I have been so lucky in my life to have the experiences I have had. I’m a transgender woman in love with another transgender woman. When I first told a friend I was going to transition, they asked me a question that I was not expecting. “If you want to be with men, why don’t you just be gay?” I was taken aback. I wasn’t accepting the travail of crossing the gender divide so I could be with men, I was a woman who just wanted to be herself.
I was woman who was attracted to women.
When I told people this, they simply couldn’t understand. “So you’ll be a lesbian? Why not just stay a man?” Transgender people get this a lot. I was never confused as to who I was inside or who I was attracted to sexually. When I transitioned I wasn’t doing it so I could be with men, in fact I was so focused on making my transition from male to female I hadn’t even considered intimate attractions in the future. After I transitioned I discovered that I did have some interest in men, and this came to me as a surprise. I wasn’t really expecting it.
Gender identity and sexual attraction don’t actually go together. We all know this because some men can be attracted to men and some women can be attracted to women. How you identify - male, female, non-binary, or genderqueer - has no connection to who you are attracted to. Sometimes our attractions can broaden and shift. This happens to about 32%* of transgender women. Transwomen who find themselves attracted only to women sometimes experience an additional, new, attraction to men. This happened to me.
I discovered my attraction to men in line at the car dealership, and it came as a complete surprise. A man serving coffee had a very strong smell and something… just clicked. I wanted to get away from that smell. I wanted him to take a shower. I wanted to be scrubbing his back. What? That was it, I was now attracted to men, and I never had been before. But I was still attracted to women, it was not a switch in my sexual orientation but, rather, a newfound attraction.
I lived for 45 years as a male before I began transitioning to female. I had always been exclusively attracted to women. I found that I was now pansexual, attracted to men, women, transgender people… everyone. Sexual orientation and gender identity don’t depend on one another. I’m still attracted to women, and I am in love with and attracted to another transgender woman. I am happy to be me, and I am happy to be with someone as wonderful as my girlfriend. Who I am in love with and what gender each person may be doesn’t really matter. Love is love. Attraction is attraction. Only you can know who you are. I’ve seen the world from many sides and I believe in freedom. Feel free in who you are. Feel free in who you love.
Long Beach, CA