Bil Browning

How Fluid Is Your Sexual Orientation? [Comment of the Week]

Filed By Bil Browning | January 15, 2012 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: bisexuality, changing sexuality, Drew Cordes, gender transition, Jonathon Edwards

Our most commented on post this week was Drew Cordes' "Shifting Sexuality During Gender Transition: Your Thoughts?" When she asked you to share your thoughts, I'm not sure whether or not she expected so many responses!

She shared with us that her sexual orientation has become less rigid after her transition and asked whether the same thing had happened to other folks. While Drew said she wanted to know your experiences for an upcoming post, Thumbnail image for comment-of-week.jpgI thought I'd lift up this comment for further discussion. Jonathon Edwards points out the fluidity of sexuality in general and brings bisexuality into the conversation.

Jonathon Edwards
This is a great conversation but I think it's needless complex. It reminds me of the critique rightly lobbed against my dear Left that we get tangled up in academic knots over things and get lost in jargon. In my experience - my own and in observing others - sexual orientations isn't fluid in individuals. It's fluid in the species, but not in individuals. Universally, when pressed, my friends who claim fluid sexual orientation in their own lives turn out to be "bi". They always entertained at least some attraction to both sexes and that reality just slowly came to the surface as their life circumstances allowed it to. So what was fluid was not their sexual orientation but the circumstances that prevented or allowed its expression.

It's analogous to all repressed sexual minorities. Not unique to trans folk. I merely appeared to be straight when I was dating girls in High School. My sexual orientation didn't change, my circumstances changed and so my sexual expression changed. I was always exclusively attracted to men.

It seems to me based on all of our experiences not just the narrow experiences of the trans community (or the gay community or the lesbian community) that this is where we can learn from our bi brothers and sisters. You should ask them. The nuances of coming to terms with attraction to people along the whole spectrum must have lessons for us all here. A bi boy of 14 probably represses the male side of his attractions for years, to a degree that they don't appear to exist. Until he's in college and suddenly has a crush on his male roommate. And then for a while he thinks he might be gay. Until he gets a crush on his female lab partner. Is his sexual orientation changing or is it just...coming out of the closet? I think the latter and I suspect that explains the experience of "changing" sexual orientation in the trans community as well.

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