Infrastructure Design. When Kass is not on the streets fighting for justice, she can be found at a local cafe with her close friends or singing her heart out to Broadway tunes. Her passion is sharing vibrant stories that hopefully encapsulate the uniqueness of an individual's life.
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