Thursday, November 03, 2011

My Story Part 97 – Sexual Orientation

A group of social work students wanted to interview me for a paper that they were writing on a policy for transgender students dorms at a women's religious college. During the interview, one of them asked me if it was hard to find boyfriends… STOP RIGHT THERE! Boyfriends? Why do you think I’m attracted to men? Her answer was you are a woman… Hold it, are all women attracted men? Well no, but why then would you want to become a women?

It took a little while, but I think she started to understand that there is no linkage between gender identity and sexual orientation. That is one of the most common mistakes that I hear when I do outreaches at colleges. When I do you an outreach, I usually get the question “Are you attracted to men or women?” and when I say to women, they inevitable ask why did I transition if you are attracted to women. It is because my gender identity is female and I want to make love as a female.

The Huffington Post had an article by Rebecca Juro about Chaz Bono sexual orientation,
The second problem is more difficult to recognize unless the viewer is already familiar with Chaz Bono himself. Bono is a man who is in a serious romantic relationship with a woman. He is therefore heterosexual, not gay. By asking Mike Rogers if the media attacks on Bono lead to gay bashing, Ed Schultz revealed his clear lack of understanding of what a transgender person is, as well as his ignorance of the difference between sexual orientation, the gender of the person one is sexually and romantically attracted to, and gender identity, whether an individual personally sees themselves as male, female, or something else entirely, a gender identity that doesn't fit neatly into either of those socially constructed boxes.
Labeling trans-people sexual orientation make no sense. For many trans-people their sexual orientation does not change after their transition, they go from being straight to being gay or lesbian. Or they go from being lesbian or gay to being straight. However, their sexual orientation has not changed, only the way people label them.

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