Mary Gonzalez of Texas is set to be the nation’s first openly pansexual elected official.
After winning her Democratic primary in May, Mary Gonzalez made international headlines as “Texas’ first openly lesbian representative.” As she is running unopposed in her El Paso district, Gonzalez is set to head to Austin in January. However, now that she’s on her way, Gonzalez decided to set the record straight and make it clear that she rejects the identities of “lesbian” and “bisexual” in favor of “pansexual:”
In an exclusive interview with Dallas Voice… Gonzalez said she identifies as “pansexual,” an orientation many would call bisexual, except pansexuals don’t believe in a gender binary and can be attracted to all gender identities. Gonzalez said she doesn’t believe in a gender binary because “gender identity isn’t the defining part of my attraction.”
After coming out as bisexual at 21, Gonzalez said a few years later she started dating “gender-queer” and transgender people, and later identified as pan.
“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.”
In the early days of her campaign, Gonzalez was identified by media as a “Latina lesbian lawmaker,” a term that she opted not to oppose in order to avoid confusion despite its inaccuracy. She also stated that her use of the word “queer” to define her sexual identity was “a poor choice” because “the history of the word is complex.”
Now that her campaign is complete, though, Gonzalez has revealed her true identity. “During the campaign if I had identified as pansexual, I would have overwhelmed everyone,” she told the Dallas Voice, adding that people don’t know what being pan means. “Now that I’m out of the campaign, I’m completely much more able to define it… Me coming out was a process, not only for myself but for my district and so I had to take things step by step.”
Congratulations, Gonzalez — and thanks for blazing the trail!