Some of the most common micro-aggressions that pansexual and panromantic people face are the jokes and critiques that claim that these are not real or valid identities.
This is an act of erasure that, while on the surface may seem harmless, can lead to much more dangerous implications. One of the reasons for this is because these identities have not been given the same level of representation in our media.
Seeing yourself represented authentically in media, whether it be books, tv shows, films, etc., can have an incredible impact on not only your own sense of self and self-worth, but also on how other people view you.
For people who are rarely represented in media, such as pansexual and panromantic people, society is taught that they are at best secondary characters limited by stereotypical attributes, and at worst that they do not exist at all.
To work against these ideas, young people from our Q42 group helped compile a list of their favourite pan characters in recognition of Pan Visibility Day (celebrated in May).
While these characters may not be real, pan identities are. This media promotes to lgbtq+ and straight and cisgender people alike that pan people not only exist, but can exist in a variety of unique ways. Here is the list the Q42 Project came up with:
Husk - Hazbin Hotel
Husk is an ill-tempered anthropomorphic cat and the front desk clerk and bartender at the Happy Hotel. The Happy Hotel is run by Charlie, the princess of Hell, and Alastor, a powerful radio demon who seems to have a long history with Husk.
Rick Sanchez - Rick and Morty
While he never explicitly defines his sexual orientation, in Season 2 it is revealed that Rick had a relationship with a hive-mind named Unity. Rick dates a variety of people and species throughout the series, emphasizing his interest in people’s personalities over their genders.
Brook Soso - Orange is the New Black
Soso is a former inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary, the primary setting of this dramedy. She is known for being principled and passionate, but above all talkative. She describes herself as liking people, not genders.
Deadpool - Deadpool
The anti-hero Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson, is a disfigured, foul-mouthed mercenary with immortality superpowers. Known for breaking the fourth wall and cracking a lot of jokes, Deadpool is described as having whatever sexual inclination he is feeling in any particular moment.
Rose Quartz - Steven Universe
Rose is the founder of the Crystal Gems, defenders of Earth against the colonizing Gem Homeworld. She has had romantic relationships with both men and women, before giving up her physical form to become the protagonist, Steven Universe.
David Rose - Schitt's Creek
Owner of Rose Apothecary, David is a sarcastic, flamboyant and dramatic former gallerist who moves to Schitt’s Creek with his family when they lose their fortune. In the heart-warming episode 10 of season 1, he describes his sexual orientation with a wine metaphor; being "into the wine and not the label". The show's cast and creators later marched in Pride Parades sporting t-shirts with the now-famous slogan.