When thinking about gender identity, we often discuss it as being separate from sexual orientation, but these two aspects of identity do intersect in some ways. What happens if I have always identified as a lesbian, but now my gender identity is male? It is definitely a complex question.
My main concern when considering my sexual orientation now that I identify as male is privilege. The straight male in our society has every advantage. They do not have to fear for their lives for being gay or to fear for their rights for being a woman. Men are privileged to make up congress, to have better wages, and to dominate in almost every scientific field of study. Women are slowly making up ground, but the key word is slowly. Women’s rights are daily questioned from all angles. Each day in the news I see something new, whether it be about the plan to defund Planned Parenthood or about the backlog of untested rape kits in certain areas. Women simply do not enjoy the same privileges men do.
So the question comes to mind: how do I resolve my connection to women? I do not identify as female anymore, but men can be feminists too. So I am a feminist. I will continue to fight for women’s rights as a male.
Then we come to sexual orientation. I have identified as a lesbian for so long, I came out about 7 years ago. I found security in that label. I found friends to support me, people who loved me because of who I was no matter the label, or whom I met because of that label. It is hard to think of myself not as a lesbian anymore, hard to detach myself from a part of my identity which I have cherished and found pride in for so long. I was never one to want to hide, so I never did. I was the only out girl on my hall when I came to college, and I’m so happy I never hid myself from anyone.
But now the time comes to toss that label aside. I am not a lesbian anymore. I am not a woman who loves women, though I still do greatly love women. I am a male who loves women. Generally, the label given there would be straight, but I don’t think I could ever fit myself into that label. I just don’t feel comfortable with it. Many of my friends consider themselves to be label-free. They don’t want to put themselves into any bracket. They just want to love and live as they are. But upon reflection, I don’t think I could fit there either. One of my friends suggested queer, and it seems the best fit for me.
So that is where I stand. There are a lot of questions in my mind still about how my sexual orientation changes with my gender identity, but I will resolve them with time and thought. What are your stories about how your sexual orientation has changed over time, because of your gender identity or any other factor? How do you identify?