Finding my pansexual identity


I had my first crush on a boy when I was 2 years old.

I had my first crush on a girl when I was 5 years old.

I had my first crush on an individual who identifies as transgender when I was 19 years old.

I identify as pansexual. My chosen definition of pansexuality comes from Oxford Dictionaries: “Not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.”

To me, being pansexual means I’m open to feeling attraction to any person, regardless of their gender identity- man, woman, transgender, bigender, pangender or otherwise. This means my dating pool is much larger than most people’s, score!

How my identity has been misunderstood

Throughout my dating experiences, I have only had serious relationships with men. This leads others to believe I am heterosexual and question my pansexual identity. People have a hard time understanding the difference between actions and relationships with individuals versus a person’s sexual identity as a whole.

Growing up, I was a tomboy. Though I had my fair share of “boyfriends” since the first grade, I also felt an attraction toward girls. I didn’t realize how I truly identified until I came to Chico State.

How Chico State has influenced my identity

My journey of shaping and identifying my sexuality happened somewhat rapidly. I came to Chico State as a sophomore and immediately changed my major after discovering what I truly wanted to learn, study, write and discuss: gender and sexuality through multicultural and gender studies.

Through my classes, I discovered the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center community, which had similar goals and passions as myself.

The students involved in GSEC are incredibly passionate, opinionated, caring, strong and compassionate individuals who speak loudly and proudly about who they are and what their organization is about.

Getting to know these individuals and seeing how they embraced their identities empowered me to recognize and share my own thoughts and feelings.

A year ago, I would not have been able to tell my friends and family that I identity as pansexual, let alone thousands of readers. Through meeting other individuals at Chico State who shared similar experiences, I gained the confidence to truly be myself.

Thoughts for our journey this semester

Topics of gender, sex and sexuality permeate our lives tons of times, and yet they are not often discussed seriously. I want us to question, think, ponder, discover, change our views and be open to new ways of thinking and behaving.

Please do send me your comments and questions so we can collaborate and guide our discussion in a direction that is most interesting and informative for you.

For further interest in sex, gender, gender identity and sexuality, click here for a wonderful video by John Green.

Jessica Candela can be reached at [email protected] or @_JessicaCandela on Twitter.