Sexual Identity and Gender Identity

It’s amazing (and reassuring) how many of us have the same thoughts, experiences, and feelings as one another. Almost all of us have had some sort of… awakening at an early age where we discovered that there was a part of us that was fascinated by and drawn to certain clothes or wanting to wear nail polish or eyeliner or anything else. We felt that maybe we weren’t *really* a boy or that we had more in common in with our sisters than our brothers.

(Of course this has more to do with gender norms and societal expectations of gender roles, but I digress.)

Until we became aware of others like us, we felt unique, we felt alone. But one day we learned that there were actually so many people like us that there was actually a name for boys who wore girl clothes. One day we met another trans person, whether online or in real life and suddenly the feelings of being alone were replaced by being able to relate to someone else.

As I continue to meet others like myself, I am reminded how much in common we all have. The same fears, the same desires, the same emotions, the same conversations we have with our partners. It’s no longer a surprise to meet another t-girl and realize that they also have had a similar journey as my own.

Sometimes these conversations turn to gender identity and how this has changed over time. We talk about where we were a few years ago and where we are today. We talk about what has changed or when we realized that one label (if you will) felt more appropriate than another.

It’s amazing how for decades I felt alone and that no one else in the world could understand who I was and who I am… only to find countless others like myself who felt the same way, who wore the same clothes that I did.

I found others like myself who could relate to purging but would start buying lingerie only a few days after throwing away a drawer full of panties. We bond over our first experiences leaving the house en femme. We discuss our victories, our fears, our relationships.

But one thing I can never really relate to is when other crossdressers and t-girls discuss being conflicted or confused or anxious about their sexual identity in relation to their gender identity.

To be clear, I don’t think it’s odd to wonder about one’s sexual identity. You can go years and years dating girls and then a guy catches your eye for some reason and you can’t quite put your finger on why you can’t stop thinking about him. I can’t relate to this but I have friends who identified as straight until, well, they realized that they were actually bi.

I may not be able to relate to someone not being sure of their sexual identity but I can certainly relate to not being sure of my gender identity. For years I wondered about this. I don’t feel I was assigned the wrong gender at birth necessarily nor do I feel that transitioning is right for me, but when I was in my teens I did have these thoughts. Not because I FELT unsure about this but I didn’t know you COULD be bi-gender. I thought that if I wanted to wear a dress that I HAD to be a girl.

Eventually I decided you could wear whatever you wanted whenever you wanted and that was that.

Gender is, and can be, fluid. I go back and forth and in-between. I think sexual identity can also be fluid.

This is when I need to acknowledge that I cannot claim really any sort of authority on sexual identity. I’ve never dated or been intimate with someone who identifies as male. My romantic and sexual history would absolutely indicate I am straight. And sure, I’m straight if a label needs to be applied. If I am filling out a medical form or whatever and I have to check a box for it, I do select ‘heterosexual’.

None of this is to say that I’m not straight. I just don’t think about it. If I have to identity as something when it comes to my sexual preference I choose my answer based on my history, I suppose. I select the option for ‘heterosexual’ and move on. I don’t have the same hesitation that I do when I have to declare my gender identity.

When I say that sexual identity can be fluid what I mean is that this is something that might change over time through life experience. You grow up thinking that you’re “supposed” to date a certain gender but you never feel any sort of attraction. But then one day you meet someone that you fall for HARD and you realize that you’ve been dating the wrong gender your entire life. I suppose this is the sexual identity journey that is the equivalent of our own gender identity journey.

But I also think sexual identity is fluid because some crossdressers and t-girls tell me that HE identifies as straight but SHE identifies as bi.

My perspective is that being en femme or wearing lingerie doesn’t change your sexual preference. I mean, that’s one thing many of us insist on when we come out to our significant others. Your wife might be worried that you’re gay because you wear panties but you do your best to explain that what you wear has nothing to do with who you are attracted to sexually, physically, romantically, or emotionally.

I think that if SHE is bi, then HE is bi, too. Again, I have to admit I am not speaking from any sort of experience and I have to accept that I could be completely and absolutely wrong about all this.

I know that Hannah… unlocks parts of HIM. Hannah is chatty and social, he is not. He CAN be, but he usually isn’t. The chatty and social butterfly part of HER is in HIM, but it’s just not expressed. These aspects of Hannah don’t magically appear when she is out in the real world, she just brings them out of him, or US, I suppose.

I do think that being en femme helps me feel less inhibited and I suspect many of you can relate. It’s not a stretch to think that being en femme not only helps you feel less inhibited socially but sexually as well.

Some of us want to be physical with a man when we are dressed up. Not necessarily because we crave a man sexually but because he is perhaps treating us as a girl, just in an intimate way. I do feel flattered when a man holds a door open for me, so it’s likely some of us feel something similar with sex.

Well, perhaps flattered isn’t the right word. I feel I am, ah, VISIBLY transgender. I don’t think anyone sees me and believes I am a a cis girl. When people interact with Hannah I assume they know they are interacting with a t-girl. So, when a door is held open for me, my assumption is that they are consciously holding the door open for a trans woman which, in my opinion, is a show of support for the trans community.

Some cis men tell me they are attracted to t-girls and they wonder if they are gay. Well, no. I don’t feel thinking a t-girl is cute means you’re gay. T-girls are girls. It’s not gay to be attracted to a girl. Unless you’re a girl, of course.

Media and society did a really terrible job portraying crossdressers, drag queens, and trans people for decades. We were shown to be fetishists and as comedic foils. We were also usually portrayed as being very, very, gay. I suppose as we grew up and came to terms with our gender identity it was natural to think that since we wanted to wear a dress it likely meant we were indeed gay based on the representation we had in movies.

Again, I am far from an expert on this, so I’m curious about your experiences and journey when it comes to gender and sexuality. Do you find there’s an overlap or a correlation? Or are you like me where they couldn’t be further apart?

Love, Hannah

5 thoughts on “Sexual Identity and Gender Identity

  1. That uncertainty, desire to know that others feel as you do, that’s why I started my podcast. I want youth to hear how other youth questioned, or didn’t, felt conflicted, or didn’t, and saw their self-definitions evolve and change. The more voices I can capture, the more journeys to self discovery I can put out there for youth to find, the more they will realize they aren’t alone and that everyone’s journey is different in some ways and alike in others.

    It also will hopefully help parents, partners, friends, allies recognize that sometimes these evolutions aren’t easy, and the support of loved ones, for whoever someone finds themself to be, is vital to their self-confidence and happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Went out on the town over the weekend in my Ivory Bodycon dress and barely got out of the car and a man called me Honey and another said “cute dress”, Go Girl! Love Stepheny.

    Like

  3. Labels. Over recent years, I have come or somehow, through experiences, been led to conclude that there shouldn’t be any – mostly because, as you state Hannah, gender is fluid.

    Can anyone speaking authoritatively on gender fluidity – there is no beginning and end of the spectrum – it is, to me at least, high and wide as far as the eye and mind can see and further.

    I find that my urges can fluctuate between practically not existent to ‘raging fire’ and certain life events can send you spinning back and forth dramatically. Sexual release is also a contributory factor to how I might feel in the hours and days ahead until the proverbial pendulum swings the other way once more.

    At one time, even during the height of my crossdressing years, I was in no way anything other than staunchly ‘labelling’ myself as heterosexual. For some time, I have been intimate with the same man on a regular basis, admittedly, ever more intimately, and this has helped but not entirely contributed to the development of my sexual interests. I am very open minded and have learnt and intensely thought about and analysed sexuality in general for quite some time.

    Over the last four years or so, I have internally ‘labelled’ myself as ‘bi-curious’, largely because that is how I was – curious. Greater intimacy and feeling better about my physicality has more recently made me begin to see myself as bisexual but I really wouldn’t do anything with just anyone.

    Relationships, particularly intimate ones, can only become ever more intimate over a quite considerable amount of time, and with a great deal of intense and assured trust, and I suppose we all find our probably equally fluid barriers that we will or won’t cross, at any given point or at all.

    As you suggest, the ability to be, openly or otherwise, circumstances dictating, is greatly affected by societal stereotypes, behaviours and by the greatest of all influences, media reporting. You can’t ‘be’ ‘this’, ‘that’ or ‘the other’ because of intolerance and ignorance, amongst many other descriptors.

    If you do this, then you’re ‘that’ – in their opinion and there is no changing. My inner sexuality is very much as hidden as it ever has been with those closest to me and because of that, there is a great deal of biting my tongue at times when someone openly ‘outs’ someone on the television as something or other. Why, in my opinion, does it need to be so openly talked about and pointed out? But, for many reasons, whilst I can challenge it to an extent, I do have to pick my words very carefully indeed.

    The list is probably endless.

    As for form filling – I will always identify as ‘heterosexual’ for reasons ranging from needing to, for a variety of reasons, to identifying as that, and not being entirely sure I’m anything else yet. I’m still more likely to enter ‘heterosexual’ because of the risks that stating anything else could lead to.

    Like

  4. Clever article that gives comfort to those racked by guilt over cross dressing. Having experienced all the factors listed here, the enormity of remaining closeted in a heterosexual relationship is quite the anxiety generator for a lot of us.

    Like

  5. Hannah, I grew up in the 80’s before the internet. And honestly I did not know there was a difference between sex & gender. I knew I wasn’t gay but didn’t understand why I liked to wear women’s clothes. I was ignorant of course in my teens. To be frank I was homophonic. I am not now of course. But I was conflicted with wearing women’s clothes and being looked at as gay when I wasn’t. I wish I was taught in school more about sex & gender.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Lara Klopp Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s