Gender and Sexuality

When I came out as transgender it didn’t occur to me that I’d need to come out as gay/queer too. But it seems this isn’t necessarily obvious to everyone.

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As I started coming out to friends and family, I was surprised to be asked by more than one person things along the lines of,

“So… are you still attracted to men?” or “Does that mean you like women now?”

To me, it’s always been completely obvious that gender and sexuality are two quite distinct things. You can be cisgender, and be either asexual or anywhere on the Kinsey Scale between gay and straight, and the same applies if you’re transgender.

Gender and sexuality are unrelated.

Just to break it down into some concrete examples because I think maybe that helps…

If someone who previously identified as a lesbian comes out FTM transgender – they’re now a straight guy.

Someone like me who previously identified as a straight woman – now a gay guy.

Previously straight man who has come out as MTF transgender – now a lesbian.

Previously bisexual man who has come out as a trans woman – now a bisexual woman.

With nonbinary gender identities it’s more complicated to express, but the principle is the same. It’s not the sexual orientation that changes, it’s just how it’s defined by your gender that changes. You’re still attracted to what you were attracted to before.

Disclaimer: Of course human sexuality is infinitely complicated and there are some people who may experience a shift in their attraction, but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.

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The Kinsey Scale (Source: Wikipedia)

 

I think sometimes it can be less clear cut if someone transitions at a stage in their life where they’re still working out their sexuality as well as their gender. Also perhaps some transgender people are more ready to explore their sexuality after transition where previously dysphoria was holding them back. But transitioning doesn’t change your sexuality, and in my case I’ve already worked through my sexual identity crisis.

So, where I would previously have put myself as a Kinsey 1 (mostly attracted to the opposite sex). Now I would call myself a Kinsey 5 (mostly attracted to the same sex).