“Pansexual” Rises On National Coming Out Day

More people posted about "pansexual" than "lesbian" or "transgender"

A transgender person at the Korea Queer Festival 2015 — REUTERS
Oct 12, 2015 at 8:07 AM ET

On National Coming Out Day 2015, it appeared that more people came out on Twitter and Instagram as pansexual or bisexual than as lesbian or transgender, a Vocativ analysis showed.

Vocativ used our technology to analyze more than 329,597 Twitter and Instagram posts from October 11 about National Coming Out Day, revealing that more than 3,600 of them — including retweets — mentioned the word “pansexual.” The term was posted more than “lesbian” or “transgender.”

Pansexual, which means someone whose experience of attraction is not limited by biological sex or gender identity, is one of the fastest growing queer identities used by youth online, especially among American teens and girls. The rise of the term comes as sexual identity (and the concept of identity itself) has become part of the American national discourse like never before.

More Kids Are Coming Out Online Before They Do IRL

Many others on Sunday posted about being bisexual. Among 43,369 posts about National Coming Out Day that specifically included “I” and “I am,” “bisexual” was the second most posted descriptor after “gay,” which was used broadly by LGBT supporters and those coming out alike. An estimated 1,431 Twitter and Instagram posts mentioned “bisexual” with either “I” or “I am.” “Pansexual” was posted with “I” or “I am” third most often.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that lesbian or transgender people are suddenly less prominent in queer networks. It does, however, indicate that a growing number of young people who could have previously been overlooked in queer representation because they also date members of the opposite sex are now using social media to broadcast their queerness and celebrate the growing diversity of queer sexuality.

Several hundred posts from National Coming Out Day also used the hashtag #questioning, with young people sharing that they are exploring their own gender identity. Many others posted #transisbeautiful, which was among the post popular hashtags on Sunday.