One of the biggest questions a transgender person ponders when they transition is often, “Will my sexual orientation change once I start hormones?” It is almost a right of passage that ranks right up there with “Am I Trans?” Many people only have to come to terms with their sexual orientation once in their lifetime, but for a trans person they may have to figure it all out again. It can be scary, particularly for those who are in a relationship when they begin transition.
“To be honest my being trans always seemed to dwarf my sexual orientation when coming out to people.”
To be honest my being trans always seemed to dwarf my sexual orientation when coming out to people. Don’t get me wrong, to this day it still perplexes me when I tell someone I am trans and they respond with, “I have a cousin who is gay,” or something along those lines. That is when I usually have to explain the difference between sexual orientation and gender. For those who are not in the know, sexual orientation is to whom you are attracted to and gender is who you are. Another words who you sleep with vs. who you sleep as. It is also around this time that I realize I am technically a lesbian.
Being married to a woman all these years, I never really had to delve much into my sexual orientation. If I had to answer real quickly I would have to say I am attracted to women, but that goes against who I am when I really think about it. If my wife were a man, I would certainly still be in love with him. Honestly I would still be attracted to him or her either way. But since we are discussing the topic, let me explore the subject further.
“…as a person who obviously does not conform to society’s binary view of gender, I find it hard to think I would conform to their binary view of orientation as well.”
First, the facts are the ratio of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the transgender community is exactly proportionate to the rest of society. The truth is that none of us know if our orientation will change as we transition, though it is certainly possible and not uncommon. When thinking about my own orientation I realize that I don’t think about it much because I am involved with someone. But in thinking about it as a person who obviously does not conform to society’s binary view of gender, I find it hard to think I would conform to their binary view of orientation as well. What I can say is that I am able to appreciate the male form much more than I used to before I transitioned.
I would like to think that as trans people; we are more open-minded about our sexual orientation. But much like society we have some people who are homophobic. We have some who could care less about who they are attracted to, and yes, some with no attraction to anyone whatsoever. For me personally, attraction has nothing to do with gender. I am attracted to people. I could have fallen in love with anyone, I just happened to fall for a woman. If that makes me a lesbian, then yay, another group I am part of. I really don’t care about the boxes I get put into. I know I am attracted to people who are more dominant than I am, but I don’t equate that as a character of gender. That role could be filled by a man, woman or someone who is genderfluid. But that is just me and we are all different.
“For those who are transitioning, their partners are also forced to think about their own sexual orientation.”
There is also another side to all this, our partners. For those who are transitioning, their partners are also forced to think about their own sexual orientation. For a lesbian who considers herself attracted to women, finding out that woman you are with was always really a man could be a lot to think about. This is true of any couple in any gender combination. The truth is that sexual orientation is something that is considered by all humans. The problem for transgender people and their partners is that they have to face it again without knowing where it will ultimately end up.
The important thing to know is that transition is about self discovery. Figuring out who we are is part of that journey. No one knows if their sexual orientation will flip until they go through the transition. Maybe it is something that is hard coded within you to be straight and you flip. Maybe you flip but it was always truly there and now you are more comfortable to explore it. There are no rules. Society’s views of how relationships should be are entirely constructed. In reality we are all human. We all think about who we are attracted to. You can’t truly know if you are gay, straight, bisexual or asexual without considering the other options. In the end you are what you are and it is okay to explore it.
Stay safe and keep fighting for all of us!
Love and peace,