Separating Gender Identity from Sexuality

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What is Sexuality?

Sexuality refers to who you are sexually attracted to. More crudely, it means who you want to have sex with. If you’re heterosexual, it means you’re sexually attracted to people whose gender is different from your own. If you’re homosexual, it means you’re attracted to people whose gender is the same as your own.

What is Gender Identity?

Gender identity refers to how you identify as a person. It has nothing to do with who you want to have sex with, so let’s set that aside. If your identity aligns with your biological sex, then you are considered cisgender. Being called cisgender is not a slur. It’s just a way to differentiate from other gender identities. The majority of people are cisgender.

Does Gender Identity Affect Sexuality?

As I stated earlier, gender identity has nothing to do with a person’s sexuality, although it can affect the label we use. I will use myself as an example. I was born biologically female, but I identify as male. This makes me a transgender man. For decades I lived as a woman because I didn’t think I had any other choice. When it comes to my sexuality, I am only attracted to men. For years, people saw me as a woman who dated men and married a man. So, I was viewed as heterosexual, or in the more common vernacular, straight.

Should Sexuality be Discussed with Gender Identity?

Yes and no. It really depends on the context of the conversation. If the entire focus is on gender identity and the transgender community, then I don’t think it’s appropriate to fixate on anyone’s sexuality. Being transgender has nothing to do with what we do, or don’t do, in the bedroom. It is my hope that people will eventually understand that.

Transgender writer and author. I primarily write on LGBTQ issues, with a focus on the transgender community. http://glbalend.com/

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