Mary Gonzalez: Taking on the Electorate, Taking on Pansexuality

by Intern Stephanie

Mary Gonzalez won the El Paso, Texas, primary in May and since she ran uncontested, she will become the representative for her district.  However, she also last week received the title of being the first open “pansexual” to take office.  Rather than focusing on her ideals, politics, or pledges, her pansexuality- in conservative Texas of all places- is placing Gonzalez in the limelight, raising a lot of eyebrows, and sure, cowboy hats.

Unsurprisingly, Gonzalez’s sexuality has been questioned and nit-picked since she came out as bisexual when she was 21.  Does her sexuality impact her ability to make rationale decisions and/or hinder her ability to properly serve her constituents?  Of course not!  But if we’re going to relentlessly hound Hillary Clinton for her wardrobe or her haircuts or for PMS-ing in the White House, it’s only fair that we, too, hound Gonzalez and demand to know exactly whom Gonzalez is attracted to, and of course, the reasons for such attraction.  That’s democracy at its finest; that’s the definition of fairness!  It would be “controversial” if Gonzalez were simply a lesbian, but that would be too easy! She is pansexual, embarking down a road of sexual ambiguity, of multiplicity, of complexity, of diversity.  So, what is pansexuality?  As Gonzalez told the Dallas Voice,

“As I started to recognize the gender spectrum and dated along the gender spectrum, I was searching for words that connected to that reality, for words that embraced the spectrum,” she said. “At the time I didn’t feel as if the term bisexual was encompassing of a gender spectrum that I was dating and attracted to.”

Of course anyone who has ever taken a sociology class knows that gender is a social construct and that sexuality is a continuum.  Sexuality is fluid, it is dynamic, and arguably most importantly, it is individual and personal.  I welcome the inherent fluidity of sexuality and I applaud Gonzalez for being so candid about her own sexuality’s vitality.  Bisexuality is a term, or a lifestyle/orientation, that most people are familiar with at this point; while perhaps pansexuality is more niche.  But it’s about time that we take off those heteronormative blinders and embrace the fact that sometimes labels do not suffice; that sometimes attraction cannot be bound; that sometimes we come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and that the human race is at its best when we meld together into a sundry peoples.  And we are at our worst when we are nosy and pry into the households and bedrooms of others. We’re even worse off when we feel we are entitled to do so.

While I’m no expert on sexuality- just sex, ha!- I am quite certain that whomever Gonzalez decides to court, she will be a successful public servant. And if she’s not, I am quite certain it won’t be due to her sexual orientation.

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