In a stunning announcement that will likely shock no one who's seen her vagina pants music video, Janelle Monáe appeared on the latest issue of Rolling Stone — and came out as pansexual. For anyone familiar with the singer's music, you might not be surprised to hear her come out as queer. However, not many of us are familiar with the term "pansexual." What exactly does this term mean, and what does it mean for Monáe to come out?
In a revealing interview with the magazine during which the endlessly innovative star finally opened up about her true self, Monáe first came out as a flawed, messy, flesh-and-blood 32-year-old human being and not the "alien from outer space/The cybergirl without a face" that she had claimed to be over the last decade's worth of albums, videos, concerts and even interviews. But she also came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ (and P) community.
"Being a queer black woman in America," she started, "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker." Initially, she identified as bisexual, but later realized: "But then later I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."
So what exactly is pansexuality, and how does it differ from bisexuality? For an answer, we turned to Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO. A pansexual is "anyone attracted to people of all genders or sexes, or regardless of sex or gender," she told USA Today in 2016. This means that a pansexual person could be attracted to someone who is straight or gay, just as a bisexual person, but also may be attracted to transgender people, gender neutral individuals (who go by the terms "ze" or "zir"), those who are androgynous or intersex and more.
For people who identity as pansexual, this means that they are attracted "to anyone, no matter their sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, everything" as Jazz Jennings, a transgender teenage woman, told told Cosmo in 2015.
Although Monáe doesn't define what pansexuality means to her in the Rolling Stone interview, she does mention wanting to be a role model for anyone struggling with their sexuality.
"I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you," she said. "This album is for you. Be proud."