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Author Topic: What am I?
Elizabeth Lee
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So I've been a lesbian for a long time. A trans FTM asked me out 2 days ago and my date w/ that person is tomorrow. I never dated a trans. I'm not used to the idea.

Now the thing is, the trans person is biologically a girl, so she has a vagina (which I like). Plus she/he is very cute n funny! Thats why I decided to give her a shot. I've always said no to cisgender boys. See, that's another thing. I don't like penises. They gross me out! I couldn't possibly be pansexual. I like pussy! Pussy is my thing! So I only like biological females even if they identify themselves as males. I wouldn't date any biological males even if there MTF bc they dont have the part I'm looking for. (Not that I'm ready to have sex right now)

The point is, since I only like females whether there cisgender or transgender, I don't know what orientation that wold be considered. I can't say I'm bi b/c then ppl will think I mean boy and girl. I don't if that's still a lesbian, or queer... I just wanna know what sexual identity that's considered.

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I am homo! Hear me roar! Elizabeth Lee! Elizabeth Me!

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Heather
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I'd actually start by first seeing how this person feels about you calling -- and from the sounds of things, considering -- him to be a woman because of his body parts. You say that he's FTM, but are calling him she a lot. If he's trans, he probably also doesn't feel like being born with a certain set of body parts makes him female. In fact, while you say you like that this person has a vagina, they may not like having one at all, or may not consider their vagina a vagina anymore and wouldn't like having it viewed that way.

That all said, do you think it's sound for you to go out with someone it sounds like you're likely to have a very hard time accepting and seeing them as they see themselves in a pretty big way?

Really, someone FTM is someone you need to consider a guy unless they define themselves differently. What that means for you per your orientation if you feel attracted to this person is really up to you: we can't assign anyone orientations here. But it might also be that what this is a cue for you about is how you're thinking about gender in a bigger way?

For instance, what if you had instead been attracted to someone MTF, who is a woman but hasn't had surgery and does have a penis, even if they don't call it that? Would it mean you're less of a lesbian? If so, why?

[ 01-01-2012, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Elizabeth Lee
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What u said on the last paragraph, that's because I'm not attracted to dicks. I like pussy.

I am attracted to this person. I'm calling that person female pronouns just on scarleteen. I dnt call him dat to other ppl especially "him". I am very respectful of trans ppl and I do accept "him". (I dnt do quotes in front of that person).

You don't have to assign me, but are you allowed to at least give an opinion of an orientation? (Almost like you wouldn't tell me what to wear but you would tell me what looks good on me)

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I am homo! Hear me roar! Elizabeth Lee! Elizabeth Me!

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Heather
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Sure.

Lesbian most typically is a term that means a woman who is solely or primarily attracted to women. Since most people are attracted to people -- or not -- way before they see what's in their pants, I think we need to go with terms like women and men to mean people that identify that way or you read that way, rather than making it about body parts. That's also an issue since body parts don't determine someone's gender.

Orientation is really about gender, not penises or vulvas or XX's or XYs (Or XXYs or XXXs, etc.), especially in a world where we're not all nudists.

If you accept and understand that a transman is a man, then you feeling interest for this person is you feeling interest for a man.

That could still mean, y=to you, that you're lesbian: you're hardly the first person in the world who IDs as a lesbian who has every one and then been attracted to a guy. Again, lesbian doesn't have to mean exclusively, just mostly.

Or, you might identify as bisexual or queer if those feel more sound to you.

At the same time, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to go through a big identity questioning with every single person we're attracted to, you know? Our orientation is about patterns over time, and what we feel about our identities, not about our attraction to one given person.

Does that help?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Elizabeth Lee
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a little bit. Sure. When u said orientation is for gender, was that an opinion or a fact? I just wanna no.

I made up some of my own sexual ID. I might not need one. I could just be Elizabeth.

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I am homo! Hear me roar! Elizabeth Lee! Elizabeth Me!

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Heather
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The way orientation is usually defined is about gender, for some of the reasons I mentioned. Again, people aren't usually attracted to people because of their genitals, because most of the time, people know if they are or aren't attracted way before they see anyone's genitals. I mean, when we're walking down a city street and someone turns our heads or makes our knees go all knocky, we usually have no idea what's in their pants.

As well, genitals aren't what make people a given sex, even though that is how sex is assigned at birth, and they certainly aren't what make someone a given gender, as your trans friends can tell you (same goes for their genitals: you say you like vaginas, but I'm not even sure what that means, since for some people what you'd call their vagina, they'd call their penis, and what you'd call a penis, someone else considers their vagina).

Mind, it's sound to say that a given person's assumptions about gender may make them presume things about genitals, and then have the genitals they want in their heads, so it's not quite as cut-and-dried as all of that sounds. To boot, people will differ around preferences in dating and attraction period, no matter their orientation, so, for instance, while what a person's genitals look like may be really important to one person, to someone else, that'll have little to nothing to do with anything, just like some people may feel attracted or not to others around money while others find that whatever someone makes or doesn't has no impact to if and how they feel attraction or don't.

Given what we have known about sex and gender for at least the past few decades, I think we need to accept that it's a given that while defining orientation as about genitals would have always been problematic, we know it's even more so than people thought when we first started using sexual orientation as a term.

All of this is mostly about opinions, not facts, because sexology like this is mostly about sociology, not biology: it's not a hard science. In other words, talking about "facts" is pretty iffy here. However, I do think it's safe to say that when we're talking current queer theory and the way educated sexologists currently talk about orientation, most of us are in agreement that we're talking about gender identity, presentation and perception, not about body parts or chromosomes (which, of course, no one sees save under a microscope).

[ 01-01-2012, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Elizabeth Lee
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I see but when u say a sexual orientation, well u say "sexual" at the end. Homo-sexual, hetero-sexual, bi-sexual, etc. That's what I dont get. Plus, well attraction to dick or vagayjay is the "sexual" part. Can u explain dat to me?

About my orientation, well, just who u date whether its gender or sex, dzznt have to automatically define my orientation. "I'm dating this person; ZAP! I'm xyz!" [Razz] LOL. Like u said before u stated ur opinion, (which I'm glad u gave me ur opinion), u or anyone can't assign me, not like getting diagnosed. I am still young, obviously, so its no biggy. I think I should keep my lesbian identity because if I change my orientation I'll just keep doing it. On the other hand, maybe this is just a one-time thing. Maybe im still gay, but just liked one FTM. It's a possibility. [Smile]

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I am homo! Hear me roar! Elizabeth Lee! Elizabeth Me!

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Heather
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Sexual as in our sexuality. Our sexuality is not just about our genitals (and sometimes isn't about them at all), nor about how we feel about someone else's genitals, not by a serious long shot. Sexuality is a MUCH bigger thing than that. Plus, most of our sexuality -- including the sex we have -- is about our brains, above all else, so if we wanted to assign one part as sexual, that'd be the only right one to choose.

Check it out: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/sexuality_wtf_is_it_anyway

If it helps to break orientation terms down further, think of it like this: homosexual = someone whose sexuality, when it comes to sexual feelings towards others, is oriented towards those whose gender is like their own or the same as their own (homo meaning "same"). The prefix hetero means different or other.

I don't think there's a right or a wrong here when it comes to what you, or anyone, calls their orientation, just like there isn't a right or a wrong when it comes to what anyone calls their gender. Ultimately, if we're going to use terms for our orientation, I think the main key points are to a) use a term that feels right for us and b) one that expresses what we want it to express to others if we're sharing it with them.

Just one quickie? We had a user email in a complaint about your post up there where you call this person she, because they -- not being cisgender themselves -- found it pretty upsetting, which I think is understandable. It seems like being a woman is a pretty big deal to you, so I'm sure you'd find it upsetting if someone was switching your gender or using air quotes about it, too.

So, moving forward, just a reminder to talk about anyone here with the gender pronouns THEY actually want and use, which is sound practice if you're going to have trans people in your life, anyway, okay?

[ 01-02-2012, 08:08 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I think something important to keep in mind with this, is that if orientation and attraction were only about penis or vagina, then finding someone we wanted to date and enter into a relationship with would be as simple as finding somebody with a set of genitals that we like and that we find aesthetically appealing. But it's really not that simple, so orientation isn't just about genitalia.

For example I'm bisexual. But I'm not bisexual because I like penises and vaginae (that's not to say that I don't [Smile] ), but because I'm attracted to people. For me, it doesn't matter what gender someone ids as.

It might help to think, you see a beautiful woman walking down the street. You find her attractive and ask for her number. Later you find out that she's MTF and has what is biologically considered a penis. Was your attraction to her any less valid because her biological sex is not concurrent with your identification as a lesbian? Not at all.

People's gender is what they call it, the same as it is with orientation. If this guy says he's a guy, he really is. As Heather said, attraction to one person really isn't enough for you to need to change your identity as a lesbian, unless you want to.

As per calling this guy a girl, I'm with Heather on that being really uncool. When you came out, you probably encountered a few people who didn't really accept your id, remember how that felt? Well it's really not great to act that way towards someone else, even outside of earshot of them.

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~moonlight

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Elizabeth Lee
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My date didnt go well. I tried to accept him for who he is but hes wanting the wrong thing. I think I'm better off with a cis girl, so I'm just gonna say I'm a lesbian like I have been for a long time. I don't think I'll work out w/ trans. Thanks for your help tho [Smile]

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I am homo! Hear me roar! Elizabeth Lee! Elizabeth Me!

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Heather
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Well, it was sounding like it wouldn't have been sound for either one of you pretty much right from the start. You made it pretty clear that you really don't want to date guys of any stripe, and trans guys are guys, even if someone else doesn't see or conceptualize them that way.

And it's okay for dates to just be dates. Dating is a lot like shopping: often enough, we'll only wind up window shopping because we or the other person just doesn't feel like anything past a date or two is going to be right for one or both people. If you ask me, that's a way better deal than people getting serious right at date one and committing before they even know one another well enough to know if that's sound.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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