Did you know that May 24th is Pan (Pansexual and Panromantic) Day of Visibility? Well now you do! You ever noticed the P in the landscape of LGBTQIAPK+, and wondered about identity, experiences and their journeys? We did, and thought it is a good reason to bring a broader spectrum of visible and accessible pansexual persons and talk about their journey(s), how they came to identify with the label: pansexual, and what it really means!
The second in the series is Davis Broach.
Bio: Davis, originally from Washington, DC, is a holistic lifestyle and wellness counselor practicing for the past 3 years in Palolem, Goa. Having achieved success as an investment professional specializing in emerging markets and emerging economies, Davis came to a realization that financial success and happiness were not correlated, and restructured his life so he could move to India on a journey of self-discovery. Davis has studied Therapeutic Yoga, Tantric Yoga, Ayurveda and Medical Qi Gong and offers treatments that are geared toward the underlying causes of modern-age ailments through a therapeutic form of internal-external yoga that combines asana, pranayama, and meditation grounded in confidence, balance, endurance and strength. Davis, an avid reader and slight introvert, loves to travel all over the world, but for now focuses on all that India has to offer.
Gaysi: What does it mean to be pansexual?
Davis: The term “pansexual” is new to me, and while I would like to define the word for myself I cannot have it confine my identity. So, at the risk of being obtuse, I must say that it is: A non-exclusionary openness of the heart, mind and body.
In my adult life, I have never said I cannot be attracted to someone because of their skin tone, culture, religious beliefs, pay grade, etc. I don’t see why I should exclude someone based on their gender, identification, or their self-expression, and I certainly cannot exclude someone based on their preferences.
I enjoy life, and human expression in all its myriad ways, and yes, it’s true – humanity turns me on!
Gaysi: How did you start to identify as pansexual?
Davis: I always thought that I was bisexual because that’s the only word that seemed to fit. I have only recently heard and became comfortable with the term ‘pansexual’, and perhaps I had confused it with the term polyamorous in the past.
But when I look objectively at what I like say on Instagram – or when I swipe left or right – I see a range of feminine, masculine and everything in between. I especially like these wonderful and beautiful people that inhabit both spaces, and news flash – that is just about everyone! A wonderful aspect of humankind is that we all surpass these limits and don’t think as gay or straight, man or woman, but as a loving parent, a loving child, enthralled by nature or by money, etc. with all sorts of contradictions that blur the lines of the boxes we all seem so fond of. Being attracted is just a matter of a few preferences that are not gender related. So, I guess people call that pansexual.
Gaysi: What about that is a struggle for you? What is most exciting?
Davis: We all have struggles, and because I am a white male from a relatively open culture and family, I hesitate to stake a claim. But I do feel like a chameleon, after all, blending in and finding commonality is easier when your interests are so wide-ranging. But this is somewhat isolating; I find I engage with people on their terms, rather than indulging in mine. Some people gain a degree of solace through mutual identification and mutual interests, which are often only a sliver of my identification or interests. It may not seem like much of a struggle, but the rainbow coalition is in some ways meant to let people know they are not alone, that there is a support system, a sense of acceptance. Well, I still don’t feel I quite have that.
Another struggle is more personal, in relationships I often sense that my partners have been afraid that I am attracted to a wider range of people than any one person can fulfill, which may or may not be true – I don’t know yet – but it inhibits intimacy.
What is exciting? Well, that’s easy to answer – people are a beautiful expression of life, and the world is their canvas. I get to enjoy a world full of art and beauty. I’m jealous of me, sometimes.
Gaysi: Where does “pan” intersect with other elements of your identity? How does it function within your understanding of yourself?
Davis: As I sought my place in this world, I had a deep struggle with religion and spirituality, trying to understand how educated, wonderful, happy people share belief systems with people who do not readily appear to be educated, wonderful or happy. I spent approximately 2 years in an ashram in India where the guru, I should mention, never once mentioned sexuality to me, but encouraged me to listen to the guru within. I learned a lot about the purpose of life, which may not be the same for others, but for me is key – and that is to simply– know yourself and be yourself. I have some trouble doing that, so I admire it in others. The definitions of who you are and what you are supposed to be are all around you, all the time. Listening to the guru within turns me on. So, maybe I am inhibited in my own expression, or maybe I don’t have the same gifts or interests as people who paint their life on this canvas, but like an art patron in a gallery exhibition, I am here.
Gaysi: What kind of people have you been romantically involved with?
Davis: Unlike the most recent pseudo-example of pansexualism in modern culture like the film #Deadpool, I actively explore my pansexual attraction. It is not just an idea. I was married to a wonderful woman who was the penultimate of femininity with whom I would have otherwise been very happy has she been happy, and I had a difficult transition period when I learned to let her go. Since then, I have been mostly involved with people that vary in their gender identifications and expressions but were all assigned gender male at birth. I have also been with a few heterosexual women.
A funny side note from this experience: everyone loves these boxes and labels; gay men often have been judgmental of effeminate men, transgender women have often been judgmental of gender fluid men or those who do not completely identify as women, and most have judgments about those that identify themselves as top or bottom or versatile. The clamour for identity seems to create boxes and labels, which excludes rather than includes – and this is a bit isolating from my perspective. Of course, I love these individuals for their unique expression and not their preferences, but it seems everyone wants to put themselves and the rest of the world in some box! I am happy to visit these boxes and enjoy people as they are, but I keep looking for the person and not the box.
Gaysi: In your experience, how do people misunderstand pansexual persons? What are the common misperceptions?
Davis: I got it confused with polyamory. But these are surface level misunderstandings. Most people know and understand the term bisexual, and this is a good place to start.
I believe people fall across the spectrum of sexuality and there is nothing wrong with those that are not completely within one “category.” It may or may not be an exploration, or maybe a label such as heterosexual or homosexual feels best only once a chosen life partner determines the context of that relation.
Bisexuals are often thought of as “undecided” or “confused.” I mean, Trump clearly doesn’t think he’s a megalomaniac asshole, yet I clearly do, and he has his own value in this world as he is, regardless of my opinion. So, I say, fuck your boxes, your definitions, and your opinions! I’ll just continue to be myself, and please appreciate that I do the same for you.