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Transgender/Transsexual/Transgender relationships & homosexuality

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QUESTION: Hi, first off I'd like to apologize if this is in the wrong section as I'm not a transgender person myself, but I have a question and am looking for clarification as I haven't found any information pertaining to this.

I'd like to think it's common knowledge(correct me if I'm wrong) that there's a difference between a persons "sex" and a persons "gender". Your sex is your biological makeup, XX or XY chromosomes for example, while your gender is your sexual identification so to speak. For example, a male-to-female transexual is someone who was born male (XY chromosome) but identifies themselves as female because their sense of gender identity is the opposite of what they were born into.

So considering the above, my question is in regards to a common and what I believe to be misguided assumption that, for example; Any man who is sexually attracted to a male-to-female transgendered person is a homosexual. In this example, as I see it, you're attracted to someone who recognizes themself and is ideally recognized by others as female, which would be a heterosexual relationship. But assuming that "sex" and "gender" are in fact different, this is contradicted by the definition of the words "gay" and "homosexual". Both of which state, 'an attraction to someone of the same sex.'

So shouldn't these definitions be changed? The word "sex" should be replaced with the word "gender" in those definitions should they not?

I've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence from members of the transgendered community that say that they've never heard of a gay man being sexually attracted to a transgendered woman. And I thought surely the definition of homosexual would back up my argument, but it actually contradicted me entirely.

Again, from what I've learned and believe: "sex" refers to your biological DNA, XX or XY chromosomes, this never changes in your life. Whereas "gender" refers to your sexual identity which, in the case of transgenders, is the opposite of their sex from birth. Gender is also what attracts people to you. Homosexuals are attracted to the same gender as themselves, and heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite gender. So a male being attracted to a male-to-female transexual is a heterosexual relationship because that male-to-female transexual identifies themself and is identified by you as a female gender. However, this is contradicted by the definition of "gay" and "homosexual", which require an attraction to the same SEX as yourself, and again, your sex doesn't change. So that same male-to-female transexual who you and I see as female, is still technically male when it comes to their DNA, which would incorrectly define them and their male lover as gay.

Maybe I'm making to big a deal of this. There's nothing wrong with being gay, I just strongly believe that there's nothing gay about a relationship like this, yet it's defined as such. Sorry again if this is a silly question.

ANSWER: Hi there, Jason!

I'm a bit confused. I see a lot of *statement* you're making here, but what exactly is the *question* you're asking me to answer?

I'll be able to answer much more easily once I know that! :)

Trey

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I guess my question(s) are:

Would you agree that there's a difference between "sex" and "gender"?

and, if YES to that question...

Don't you think there's something wrong with the definition of homosexual/gay? It states, "sexually attracted to people of the same SEX". A man is male, and a male-to-female transgender is also male in regards to their biological makeup(sex), despite their gender(female). So, since sex and gender are two different things, and it uses "sex" in its description, then by definition it is a homosexual relationship, which I disagree with. I feel like common sense dictates that if a man views the male-to-female trans as a FEMALE and she does too, then it's a heterosexual relationship. But the definition of the word contradicts this and that bothers me because it disregards the gender aspect of a transexual in favor of the sex they were born with.

Answer
Hi there, Jason!

OK. That narrows things down a lot.

First off, the answer to the first is, quite obviously, yes. As a matter of fact, the dictionary *itself* agrees that there is a difference between the two, as long as you look at the 'full' definition, rather than the 'short' definition:

Sex: : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures

Gender: a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms

At the base definition, *both* are defined as 'the state of being male or female', but in the same way, both 'lake' and 'pond' could be described at the base definition as 'a body of fresh water'. And in the same way, the definition itself is different when one looks in detail of it.

As for the second, the answer is just as simple: I feel there is nothing wrong with the definition of homosexuality. A male who is attracted to a female-to-male transgendered individual is just that: a male who is attracted to a female-to-male transgendered individual. What their sexuality is depends on their definition of their own sexuality.

Sexuality comes in more than three degrees: homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual. It even goes beyond the Kinsey scale. There are those who lean to one side for romance and another side for sexuality. There are those who are asexual, and those whom the gender has nothing to do with their level of attraction. There are those who are not attracted to humans at all, but something completely different. Sexuality is more than just two dots on a page, and cannot be defined in such narrow terms, nor is it really right for anyone to state that there is something wrong with one person's definition of their own sexuality. It is only wrong, in my opinion, when an individual tries to inform someone that their name for their own sexuality is wrong, unless that name is based off mistaken information.

As for the *definition* of homosexual, I find nothing wrong with it at all for the exact reason I say above: there are those homosexuals who *do* find themselves attracted to male-to-female individuals, and who are uninterested in female-to-male. I, myself, have experienced this many times. And equally, there are those who will be blind of what's between their legs, and will be only interested in what's between their ears. This does not make them less homosexual because they simply have their own flexible definitions for what is 'male' in their own mind, as the gender 'male' is partially arbitrary.

I agree with you that the relationship described *is* a heterosexual relationship, if the pair wish to describe it as such, but equally, I do not agree that this act of having a heterosexual relationship suddenly makes a homosexual person not homosexual. Unless they wish their sexuality to be termed something different.

Sexuality, when described in medical terms, is often related to the physical form. No one can ask the penguins, for instance, if one of the two males in a male-male pair-bond 'feels' like a female. Even the penguins may not know, or think of such things. They are only instinctively going for their interest. So considering homosexuality to be only defined on gender would just require a different term for the other members of the animal kingdom. For humans, who have the ability to define things in broader and wider terms, it is often better and easier to simply let one explain their own beliefs than to move to change the medical definition for such things.

TL;DR: my greater concern is not that the dictionary needs to change its terminology, but that human beings feel they need to pigeonhole sexuality down to two boxes on a sheet, instead of letting other human beings decide what they wish to define themselves as.

Thank you for your question! If you have further questions, comments, feedback, or follow-ups, feel free to ask!

Trey

Transgender/Transsexual

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Trey McGowan

Expertise

I am able to answer questions about transexual and transgender issues of many kinds, but in particular those tilted toward the FTM (Female-To-Male) transgender. I can offer tips for dressing, passing, binding, packing, behavior, and the like for both drag and full lifestyle/gender transition. I may also be able to offer some help with finding local peer groups, should you be interested in peer counseling. Sexuality issues, MTF (male-to-female), and other gender issues can also be touched on and I may be able to help, and for those who may be concerned, I am kink-friendly, and while I recognize that transgender and cross-dressing are two different things, am well aware of how they can intersect.

I am not a professional (I repeat: I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL!) but I can also offer some general peer counseling suggestions and help with finding groups for all branches of gender identification and sexuality. If you are in need of finding a professional, I may be able to find a name in your area to help.

Experience

I am personally FTM transgender, living full-time and accepting of my gender identity. I am nonsurgical, and have no desire to have them done (so am unable to offer personal experience these) though I have been on testosterone as of January 2012. I am well-accepted, well-supported, and have been a support for many individuals through the years.

I have been part of a number of groups, though moving has kept discussions to long distance since then. I am well-studied for a great many years in this area, having begun reading up on it when I first identified and having kept up on it since then. I have no medical credentials in the area of gender counseling but have been part of multiple peer counseling groups and to this day help educate where I can, having not only helped with offering information on the subject to fellow transgender individuals but educated professionals along the way through my personal experience.

Organizations
PFLAG Canada: Sarnia Branch (https://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/region-list-e.php?RegionNo=4)

Publications
The Transgender Project (http://www.thetransgenderproject.com/#!trey-mcgowan) Not writings, but videos. Part of a half-hour episode which will be airing on iChannel and OutTV.

Education/Credentials
I have completed grade school, some high school, and my GED.

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