Janelle Monae and Sexuality 101

Updated: May 7, 2018

In the wake of Janelle Monae's brave conversation about her pansexuality with Rolling Stone magazine, black women are left trying to figure out what it even means and if other types of sexuality exist. If you haven't had a chance to read the article, check it out below:

With that being said, we're going to walk through the types of sexuality and some black female celebrities who openly identify with them.

First, let's start with discussing the difference between sex and gender. According to Planned Parenthood, sex is a label assigned at birth of female, male, or sometimes intersex. Intersex is when a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male. Sometimes a female or male gender is assigned to an intersex person at birth through surgery, if external genitals are not obviously male or female. Gender is a social and legal status of male or female. A set of expectations from society about behaviors and characteristics. Each culture has standards about the way that people should behave based on whether they’re male or female. Cisgender is when you identify with your sex assigned at birth. Transgender is when you identify with a gender that is different from your sex assigned at birth. Transexual is when you have Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS) to change the anatomy you were born with to that of a different gender.

Unfortunately, relying solely on assigned sex at birth and gender labels placed on us by societal and cultural norms are not enough. This is where gender identity and gender expression allow individuals to truly be themselves. The Gender Unicorn explains that gender identity is a person's internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or another gender(s). Gender expression/presentation is the physical manifestation of one’s gender identity through clothing, hairstyle, voice, body shape, etc. Every single one of us have a gender identity and gender expression that falls along the spectrum. To find out more about the gender unicorn, click on the link:

As mentioned in The Gender Unicorn, individuals can express their sexuality with a romantic orientation and a sexual orientation. The PBHS closet defines romantic orientation by who you are romantically attracted to meaning wanting to be in a romantic relationship with and is unrelated to sexual attraction. Sexual orientation is defined by who you are sexually attracted to meaning who you get turned on by or who you would want to engage