If a heterosexual guy finds himself attracted to a non- or pre-operative trans chick, is he gay?
The vast majority of people I interact with routinely inquire about this whenever I tell them that I have a date with a guy, or that I am in a relationship with one. Sometimes they ask in a crafty, underhanded fashion. Other times, the question is point-blank: "Is he gay?"
The guys I go out with self-identify as straight. In fact, a number of them were in heterosexual marriages previously and fathered kids. Yet, they are attracted to me. And this happens a lot. Meaning, it's widespread and common -- at least in my experience.
For instance, I started an account on a dating site a few months ago, and I received tons of messages (literally hundreds) from self-proclaimed hetero men in my community, ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s, who were open to going out with me, despite the fact that my profile stated up front that I was a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual. Some of the online contact materialized into offline dates. And rarely were the dating site inquiries from rude dorks who merely wanted to explore a sexual fantasy.
Most people tend to believe that guys who consider themselves straight are somehow straying from their self-identified sexual orientation when they go after trans chicks. Is this the case? In my opinion, there are two ways of examining this question:
- Redefining heterosexual -- Maybe in reality what these guys are doing is expanding the definition of the word heterosexual. Because, what does heterosexual mean, after all? According to the American Heritage College dictionary, it means: 1. Sexually oriented to persons of the opposite sex. 2. Of or relating to different sexes. And according to the New World College Dictionary, it means: 1. Of or characterized by sexual desire for those of the opposite sex. 2. Of different sexes.
Do either of those definitions mention body parts? No. The fact that there is such a thing as gender identity means that the definition of heterosexual (as stated in the dictionary) is pretty abstract and flexible.
- Rethinking all orientation labels -- At one point I was dating a guy who identified as gay. And he couldn't understand his attraction to me. It genuinely bothered him that his label no longer fully adhered. Is the answer that he should have slapped a big old "bi" label on himself? Is that the answer for the hetero guys, as well? Or should they adopt the label "heteroflexible"?
Does any label fit? I mean, how many people are really 100 percent of their stated orientation? I happen to believe that there's always a little wiggle room. The question is merely how much wiggle room. Maybe it's 5 percent for some people, or 0.5 percent, or 25 percent. Or maybe it's a certain percentage under one set of circumstances and a different percentage entirely under another set of circumstances. For instance, being exposed to certain situations or people who spark something inside of you that you didn't know existed.
It really does get complex. I for one am increasingly losing all faith in orientation labels. They can be restrictive, unrealistic and divisive. In fact, when someone asks me what my orientation is, I am more and more inclined to preface my reply with, "I'm human." And then I elaborate, perhaps by explaining what sort of relationship I'm in at the moment, or who or what I tend to go after.