Despite the fact that the term is steadily gaining popularity, pansexuality is still vastly misunderstood.
So what is pansexual?
According to google, pansexual is "not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity." I was pretty impressed that google even defined the term, and it's accurate! Another way of describing pansexual, though increasingly less common, is 'gender blind'. While this term is helpful as it indicates that we don't care about gender, it can also invalidate people's feelings as it sounds as if we are overlooking their gender (which is particularly important if they are non-binary/genderqueer/trans). Pansexual was settled on as the term to use, because 'pan' meaning 'all' indicates no particular preference.
Well, what if I like all genders but I have a preference for a particular one?
In this instance, the term you use is up to you (if you want to use one at all!) but I'll provide a few common examples for this case.
1. Pansexual: yep! You can still use this term! It's quite broad in its meaning, so you can still like all genders while still having a preference.
2. Omnisexual: this term was originally coined to mean specifically 'like pansexual but with a preference', however it's use has decreased over time.
3. Queer: the ultimate umbrella term! Originally used as an insult, and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community (that's the Q ), queer essentially encapsulates any sexuality that isn't straight.
I think I'm pansexual, but I prefer to use the label bisexual. Is this okay?
Absolutely! I myself have come out to many friends as bisexual, despite being pan, because it's so much easier to explain. At a stressful time, such as coming out to someone, it's okay not to want to explain a whole sexuality that they've probably never heard of. Further, the two are very similar, and fit under the same umbrella term of 'liking more than one gender'.