In a view of the world that dates back to rather earlier times, there are Men and Women.
Some Men like Women and some Women like Men: Heterosexuals.
And some Men like Men and some Women like Women. That is, Gay and Lesbian people.
Some men like both Men and Women, and some Women like both Men and Women. These are Bi people.
Now some people have come to consider there to be more than two genders. For Male to Female to be a spectrum rather than an either/or matter. For people to have the right to choose gender expression as they please. That some people are Trans, Intersex, or Questioning, or Queer or simultaneously having more than one gender, or having a gender that is time-dependent. Some such matters are known as gender fluidity.
There are then people who like people of further genders, people with gender on a spectrum, people with multiple genders, Trans people, Intersex people, Questioning people...
1) Some people are attracted to a subset of such.
2) And some to any such.
3) Some people consider who they find attractive on a person to person basis, regardles of whether they are Men, Women, Intersex, Trans, Queer, Gender-fluid...
4) And some consider their sexual orientation to be fluid or time-dependent.
Each of 1), 2), 3), 4), and no doubt a wider range of personal stances are, or have elements of, Pan.
So, Pan is a highly inclusive orientation. Much as Bi is in a world that conceptualizes in terms of Male or Female.
One way in which this is relevant is that some prejudices that affect Bi people also affect Pan people.
No, being Pan does not have anything to to do with a person being greedy, or unfaithful, or undecided, or 'not a proper X' for whatever X (like the old-fashioned slur that 'your being Bi means that you're not a 'proper' Gay person'.
No, being Pan does not mean being 'easy' or 'agreeing to sleep with anyone'.
Pan does not mean 'having little or no self control'.
Pan also does not mean ‘chaser’, or objectifying gender non-conforming people merely as a fetish rather than as a complete person in their own right.
Pan does not in any way imply being into illegal or non-consensual activities; Pans often define as being able to love or feel attraction to whoever, within the bounds of what is consensual or legal.
Pans are not into kitchen utensils, or goats or other mischieveous mythological caprine entities, or Tinkerbell, or Captain Hook ;)
Pans are, quite simply, a particularly tolerant and accepting people.
Pans may experience mononormative prejudices and panphobia. Mononormativity also affects Bi people, and some aspects of panphobia are similar to those of biphobia.
In making this page, we are not implying that Pan is, as an orientation, ‘better’ than Straight or Gay or Bi or Ace or any other orientation. People who are not attracted to certain or all gender presentations are not ‘closed-minded’ because of it.
There is a very distinct and important difference between not being attracted to Trans people and being Transphobic, just as there is an important difference between being Straight and being Homophobic, and Aces certainly don’t ‘hate everyone else who isn’t them’!
Some people may consider themselves to be attracted to all gender presentations but still define themselves as Bi rather than Pan – this is obviously fine too.
A society which accepts Trans, Intersex and Queer people had better accept those who love and are attracted to these people, among others.
Sexual orientation actually has little to do with primary sexual characteristics (i.e. what you were born with down there) and most everything to do with secondary sexual characteristics (body hair, body fat distribution, breasts, hips, muscles, etc…) which often change as a person goes through a gender transition. Thus e.g. Straight men often find themselves attracted to Trans women.
In the past and still today, this fact has combined with Transphobia (“I consider this Trans woman to really be a man, and so by being attracted to her that makes me Gay”) and Homophobia (“Being Gay is bad, and it’s her fault for making me Gay”) to drive much hatred and even violence against Trans people from prospective partners.
Having a visible Pan community has the positive side effect of providing a space where gender nonconforming people can look for partners without fear of these types of prejudices being held up against them.
It is far from a given that Trans people date other Trans people. Various other peoples date Trans, Non-binary, Intersex and Gender-fluid people, including Pans.
Other cases include, say, Straight or Gay people who nonetheless are okay with dating someone who is binary Trans, accepting them as their true gender. (e.g. straight women dating Trans men).
While neither Bi nor Pan people are necessarily Poly, a few are. And not all Poly people are Bi or Pan, either.
Pan people and Poly people may on some occasions be particularly accepting of what Ace and/or Aro people are OK with.
In brief, Pan people often get on well with a wide range of other peoples, and can make great friends, allies or partners for a wide range of other peoples :)
Be thoughtful toward Pans, for quite a few such have been mistreated due to not being a well known and accepted people so far.
Some Pan links may follow :) The first such has now been recommended :)
Another not-well-considered problem with the traditional sexual orientation definitions (defining your orientation using the gender(s) you are attracted to against your own gender) is that it leaves Nonbinary people who aren’t Bi or Pan with no language to use without misgendering themselves. If a Nonbinary person is attracted only to Women, are they Straight or Gay?
A possible solution to this problem is via use of Androsexual (attracted to male secondary sexual characteristics) and Gynesexual (attracted to female secondary sexual characteristics), along with Ambisexual (attracted to one, the other, or a mix of the two) and Ceterasexual (attracted specifically to a mix of the two).