"Obviously people haven’t heard of being pansexual": pansexual peoples' experiences of pansexuality: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Haylock, Charlotte (2021) "Obviously people haven’t heard of being pansexual": pansexual peoples' experiences of pansexuality: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

People who are attracted to more than one gender are often grouped together in research under the bisexual umbrella (Flanders, 2017). This has been valuable when investigating issues potentially faced by these groups, such as erasure and poor health outcomes, as well as in the context of bisexual activism. However, grouping people under the bisexual umbrella may carry the risk of overlooking individual differences and findings suggest differences between bisexual and pansexual participants, suggesting a need for further knowledge about pansexuality.

This study aimed to gain a rich understanding of the ways in which pansexual people experience pansexuality. It also sought to contribute to the health professions by offering some insights into what may possibly be experienced by pansexual people.

Semi structured interviews were completed with six pansexual people. The data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)

Three superordinate themes (The pansexual label as an anchor; feeling ‘boxed in’; and a label that defies labels) and ten subthemes emerged.

The findings indicated the concept of feeling ‘boxed in’ as central to all of the superordinate themes in the study. A societal lack of awareness of both pansexual as an emerging, less ‘mainstream’ sexuality, and of gender identity outside the binary led to the strategic use of the bisexual label in order to manage stigma and invalidation. However, participants felt that the bisexual label was incongruent with their felt sense of identity because they favoured a label that explicitly acknowledged gender diversity. This led to a feeling of being erased. The current study provides a foundational knowledge of the under researched area of pansexuality. Future research could aim to further explore the impact of intersectionality, and experiences of healthcare settings for pansexual people.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: pansexuality; pansexual people; pansexuals; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 06 May 2021 14:02
Last Modified: 06 May 2021 14:02
URI: https://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/6573


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