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Embracing Pansexuality: My Journey to Self-Acceptance and Pride

For Pride this year, I would like to reflect on my experience and hopefully empower others to feel comfortable in themselves.

I come from a small town where being anything other than ‘the norm’ was not acceptable and being gay was not something to shout about. So, when I came out to my friends at the age of sixteen, they were all a little shocked, to say the least.

I identified for a long time as a bisexual woman, but now as I grow older I realise that I am, in fact, pansexual. Some people, even within the gay community, have asked me questions like “Doesn’t that mean you are attracted to inanimate objects?” or “Does that mean you fancy everyone?”. Such statements usually come along with being pansexual, and looking back, maybe identifying as bisexual made it much easier for everyone else. It's not who I am though, and it's important to me that people understand the difference.

For those still asking what pansexual means here’s the dictionary definition:

“Relating to, or characterised by, sexual or romantic attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. Pansexual people are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender, sex, or presentation”

To explain this in terms of my own identity, is that I am attracted to the person and not any of their labels. For those who have watched the TV programme ‘Schitts Creek’, I will borrow their wine analogy, “I do drink red wine, but I also drink white wine, and I've been known to sample the occasional rosé, and a couple summers back I tried a merlot that used to be a chardonnay which got a bit complicated. I like the wine and not the label, does that make sense?”

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I know firsthand the challenges of navigating one’s personal identity in a world that still struggles with prejudice. Though I am married to a man, I am still very much part of the gay pride community and identify as a gay woman. It's a difficult balancing act between wanting people to know my full self and not wanting to expose myself to discrimination. I no longer have the same drive to ‘come out’ in the way that I did when I was younger. I still haven’t ‘come out’ to many of my family members (so surprise if you are reading this!) as it never comes up in conversation due to my being married to a man. I am still unsure of how many of them would react and this is part of the reason I haven’t shared it with them. I want to feel empowered to share my full self with them, but then gay prejudice does still exist, and I don’t want to expose myself to that again. It’s a difficult balancing act between wanting people to know, not wanting to be judged or ostracised, not being too in your face about it and not wanting to explain myself over and over again.

Thankfully, my work family at Penna is incredibly supportive and accepting of all aspects of my identity. I have never felt the need to hide or be "less" than my true self, and that's something I'm so grateful for. At Penna, we are a team of very diverse individuals and I love that no one is judged on any aspects of their normal daily lives.

Participating in Pride events is still important to me, as it acts as both a celebration of who I am and a reminder to never forget celebrating my true self. While I may not be out ‘loud and proud’ in every aspect of my life just yet, I am proud of my whole self in my own quiet way. One day, I hope to feel empowered to share my full self with everyone.

My hope is that by sharing my experience, I can empower others to embrace their true selves and educate those who may not fully understand what it means to be pansexual. Let's continue to reflect, empower, and unite this Pride season and beyond. #Pride2024

Zara Bruton is a Senior Researcher at Penna. To find out how Penna can assist you in your recruitment journey, get in touch with our team at


Zara Bruton, Senior Researcher

Zara Bruton

LinkedIn: Zara Bruton


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