Bella Thorne came out as pansexual in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday. When host Juju Chang asked her about coming out as bisexual on Twitter in 2016, Thorne corrected her. "I realized recently that I'm actually pansexual, and I didn't know that,” Thorne said. “Somebody explained thoroughly what that is. I am pan.”
Asked to define pansexuality, Thorne said, “You like beings. You like what you like. Doesn't have to be a girl, or a guy, or a he, a she, a they, or this or that. It's literally, you like personality, you just like a being."
Thorne’s definition is pretty spot-on: GLAAD describes someone who is pansexual as “A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity.” In contrast, GLAAD’s definition of someone who is bisexual is “A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender.” In other words, pansexuality is attraction regardless of gender, and bisexuality is attraction to more than one gender.
The number of people who identify as pansexual has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to growing awareness of the term. The Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report found that 14% of LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-17 identify as pansexual, compared to 34% who identify as bisexual and 37% who identify as gay or lesbian. In HRC’s first youth survey in 2012, only 7% identified as pansexual.
Thorne follows in the footsteps of other pansexual celebrities including Janelle Monae, Miley Cyrus, and Brendon Urie, who all offered definitions and explanations of pansexuality when they came out. Monae famously described herself as “a free-ass motherf*cker.” Urie put it as, “If a person is great, then a person is great. I just like good people, if your heart's in the right place. I'm definitely attracted to men. It's just people that I am attracted to."