For some time now, I've had difficulty expressing a perspective I've only experienced since transitioning. As you all should know, either through content on this blog or through interaction with me in person, I'm transgender. I identify myself as a trans woman. This means I once was assigned male as my gender then later decided to change that and identify my gender as female, because male wasn't an accurate representation of my identity. However, before transitioning I had another label. I identified as bisexual. I define that as attraction to people like me and people not like me. Over time, and although I still identify as bisexual, I developed preferences for whom I'm attracted to most. Sexual and romantic preferences akin to a rating system if you'll excuse the crude metaphor. As it stands presently, I'm most attracted to queer women.
In order to clarify what I mean by queer women, I thought I might provide a visual example. This is by no means an exclusive example of the category. There's all kinds of queer and non-binary folk that fuck with gender and make my heart explode. This is only one example.
As long as I can remember, I've always held this attraction for queer women. So try to imagine my difficulty during my earlier years, those before my transition, as I wrestled with this sense of attraction to people whom really couldn't find themselves attracted to me due to their own sexual and romantic desires. While this is a personal experience for me, what has been difficult to express is that without my asking that experience has been turned on its head.
Because I now identify as a women, those queer women who I've been attracted for so long could possibly start showing me the attraction I've long desired. I'm better aligned for that sort of relationship given my gender. Additionally, the gay men I've loved before, who've shown me attraction, might no longer desire to do so as I no longer meet the gender criteria of their sexual orientation. As for me, my attraction to people hasn't changed in the slightest. I'm still attracted to the same people I was before, the only difference is now I present as a different gender. I still like those people like me and those people who aren't like me.
What's so bewildering to me is that most people, heterosexual or not, implicitly expect me to behave with respect to that gender. I'm expected to fall in line with the kind of sexual and romantic attractions people of my gender show. It's taken for granted that my bisexuality means I am now attracted to heterosexual men and gay women because I present and identify as a woman. While that's partially true, it doesn't have to be the case and ignores the fact that I still feel attraction for gay men and heterosexual women. It causes me some personal strife to know that certain avenues of love, once open to me before, have been closed solely because of this social construct without ever having any say myself in the matter. To them, my gender identity modifies my sexuality.
I wouldn't choose to identify differently though. Transitioning has helped clarify what I mean by my self and raised my self-esteem so much so that I would never consider any other alternative. However, because of that, I've been forced to assume this unquestioning mantle of binary gender. As such, certain people will no longer find me attractive in terms of sexual or romantic tenancies, even though I might find them attractive.
To muddle the matter further, sometimes transitioning can induce change in a person's sexual orientation. In fact, it's rather common. For example, a person who was assigned female at birth who transitioned to male may have prior to transition found they were attracted to men, yet after they transition they might experience a shift in their typically stable sexual orientation and from there forth be attracted to women. This violates expectations for the individual who transitioned and for those who know the newly transgender person. Additionally, there's the whole matter of expressing this newfound orientation to other people. People whose sexuality deviates from expected gender norms might find that they have or want to come out again and announce this new orientation to their peers in addition to explaining their gender transition.
In conclusion, it's super frustrating sometimes to be transgender and also bisexual. While the concept of gender continues to evolve, the idea of a binary gender is still regulated and maintained. However, as someone who's bisexual and has had a wide variety of partners with different sexual orientations and genders it can be difficult to weigh my own desires against those of others. I'd ask for you to consider the following question. If I hadn't brought up the idea of gender modifying sexuality, would you have given it any thought? I suspect that most people wouldn't have. This represents one of the largest problems I have with gender and sexuality - not enough people question it.