Wayne Brady comes out as pansexual: Who else is pansexual, and what does that mean?

The performer joins a list of stars who identify with not being restricted by gender when it comes to attraction

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published August 8, 2023 6:32PM (EDT)

Host Wayne Brady and Orianthi perform onstage during the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for dcp)
Host Wayne Brady and Orianthi perform onstage during the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for dcp)

The "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" veteran Wayne Brady just came out as pansexual. The comedian shared his personal struggle to come to terms with and eventual confidence in his pansexuality in a People Magazine exclusive.

Brady described his sexuality as "bisexual — with an open mind." His interpretation of pansexuality is that "pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary."

In Brady fashion, the comedian came out in a TikTok posted to his Instagram page. The video shows Wayne's blended family, his ex-wife Mandie Taketa, her partner Jason Michael Fordham and his daughter Maile Brady dancing and singing along to Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" while holding gay pride flags.

He shared with People Magazine that he had been attracted to certain men in his life "but I've always pushed that aside because of how I was raised." He said that he's always had friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community but "I've always felt like a sham because I wasn't being forthcoming with myself," he said.

Brady almost kept his sexuality private "but that gave me license to still live in the shadows and to be secretive. What does that feel like to actually not be shameful, to not feel like, 'Oh, I can't be part of this conversation because I'm lying?' I had to break that behavior," he said.

The comedian now said he is "a single, open-minded pansexual" who can "be free and open to other people."

What is pansexuality?

GLAAD describes pansexuality as "a person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to any person, regardless of gender identity."

Some people confuse pansexuality for bisexuality and that is a common misconception (Netflix's sex comedy "Big Mouth" famously messed up) because it falls under the bi+ category in terms of sexualities. Bisexual people have the "potential to be physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree." 

Pansexuality exists under the bi+ umbrella which also includes other sexual orientations like polysexual, omnisexual, fluid or queer, GLAAD said.

In other words, bisexuality is attraction to more than one gender, while pansexuality is attraction regardless of gender. The distinction matters.

Representations of pansexuality in media include the former MTV reality dating series "Are U The One." The show's eighth season had 16 cast members all somewhere on the pansexual spectrum, which meant that any of them could be a perfect match for each other — opening up the options for all the contestants to find their most compatible match regardless of gender.

Other famous people who are pansexual

Outside of television, there are many celebrities who have also come out as pansexual in recent years. One of the most memorable celebrities to share their pansexuality was Miley Cyrus. The Disney child star turned mega pop star opened up about her sexuality in 2015, saying that she was neither straight nor gay because she was pansexual. "I'm very open about it – I'm pansexual," Cyrus said. She has had a few high-profile relationships with women like Stella Maxwell and Kaitlynn Carter, and was once married to Liam Hemsworth.

Another one of Cyrus' Disney peers, Demi Lovato also identifies as pansexual and gender fluid. On an episode of Joe Rogan's podcast in 2021, the host asked if the singer was pansexual, and they confirmed: "Yeah, pansexual."

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Multi-talented singer and "Knives Out: Glass Onion" actress Janelle Monáe is also another celebrity who identifies as nonbinary and pansexual. Monáe told Rolling Stone in 2018 that "being a queer Black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-a** motherf**ker."

They said they first identified with bisexuality "but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, 'Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."

While Brady is one of the few fluid men in Hollywood that has fully embraced his pansexuality, his coming out so openly will likely add to the already growing number of representations of pansexuality through gender-fluid celebrities and in other forms of media like reality television.

By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Coming Out Explainer Lgbtqia Pansexuality Wayne Brady