As June is LGBT Pride Month, I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss both sexual orientation and gender, from the perspective of how both were buried beneath my masquerade as a straight cis male.
Like many transgender women who only started expressing interest in men after transition, I have been accused of “faking” attraction to men. I have always been attracted to both, but it wasn’t until after I came out as transgender and began physical transition that I felt comfortable expressing my true sexual orientation, including attraction to males. Gender identity and sexual orientation are two different wires, but in my case, they were intertwined and buried.
I came out as bisexual in late 2013, but after coming out as transgender, it was a non-issue and I think many people suspected it anyway. As I learnt about pansexuality and after much going back and forth, I eventually realised that pansexuality was a better label for me, although my sexual orientation is very much “fluid” and unlike many other pansexuals, I am not gender blind (I’ll save the topic of gender blindness for another post).
Prior to transition, all but one of my relationships and sexual encounters were with females. However, my first sexual experience was with a male when I was in my early teens (I won’t go into specifics). Even then, I knew I was a girl and I thought of myself as his girlfriend, even though I was presenting male and kept my gender identity very much buried. Our relationship was very much kept as a secret, although it didn’t seem wrong to me. I secretly fancied a few boys and school, along with a few actors and musicians. But I wanted to date girls, largely because I wanted to be one. However, I had very little success finding love as a cis male, because despite my appearance at the time, it just wasn’t me.
My gender identity was buried and that in turn was burying my sexual orientation. I was a pansexual female playing the role (badly) of a straight cisgender male. I neither wanted anyone to see me for who I was or know that I was attracted to males. If I’d been a gay male, I would still have had a difficult time coming out, due to how badly I was repressed. Only now are both aspects of my identity free. As a result, I tend to express attraction to males much more than females. I also tend to seek out relationships with males, although I haven’t had much success to date as most of the men who were interested in me just wanted “fun”.
So to anyone who accuses me of faking interest in males in order to appear more feminine, I hope that my reasons are enough to explain it, although frankly, I don’t owe anyone any explanation. I am sure the same is true for other transgender people, who also repressed their sexual orientation. I’ve known of other transgender women who dated females only all of their lives up until transition, then started dating men.