« on: November 07, 2014, 09:41:56 PM »
There's really not much (if any) difference between bi and pan. I identify as either, though I'm personally more comfortable with bi. For many people who identify as pan, the idea is that the bi- in bisexual excludes people who don't fit the gender binary, but most if not all major bisexual organizations have defined "bisexual" as "attraction to two or more genders" or "attraction to same gender and different gender(s)" for decades. Appeals to etymology are rather silly -- if we're going to insist that bisexuals can only be attracted to cis men and cis women because bi means two, then "homophobe" means someone who's afraid of similarity. Etymology can be interesting, but only looking at usage can tell you what a word actually means (For what it's worth, the definition of bisexual that I use for myself is "attraction to people of genders similar to my own and genders different than my own." Also, I identify as non-binary.)
An alternate definition of pansexuality is "attraction regardless of gender", which could differentiate it from bisexuality. The idea is that for someone who identifies with this definition of pansexual, a person's gender is not a factor at all in determining whether they're attracted to them. Personally, I can't fully identify with this definition, as there do seem to be things that I find more attractive in one gender or another (for example, all other things being equal, I generally like girls with short hair better than I like guys with short hair). This is also a good time to mention that many bisexuals do tend to "lean" more toward one gender. It's a common misconception that to be a bisexual you have to be a perfect 3 on the Kinsey scale (One survey I read a while back showed that about 3% of people openly identify as bisexual, but about another 10% of people identified as straight while admitting to the survey taker that they have been "at least occasionally attracted to people of their own gender"), right up there with the notion that a bisexual has to date an equal amount of men and women, or that once they end up with someone, that means they've now finally "picked" whether they're straight or gay.
Another definition that some pansexuals use is to say "Bisexuals are attracted to men and women; pansexuals are attracted to men, women, and trans people." This is generally considered a rather transphobic definition -- although "trans" is an umbrella term that also includes people who identify as multiple genders, alternate genders, or no gender, most trans people identify as male or female, and separating them off as though "transgender" is itself a third gender is invalidating their identities. "Transgender" is not an alternative to "male" and "female"; it's an alternative to "cisgender" (people who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth).
As for panromantic -- Sexual orientation and romantic orientation do not always align. Just like people can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual/pansexual, or asexual, people can also be heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic/panromantic, or aromantic -- and they can be any combination. For example, a homoromantic asexual is someone who would like to meet and fall in love with and possibly kiss and get married to someone of their own gender, but they don't feel any sexual attraction to anyone. Someone might be sexually attracted to multiple/all genders, but only interested in settling down with one gender. There's lots of possible combinations. So someone who's panromantic is romantically attracted to people of all genders, separate from the question of whether or not they're sexually attracted to them.