With the rise of acceptance and representation in the media of queer identities, people are able to find themselves in the everyday. Despite this advancement, there are some lesser-known identities that those both in and out of the community do not know about.
Through celebrities, activists, and changes in dating norms, it’s easy to see these lesser-known identities in before your eyes without even realizing it. These are eight of the identities you may not know about.
Pansexuality is the romantic and/or sexual attraction to a person regardless of sex or gender identity. Pansexuality is often confused with bisexuality. The two are distinctly different in that bisexuality means the attraction to your own gender as well as the opposite gender.
People have commented that bisexuality inherently holds a bias against those who do not fit the traditional binary.
In response, many people have begun to adopt pansexuality as a part of their identity and modify the definition of bisexuality to “liking two or more genders”.
There are several out and proud pansexual celebrities whose identities get glossed over. Singers Miley Cyrus and Janelle Monáe, as well as famed drag queen, Courtney Act, are all pansexual. Much of the news around this identity is more so about what it is than anything else.
Asexuality is when you do not feel sexual attraction towards others. Those who also experience a significant lack of sexual feelings often consider themselves asexual. Asexual people can and often do have romantic feelings toward others despite not having sexual feelings towards their partner. There are sub-classes of asexuality including demisexuality, which is the need for emotional/mental attraction to have sexual attraction.
Tim Gunn of project runway, acclaimed artist, Edward Gorey, and asexual advocate, David Jay, are just a few of several notable people who identify as asexual. The news around asexuality varies between the importance of inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community for those who identify as asexual, how to navigate relationships as an asexual, and the spectrum of asexuality.
Polyamory is the practice of having two or more intimate relationships, with the consent and knowledge of all partners involved. This is different from an open relationship because you don’t have just one main partner and then have sexual relationships on the side. You are romantically involved with several people in polyamory. It can happen that there are shared partners; for example, a “throuple”. However, it is not always this way.
Drag queen, Courtney Act, actor, Ezra Miller, and the infamous Hugh Hephner are just a few celebrities who openly practice polyamory. Not so shockingly, a lot of the news around polyamory is about how to navigate these types of relationships and what happens when children are brought into a situation where their parents are polyamorous.
Intersex people have the sexual characteristics of both male and female bodies. These characteristics can include chromosomes, sex hormones, and genitals. These characteristics can vary greatly from person to person. Intersex people were once referred to as hermaphrodites, which is now considered an outdated and often offensive term.
Intersex people face a great deal of discrimination from birth, leading to many of them being killed at a young age.
Also, they are given medical treatment from a young age to “normalize” their image to fit the traditional gender binary.
Heiress and socialite, Lady Colin Cambell, Australian film-maker, Phoebe Hart, and American activist and artist, Pidgeon Pagonis, are all famed intersex people. Some radical news around the intersex identity is how Kenya has included it on it’s latest census and how India has banned unnecessary surgery on intersex children, with the UK soon to follow.
Gender exists on a spectrum. It goes from men/masculine to women/feminine. People who are genderfluid feel freedom in being able to express their identity on all points of this spectrum.
They desire the ability to be flexible about their gender identity and expression. This can change several times over the span of their life. Also, they can express several aspects of masculinity and femininity at the same time.
Singer, Sam Smith, Ruby Rose of Orange Is the New Black, and drag queen, Violet Chachki, all identify as genderfluid.
To be genderqueer, more often known as being nonbinary, means that a person does not feel attached to the societal norms of their biological sex. While this can be anywhere from behaviors, feelings, and even ways they are expected to look, for genderqueer and nonbinary folk, it specifically rates to gender identity.
These members of the queer community can have these shared umbrella terms to describe wide variations in identity, to include not fitting into the gender binary, or identifying as male and female at the same time.
Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye, actor, Lachlan Watson of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and rapper Roes (formerly known as Angel Haze) all identify as non-binary.
Much of the news around genderqueer and non-binary folk are shared with those who identify as genderfluid. It seems to be all about fashion, healthcare, and education of these identities. In addition, hateful rhetoric used to mock those who fall under these categories (i.e. Piers Morgan).
Polysexuality is often seen as the middle ground between bisexuality and pansexuality. It is the attraction to some but not all genders. For example, a person can be attracted to women and nonbinary/genderqueer folk but not be attracted to men.
There appears to be little to no out celebrities in regards to polysexuality. However, given that we are still in talks as to the difference between pansexuality and bisexuality, I’m sure in the near future there will be a few famous faces to spread knowledge of the identity.
All news regarding polysexuality is based on explaining the differences between bisexuality, pansexuality, and polysexuality.
Those who identify as aromantic do not experience romantic attraction or experience them very seldom. It is, to simplify the explanation, the complete flipside of asexuality.
People who identify as aromantic are often criticized for being “heartless robots” and even called sociopaths for their lack of emotion.
This is a huge stigma against aromantic people. They very much feel emotion, just not in a romantic context.
There are currently no openly aromantic celebrities, but it’s speculated that famed scientist, Nikolai Tesla, was aromantic. There is also very little news surrounding the identity, aside from what it is and fighting stigmas. While this isn’t a comprehensive guide to modern sexual and gender identity, it’s a good start. It’s so important to keep pushing for representation and education whether you belong to one of these identities or not.