Gender Identity Vs. Sexual Orientation

gen·der i·den·ti·ty
  1. a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex.
    “he said that young children should be able to explore their gender identities”
sex·u·al o·ri·en·ta·tion
  1. a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.

I have had this discussion on several occasions with so many different facets of the human race, still I always seem to get a puzzled look somewhere within the conversation. So let’s break this down, gender identity is a way a person identifies them self within the spectrum of gender and sexual orientation refers to the type of person or people that an individual is sexually attracted to. Follow close the next part, this is where I often lose folks.

Each of these different concepts have very little, if any, bearing on the other. Regardless of how a person identifies on the sexual orientation spectrum it will not change how that individual identifies on the spectrum of gender. I often get the question
“why would a person born female who dates men, transition to become to still date men?” So I took a deep breath and this was my reply. “First, when we make the choice to take the step to medically transition, that is a personal choice and is made so we are more aligned on the outside with the person we are on the inside. Second, our sexual attraction has nothing to do with the way we want to seen in the world.”  Then I got this question, “Why do some trans guys, after taking hormones, develop an attraction for men if they where previously primarily attracted to women?”. Again taking a deep breath and a thinking pause, I replied. ” In my opinion, when a person is free to be themselves their perception of what is possible opens up.” When I first transitioned, I was still very much closed minded and only understood life in a binary way. Societal constructs of what my life as a black man was supposed to look like was all I knew. As I began to move thru life in  my authenticity I began to understand that I had the ability to make the rules for my life. I was the creator of what it looked like for me to be a man, a black man.

Have a different opinion or perception? Have you experienced this? Join the conversation and comment below and let’s talk about this.

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