I did not expect that in the days between #biweek and the @BECAUSEConf, a leading representative from a #bisexual organization would painfully erase #pansexual people and reignite the tired #bisexual vs. #pansexual label wars on social media. But here we are.
At this time, I think it is important that #bisexual leaders who organize #bisexual, #pansexual, #queer, #fluid and otherwise #nonmonosexual (sometimes known as "bi+") communities online and/or in person speak out to affirm that #pansexual people are valid.
Some suggestions about how to avoid causing pain regarding labels. First, if you don't use a label, don't define it. Not #pansexual? Don't define #pansexuality. Not #bisexual? Don't define #bisexuality. This places definitional autonomy where it belongs: w/ ppl who use the label.
This same principle applies to using label-negating language in label definitions, e.g., it's not great to say, "I identify as #pansexual because bi is binary." It's also not great to say, "I identify as #bisexual because bisexuality came first and pansexuality erases bi people."
Second, it is important to realize that labels both exist and function at both the individual and community levels. There's no one way to be #bisexual or #pansexual. There are as many ways to be #bi or #pan as there are #bi and #pan people in the world.
I have seen so much pain pour out of #bisexual and #pansexual people (especially on social media vs. in IRL settings) because - for example - bi people think the reason they are stigmatized is that other bi people use a different individual level definition for their bisexuality.
I've also seen a lot of pain when people who use different labels (e.g., one person identifies as #pan and another as #bi) give the *same* definition for how they describe their identities.
For years, I have seen both scenarios lead to #bisexual people telling other #bi people and #pansexual people telling other #pan people they are *wrong about how they define their identities.* Ditto for #bi people calling out #pan people, #pan people calling out #bi people, etc.
Let me say this clearly: No #bisexual or #pansexual person is wrong about how they define their identity 📢📢!

The stigma at the root of the hatred of #bi and #pan people comes not from our having different definitions of our labels, but from the larger heterosexist society.
Third, when developing community level definitions for #bisexuality and #pansexuality, it is important to be expansive to include the many definitions individual #bi and #pan people use to self-label.
Consistent with the principles of community and definitional autonomy, #bi+ orgs should be the go-to sources for community level definitions of #bisexuality and #pansexuality.
One of the common definitions of #bisexuality used by many #bi+ orgs (along with the one I use for myself as a #bi, #nonbinary, and #ace person) is actually the individual definition of @robynochs:
"I call myself #bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted romantically and/or sexually to people of more than gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree." - @robynochs
Fourth, it's important to remember many people identify with more than one bi+ label, such as #bisexual and #pansexual or #pansexual and #queer. While people who use multiple labels may have separate definitions for each, it's important to know they can co-exist in 1 person.
Finally, the best part of labels is the sense of joy, empowerment, and community they can bring. Why identify as #bi or #pan? Because it makes your heart happy. Because it helped you find a community. Because it makes you proud. Because it's part of what makes you *you.*
The idea that differing individual and/or community definitions of #bisexuality and #pansexuality is responsible for stigma against #bi and #pan people has no merit. Let's redirect energy spent on the #labelwars to where it belongs - fighting intersectional #biphobia & #panphobia

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More from @laurenbbeach

3 Sep 18
I looked up @lgbtmap's resources showing which states have passed bans against #conversiontherapy on the basis of sexual orientation for minors. The states are CA, WA, OR, NV, NM, IL, VT, NH, RI, CT, NJ, DE, and MD + D.C. lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/….
Here are the relevant portions of CA's law: "This bill would prohibit a mental health provider, as defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, with a patient under 18 years of age."
“Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation.
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