Janelle Monáe Is Teaching The World What “Pansexual” Actually Means

"I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker".

Janelle Monáe

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Recently singer and actress Janelle Monáe came out as a queer woman in a wonderful Rolling Stone interview, confirming what many people have long suspected (and hoped) of the pop icon.

“Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker,” she is quoted, which is an utterly beautiful turn of phrase. “Free-ass motherfucker” is a serious goal.

Monáe also went on to specify that she’s identifying specifically as “pansexual”.

“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.”

As a consequence, and because Janelle Monáe can’t help but be a trend setter, the Merriam-Webster dictionary announced that their top search term after the interview was released was “pansexual”, as people went to discover exactly what it meant.

Lookups of the term apparently rose 11,000% after the Rolling Stone interview.

Pansexual is defined as relating to, or characterised by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.

A pansexual person is someone who is attracted to people of all genders — not just cisgender and transgender men and women, but nonbinary people, gender-nonconforming people, and anyone whose genders fall outside of the gender binary.

It kinda fits in the same context and community as bisexuality, but allows its user the freedom to broaden the definition of who they are attracted to.

Janelle Monáe’s new album Dirty Computer can be described as a queer anthem, and one of the best ways to celebrate her official coming out is to go and listen to it.

“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 says in Rolling Stone.  “This album is for you. Be proud.”

In fact, you can watch the short film she released as a companion to the album, which serves as a big concept music video.