Argument #8: You are transsexual, so that means you are gay/lesbian.

I heard this one from a co-worker of mine who asked me this just last night when I came out to her as transsexual. When I first got hired she was telling another co-worker of ours that she thought I was gay and that I needed to come out of the closet. Only because I liked to do things like wear nail polish, was a little effeminate, and like to take good care of my hair. I don’t have a naturally feminine voice, or a lisp of any sort of vocal cues, so I thought this was pretty funny when I was told this. We finally had two days back to back together and I figured it was a good time to fill her in (she was one of only two people who DON’T know Phoebe at my work). She was okay with everything and very accepting, but she went over her thoughts with me on how she thought that people like me were all naturally gay or lesbian (as in birth gender’s sexuality). She also mainly thought that this one guy who came into the store was gay just because he wearing a purple shirt with a somewhat girly logo… and though it didn’t seem like he was, you can’t really know unless you ask.

If you don’t know there are 4 key points that make up the gender spectrum:

  1. Sex
  2. Sexual Orientation
  3. Gender Identity
  4. Gender Expression

Should be pretty easy to figure out but I will explain each. Sex refers to the physical and anatomical characteristics of the individual, including genitalia, chromosomal make-up, and internal reproductive system. Sexual Orientation is the sexual/romantic attraction the individual has, and can be any part of the spectrum from straight, or gay, to even pansexual. Third is Gender Identity is the internal gender of the individual, which is how the person identifies as. Finally Gender Expression which is how the person presents themselves to the public using clothing, appearance, mannerisms, and behavior.

What does this list have to do with anything? Well, any person in the world that you meet will have all 4 of these key points, and they can be anything on the list available. For example most cis-male are [1. Man(XY) 2. Straight 3. Male 4. Masculine] and most cis-females are [1. Woman(XX) 2. Straight 3. Female 4. Feminine]. Now, let’s take a look at me… I am [1. Man(XY) 2. Lesbian 3. Female 4. Feminine]. Anyone you meet can be any array of something along this spectrum of gender variance! This includes good examples like “hermaphrodites”, with #1 being any mix of male and female, and also “pansexuals” with #2 being everything on that list… then there are “genderqueers” whos #3 is neither or even both genders, as well as “androgynous” dressers in which #4 will be all over the place! I like to look at each one of those 4 things on that list as having a sliding scale that goes from { female — androgyny — male }, and everyone in the world is completely different than everyone else in exactly where on said scales they are in whole!

The verdict? Anyone can be anything and you may never know without either knowing the person as a friend or acquaintance, or asking them personally. You can meet a man who is outwardly very feminine and dresses like a woman, who identifies as a man and is completely straight orientated. ASSumptions just make you look like an ASS in the eyes of others.

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