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Interview with Suman Pride and Pansexualism

Pride Banner

Interview with Suman Pride and Pansexualism

How Nurse Suman Accepted Her Sexuality

Growing up, ellenor Senior Staff Nurse Suman, 27, always knew she was attracted to women – as well as men.


“It was an internal struggle,” she says. “Learning biology at school, we’re taught that we’re supposed to be attracted to the opposite sex. To procreate.


“I used to hate myself for finding other women attractive.”


Soon, Suman’s grappling with her sexuality began to take a toll on her mental health. 


“I hated myself initially. I thought that it was unnatural, that it wasn’t right; that I shouldn’t be feeling these things. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I wasn’t anything but straight.”


Suman – whose parents are both from India – also acknowledges that it wasn’t only societal barriers blocking her path to self-acceptance, and a greater understanding of her developing sexuality. But cultural barriers, too.


“Sexual orientation that differs from the norm is a difficult topic in my culture – because nobody talks about it. It’s very hush hush.”


Suman identifies as pansexual.


Pansexualism is a romantic, sexual, or emotional attraction to people of all genders – regardless of their gender or sex identity. Someone who identifies as pansexual may find males and females – as well as gender-fluid people, and those who identify as agender – equally attractive.


Pansexualism pushes back against the notion that gender and sex have to be the determining factors in romantic or sexual attraction. And many people who identify as pansexual – including Suman – describe themselves as gender-blind.


“For me, pansexualism means I see people as just that – people. As human beings defined by who they are, and not their gender.”


Since she was an early teenager, Suman has known that she didn’t fit into one of society’s neat categories. Today, she’s married – to a man – and notes how because of this, people are still desperate to place her and her sexuality into a distinct, easily definable box.

“Often, people assume I’m straight – simply because I’m married to a man. Which makes me angry and upset. LGBTQIA+ is extremely important to me. It’s a huge part of who I am, and it bothers me that people don’t see me that way just because I’m settled down with a male.”


Historically and culturally, Suman’s sexuality has been something repressed – or even downright rejected – by the people and structures of power around her.


But there’s one place, at least, where Suman can bring herself – her whole self – to everything she does. At ellenor.


“It’s such a transparent, inclusive environment here – I’ve never had any issues around my sexuality. It’s easy talking to my colleagues about it, and the fact that they’re open when it comes to their own sexuality helps a lot.”

For Suman, this inclusivity – this open, two-way dialogue about sexuality and gender – isn’t limited to her colleagues. It’s an aspect of her relationship with her patients, too. And, while Suman won’t start the conversation, she’s more than happy to use her openness around her sexual orientation to help her patients broach difficult subjects.


“I want my patients to know that sexuality and gender are normal, open things to talk about. And to feel like they can talk about these tough topics with me if they choose to.”


Suman works with patients up to the age of 18. And her own experiences of realising her sexuality as an early teenager means she’s well-placed to understand and connect with young patients grappling with the same feelings she did.


“If my patients see me talking about sexuality, and hear my story, it might help them come to terms with their own feelings – especially if they’re struggling with their sexual identity.”


This openness and inclusivity for all people – regardless of which gender they identify as, or who they’re attracted to – is part of a vision for the future Suman is committed to.


“I want the next generation to reach a point where they can date someone, or love someone, and it’s just accepted. Where they don’t have to announce that they belong to a certain sexuality to justify who they bring home.


“Where it’s seen as normal, not anything they have to hide.”


So – what is proud pansexual Suman’s message to the community?


“Embrace who you are and celebrate your uniqueness. You don’t need to fit into any particular category or label to belong. Be yourself and enjoy the journey of self-discovery.  Everyone is welcome, regardless of how they identify or who they love. Let’s celebrate diversity and inclusivity together!”