Janelle Monáe Came Out As Pansexual In 'Rolling Stone,' But What Does The Term Mean?

"I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

The internet was abuzz yesterday after Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual in a Rolling Stone cover story. Many celebrated alongside the singer — who said she identifies as a "queer Black woman in America" — but her story also inspired others to educate themselves by looking up the term Monáe has used to describe herself.


"Being a queer Black woman in America," the outspoken 32-year-old said in the article with both a breath and a pause, "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker."

The "PYNK" songstress clarified that she first identified as bisexual on her journey of self-discovery "but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, those are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."

According to Merriam-Webster, searches for "pansexual" rose 11,000 percent after the interview went live. It defines the term, which came around in the early 20th century with a slightly different definition, as: "of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation."

Fans have been applauding Monáe ever since the interview — and, to be honest, really since dropping the first tracks off Dirty Computer — for not only being open about who she really is but also for explaining that her coming to this conclusion after looking within herself. In the end, she is using her story to hopefully help others, and aiding in people understanding the LGBTQ spectrum a little better.

"I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being themselves, to know that I see you," Monáe said about the new album, out today, and dedicating it to them. "This album is for you. Be proud."

Cover image credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock


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