Pansexual meaning as 'Hunger Games' star Jena Malone embraces sexual fluidity

·5 min read
Jena Malone has opened up about her decision to come out as pansexual, pictured in July 2021. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
Jena Malone has opened up about her decision to come out as pansexual, pictured in July 2021. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Jena Malone has opened up about coming out as pansexual, sharing that it "felt so nice" to reveal her truth.

Last weekend the Hunger Games star, 37, gave an insight into her sexuality in an Instagram post shared to her 300,000 followers.

“I guess it felt like I was a heterosexual man in a woman’s body,” Jena Malone wrote in a lengthy statement.

Now, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter the actor has revealed a little more about her “sexual journey”, hinting she may regret not opening up sooner.

When asked how it felt to come out she replied: "It felt so nice. I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

“The sexual journey is so beautiful," she continued. "I mean, all of the identity journeys are so cool.

“I feel like I’m a little bit late to the game in being able to have less shame.”

Read more: Why Jake Daniels coming out as gay is so important for young queer people

Malone went on to say she has been "loving the process of learning more about myself and others".

"It’s a part of humanity now to have all these ceremonies of exclamation around coming out and renouncing [an identity] and celebrating that space for yourself," she added.

"It’s a really sweet, human experience. I love getting to learn more about myself no matter the age or my experience."

Jena Malone has said it 'felt so nice' coming out as pansexual, pictured in August 2022. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Jena Malone has said it 'felt so nice' coming out as pansexual, pictured in August 2022. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Read more: Celebrity coming out stories – eight of the most memorable

Malone isn't the only celebrity to open up about pansexuality recently.

Last year Demi Lovato revealed she is "proud' to be part of the LGBTQIA+ "alphabet mafia", after revealing that she identifies as pansexual.

Meanwhile in an interview with Variety, 29-year-old model, Cara Delevingne revealed she identified as pansexual, meaning that she’s attracted to all genders.

“I always will remain, I think, pansexual,” she said. “However one defines themselves, whether it’s ‘they’ or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ I fall in love with the person — and that’s that. I’m attracted to the person.”

Actor Bella Thorne told Good Morning America that after finding out about pansexuality, which does not consider sex or gender, she had a self realisation.

“I’m actually pansexual and I didn’t know that,” she explained. “Somebody explained to me really thoroughly what that is. You like beings. You like what you like. Doesn’t have to be a girl or a guy or a he or she or they or this or that. It’s literally you like personality. You just like a being.”

Demi Lovato has revealed she identifies as pansexual in a new interview, pictured in March 2021. (Getty Images for OBB Media)
Demi Lovato has revealed she identifies as pansexual in a new interview, pictured in March 2021. (Getty Images for OBB Media)

Musician Janelle Monáe also came out as pansexual in 2018, telling Rolling Stone: “I read about pansexuality​ ​and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that​ ​I identify with too. I’m open to learning​ ​more about who I am.”

Watch: Cara Delevingne never made 'conscious decision' to come out as pansexual

More recently Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrats MP, revealed she identifies as pansexual.

In an interview with the PinkNews website, Moran told how she had started a relationship with a woman, a development she described as “surprising” in terms of her sexual identity.

“It was really wonderful on the one hand, but also quite surprising for me in how I had identified before,” she told the publication.

“It wasn't really something I had done before or considered before, but sometimes when you meet the right person, it just kind of happens.”

Read more: Coming out as LGBTQ+: How to support someone

Layla Moran addresses supporters during Rally for the Future at Battersea Arts Centre on 09 November, 2019 in London, England. The Liberal Democrats set out vision to stop Brexit and announce plans to introduce free childcare from 9 months old as the party campaigns for the General Election 2019. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
MP Layla Moran identifies as pansexual, pictured in November 2019. (Getty Images)

Moran is the first known British politician to openly identify as pansexual.

Despite celebrities raising more awareness about pansexuality, many still don't fully understand what it means.

What is pansexuality?

The word ‘pansexual’ is derived from the Greek prefix pan, meaning “all”.

Often confused with bisexuality, pansexuality is where gender is not factored into attraction at all.

In contrast, those who identify as bisexual are attracted to both genders.

“While being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, being pansexual means being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender,” GLAAD, an organisation supporting LGBTQ+ representation in the media, explains on their website.

Read more: LGBTQ+ terms explained – how to get it right

Contrary to some beliefs, the term pansexual is, in fact, not a new term.

According to the charity Stonewall the word has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary since at least the early 1900s, and has been used in its current definition since at least the late 1960s.

"While LGBTQ+ people have long been using a range of different terms to describe their identities, we’re simply more aware of them now due to increasing social acceptance, as well as access to diverse experiences through the internet and social media," a blog post on the Stonewall website explains.

Asked to define her sexuality by PinkNews, Moran said: “Pansexuality, to me, means it doesn't matter about the physical attributions of the person you fall in love with, it's about the person themselves.

“It doesn't matter if they're a man or a woman or gender non-conforming, it doesn't matter if they identify as gay or not.

“In the end, these are all things that don't matter - the thing that matters is the person, and that you love the person.”