Anyone can feel attached to or identify with a diversity of gender identities and/or sexual orientations. And as evermore definitions have been popularised over the years to embody the emotions and experiences of queer people, it can be hard to keep up.
If you are not totally absorbed in LGBTQ+ culture or the rainbow community, you may not appreciate these lesser-known sexual orientations and gender identities – most of which have a lack of representation in mainstream media.
One such term is pangender, so we are going to define and cover what does pangender mean, speak about the pangender pride flag, and then provide some tips to help you become a better ally to pangender people.
In this article we will cover...
What Does Pangender Mean?
Pangender is a gender identity that describes people who are comfortable with various types of gender labels. A pangender individual may identify with all the genders that they know. For example, if they know agender, nonbinary, or transgender, they identify with all these terms.
Keep in mind that just like all other gender identities, pangender individuals can choose to fluctuate between different identities over time. They can also choose to identify with one ‘’all-round” identity their entire life.
Pangender can be described as a type of multigender where someone experiences all the genders and is a nonbinary identity that refers to a diverse and significant number of genders in one individual that could be infinite.
A pangender could be fluid between these identities or they can experience them all at the same time. It is also possible for the gender(s) they experience to fluctuate. The term pangender is unspecific and expansive and could mean different things to the individual experiencing them.
Depending on the individual, pangender could mean:
- Someone who has genders that are too many to count or has a large number of them.
- Someone that’s all known genders (that they know).
- Someone who experience with gender goes beyond the known genders.
- Someone with infinite genders.
- Someone with an all-encompassing gender.
When pangender individuals refer to all genders, they mean genders that are in their life experience or culture. If there are genders outside their culture, pangender individuals can’t identify with them since they would require prior knowledge or a connection with that gender and it’s also not possible for someone to have experiences of all cultures within their life.
Alternatively, some pangender individuals may use the term to refer to not caring so much about gender or how other people view them.
What Does Pangender Flag Mean?
There are many different pride flags symbolizing most queer identities, so it should come as no surprise there is a flag for pangender people to proudly fly.
Pangendering, a Tumblr user, designed the pangender flag on January 28th, 2015. At the time, two flags were created and their colors has the same meaning. The colors of the pangender flags are bright. They represent the multiplicity of genders since white light is made up of all colors.
Yellow is for all genders that aren’t male or female, light red is for the transition to genders that are male or female, light pink is for a mix of male and female, and white is for a combination of all the genders.
Reddit user helpme0519 submitted an alternate pangender flag on September 28th, 2020. The flag has similar colors and meanings to the pansexual flag. Pink and blue represent the binary genders, yellow is for genders that aren’t within the binary, and white is for the peace or tranquility that comes with being accepting of all genders.
Pangender Pride Day
Education, visibility, commemoration, and appreciation are all critical in promoting global acceptance and acknowledgment of queer identities and queer folx in general. And from experience, we know it is easier for pangendered individuals to talk to friends and loved ones – and to feel the love – when a worldwide day for pangenders is observed. Not to mention it also helps foster awareness and increased sensitivities from society at large.
So, mark your calendar and do something special (even if it’s just a social media post!) for Pangender Pride Day next June 19th.
Other Pangender Information to Help You be a Better Ally
No pangender experience is identical to another. You can’t tell whether someone is pangender by looking at them, observing their personality, or their physical aesthetic. None of these characteristics can provide a clue as to how a person identifies, and this is as true for pangender individuals as it is for any gender or sexual orientation.
The first thing you should do as an ally to pangender people is to believe them when they tell you about their identity. Don’t try to argue them out of it or make the mistake of thinking you could know more about how they feel than they do. It could also help if you worked on your mindset. Working on your attitude means you challenge your concept of gender, sexuality, and sex.
After all, if you have any issues with understanding pangender people, the root cause is bound in your understanding of gender and sexuality – not theirs. Educating yourself (as you are by reading about what does pangender mean?) is an excellent first step to increase your awareness and not make your lack of knowledge in this area a burden on them.
There aren’t any explicit rules or guidelines, but here are some thoughts on how you can be a better straight ally and support a loved one as you discover what it means to be pangender.
Don’t make assumptions
The same as other sexualities and genders, there’s no one way to tell whether someone is pangender based on their physical experience. Remember also that coming out is a personal choice and it isn’t appropriate to ask someone what their gender or sexuality is.
They should have the freedom to come out to who they choose. When considering how to address someone, the best way to do it is to ask them about their preferred pronouns. Asking someone their preferred pronouns is an excellent way of respecting their identity, prevents the person in question from experiencing emotional distress, and promotes inclusivity.
Even so, it’s sometimes possible to pick out if someone is pangender when they do not have any qualms about being placed under different gender labels since they already identify with all of them. However, unless someone chooses to come out to you, you shouldn’t assume their gender.
This applies not only to pangender people but to those of other genders and sexualities.
Allow people to be who they want to be
Everyone should be able to choose what they want to identify as and who they want to be. To allow people to make their own decisions about whatever they are, you have to learn from your past mistakes and avoid getting defensive when someone calls you out on something you do or say.
It is also important that you avoid becoming part of the problem by educating yourself as much as you can.
It means a lot when you advocate for someone when they’re in a situation where they feel threatened or disrespected. Ask them how you can help in such situations. In addition, when someone comes out to you, allow them to enjoy a space where they don’t feel judged.
Coming out isn’t easy for everyone and some people may have developed trust issues after sharing such information with others.
Don’t limit them to one experience of gender
Just like all other identities, pangender people have different experiences of gender. There’s no one way to experience pangender and one person’s experience is likely different from another’s.
If you’ve heard one person’s story, don’t automatically assume that another pangender individual’s story will be the same. Remember that we all have different cultures and experiences in life, so what one person may have experienced with their gender might vary with someone else’s experience.
Introduce the topic to your workplace
More and more pangender people are coming out to live openly as their identity. As a society, we can do our part to ensure that everyone is welcome in our spaces. It would be best to seek gender-inclusive training in our businesses, schools, workplaces, and health institutions. This way, everyone learns how to treat pangender people with professionalism, courtesy, and respect.
Another way to be more inclusive is to explore your workplace policies and evaluate whether they are supportive of different gender expressions and identities.
Encourage your supervisors to update documents and forms that set queries for gender. Ask them to rethink the traditional dress codes that would reinforce gender stereotypes or that may limit pangender people from fully expressing themselves.