Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Is My Sexual Orientation?

What is my sexual orientation? My gender identity is clear right? I am female. Thats how I perceive myself.

But lately I have seen the above question being asked of me several times and I thought I should address it here now. But before I go ahead and give my views, and I hope this will be a short post, lets look at web definitions of several terms.

Sexual Orientation: According to WikipediaSexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, both genders, neither gender, or another gender. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation is enduring and also refers to a person's sense of "personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."
Gender Identity: Still, Wikipedia says, Gender identity (otherwise known as core gender identity) is the gender(s), or lack thereof, a person self-identifies as. It is not necessarily based on biological fact, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation. The gender identities one may choose from include: male, female, both, somewhere in between ("third gender"), or neither.

The way I understand the above, is that there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. I presume most of you already know this fact. There is no similarity between how you identify as and who you are attracted to. So if, for example, I am a trans woman, I (presumably) identify as a female and this is my gender identity and (presumably, not factual) I am attracted to males and this is my sexual orientation. (Forgive me for 'enbolding' so many words; I like stressing points through that and using italics.)

Lets now look at Lindsay. What is my sexual orientation. My gender identity is clear (as I have indicated at the top right tab on this blog), I am female. A girl. A woman.
My Sexual Orientation is STRAIGHT.
This is not news. Most of you already know this through reading my blog. I identify as straight. I am attracted to men. Interestingly though, as I had mentioned here about a lesbian encounter, I now think that there is a possibility for flexibility. Where now I see the chance of me being attracted to what I would call "masculine females"! Quite interesting don't you think?

But there is something that actually made me write this post. Its the assumption that men who date trans women are actually gay. And why do they assume this? "Oh, I both have the same stuff down there right? So definitely thats gay!? Right" I recall a friend telling me. THIS IS WRONG!! In all sense!

Here's the thing. If I identify as female, and I date a man, then isn't that heterosexual? YES! Yes it is! Therefore, the man I date would identify as? Straight! Right? So this blatant ignorance of the above is what sometimes annoys me. But I do hope that I make things clear now.
Sex is between your legs; Gender is between your ears.
I, and most others, use this phrase to clarify things. Get this, just because I have genitalia similar to that of males, it DOES NOT mean that who I date and have relations with is gay! If you reach your conclusion in this manner then it means you are calling me A MAN. Yes. You are in fact, insulting me. Making me feel bad. You cannot define my sexual orientation by looking at what I have between my legs or how I and my [male] partner have sex? Even if that was the case, do we then conclude that since even cis-gendered(persons who don't have a disparity between their gender identity and their assigned sex) females have anal sex are gay? What I am trying to say here is that you cannot define my sexual orientation by looking at what I have between my legs. Period.

Before I conclude, let me share this piece from Wikipedia (again!) that I think is quite interesting.
Some researchers (see BBL controversy) ignore the evidence of self-identification as women and continue to view transsexual women as men, labeling trans women who feel sexual attraction to men as "homosexual transsexuals" and to women as "nonhomosexual". This is seen as disrespectful to the women whom they are supposing to study; developmental biologist and trans-feminist writer Julia Serano labels this as part of a process of "trans-objectification," the reduction of transsexual persons to research specimens and sexual fantasies.

I just hope I have allayed any misgivings and any misguided opinions one must have had. I of course don't mind questions on this and I will say that this is my point of view and, as the saying goes,

"Opinions are like arse-holes. Everyone has them!".



Anonymous said...

U are a gay man.

Lindsay said...



Amy K. said...

Don't you love it when people try to tell you who and what you are? Especially while not having the guts to post as anything other than "anonymous?" Hooray, "anonymous," hooray! *claps*

Maddie said...

Well said Lindsay. Your break down of why it's not only othering but just plain wrong to base sexual orientation on trans peoples's genitals is spot on.

Apart from anything, most of the time, no one can tell what genitals another person might actually have. They've got clothes on for goodness sake!

Gay Nairobi Man said...

Thanks for this post. It has cleared the whole thing for me. I( just like the anonymous person above) assume that you are gay.

But it does make sense that if you view yourself as a female and are attracted to men...then you are straight.

thegayte-keeper said...

I always wondered about relationships where one persons changes his/her gender...THANKS FOR POSTING THIS!

Lindsay said...

@Amy, Yea!! That was it!
@Maddie, You have a point there! One can never know! :D
@GNM, You're welcome. And if I may add, I not only view myself as such, I AM A FEMALE.
@thegayte-keeper, Ur welcome dear :)

Thanks all for commenting :)

cdohnio said...

I loved this post! It's so informative, gave me a lot to think about. Well done.

Transgender said...

I am flabbergasted by the way people assume the right to label others. Most of these people can't even tell the color of their toothbrush but they think they know others inside out. So unfortunate. Lindsay should not be labeled like some product to be hanged in a shelf of a mall. Keep up the good work Lindsay and screw you haters.


Anne said...

Hi Lindsay. I just found your post and find it particularly poignant because you, at age 22, are these same age that I was when I began, (and completed) my transition to become a full and complete woman. That was in 1972.

I was very lucky in that I did not have the access to knowledge that you have through the internet, and while I have absolutely what the conditions/access to medical treatment or facilitities are like in Kenya, I do know that you have solved the initial riddle.

YOU ARE IN FACT A WOMAN. What you must now do is direct your every waking moment, every ounce/gram of your energy to getting the neccessary treatment that will allow you to live your life as the full and complete woman that you are.

Do not be dissuaded or distracted by political advocacy or the "advice of friends", who are more than likely, NOT like you. You are a very rare bird. You will most likely have to find your way alone for the forseable future.

The people you MUST find and associate with are those that can/will HELP you reach your goals. You know what you must do. The quicker you can accomplish what you must, the easier it will be for you.

Beware the "syrens' songs" of the LBGT "community" you are not TG or "trans" anything. You are just a woman. Be that woman. No more, no less.

Blessings from Buenos Aires.


Feel free to contact me directly, if you would like.

Lindsay said...


Oh Thank you thank you so so much!!

Am so glad!

And yes, I will contact you soon! :D

Anonymous said...

well to me if a man is attracted to a woman he is straight or woman to man it the same thing well the thing that i never understand is when a man is attracted to a woman but at the same time he feel like a woman or he is born to be a woman that is living a lie life i think it better to be a lesbian or gay coz that is much mor clear than other i am not a gainist such people no it only that may be if someone will tell me or about this thing then i can understand may be and that is MAY was intersting for me to read this

Lindsay said...

I am happy you commented. Its good to note that there is a huge difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. just read and re-read everything i said so u can understand better, remember, there is alot of fluidity in all this.

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