Thursday, 01 September 2011 03:34

Exploring Gender: Sexual Orientation

Written by  Cael


Recently I was asked about how I approach sexual orientation while transitioning. It is a hard thing to think about because so much else is changing in my life. Specifically, I was asked: “So do you date lesbians, straight girls, bi girls, or what?” My original response was: “I just like women.”

The fact that I am transitioning doesn’t change who I am attracted to; it just changes my presentation of myself. I like women, and I have no other label beyond that. I’m not straight. I’m not a lesbian. I guess if I had to have some kind of a label, it would be queer. But I don’t quite fit into the norms of sexual orientation now that my gender identity has shifted.

The other side of the question implies that I would restrict myself to dating only someone of a certain sexual orientation. I don’t quite think sexual orientation matters in this situation though. It isn’t a question of an orientation towards a gender, because I exist outside of that. I am not a woman, and I am not a man. I am FTM. I am independent of those boundaries, so it isn’t a matter of who I date. It’s a matter of acceptance of my identity and an attraction to who I am, physically and mentally.

Anyone willing to date an FTM has to come to some kind of indifference towards gender. It is confusing for a lesbian to be attracted to someone who presents as male and for a straight woman to be attracted to someone who was originally female. It takes a willingness to disregard the social attachments of both orientations for a woman, in her own mind, to date someone who realistically exists outside the confines of traditional gender. Based on their experiences and circumstances at different points in their lives, women who have originally identified as straight may love a woman, and the opposite is true as well because women, unlike men, exhibit a fluid form of sexuality, making it naturally easier for women to accept the difference in the scientific sense, though perhaps not in the social sense (for more information on Sexual Fluidity, see Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire by Lisa M. Diamond).

At some point while transitioning, an individual must confront the question of sexual orientation. It is confusing but necessary. If any of you have come to different conclusions regarding your sexual orientation while transitioning, please share in the comments.