Aren’t you just gay? If I had a pound for every time I had been asked that question I would have a self hosted blog that I write on from some sunny island that I own. That may be a little excessive, but honestly I hear it so often, it feels realistic. A lot of people don’t understand the concept of gender, of being trans or non-binary, therefore they try to liken it to the closest thing they can see – sexuality. I get the rationale, but honestly it couldn’t be further from the truth. Gender does not equal sexuality, a trans man is not just a lesbian that wants to be more butch, a trans woman is not a gay man who wants to be more femme, and a non-binary person is not the same as what you perceive to be a bisexual who ‘can’t make up their mind’.
When I first came out, I was introduced to this question. I had people ask why I couldn’t just be happy being a lesbian? But despite my assurances that I am actually bisexual anyway, they couldn’t understand it. This can be put a lot down to education, people are not taught the differences between sex and gender, let alone sexuality and gender, but it is important.
From the day I started to question my sexuality (which was before I questioned my gender) I knew I was attracted to men and masculinity. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian, purely based on that. So when I did start questioning my gender, it wasn’t so difficult because I knew that wasn’t me. However, I knew I also was not a bisexual woman, I just was a bisexual person. Things started to get more confusing after that, but I will be covering that more on Wednesday when the letter K is here, and I discuss ‘knowing’.
Gender does not equal sexuality, this is possibly best explained by the Genderbread person. In this diagram above, you can see that identity is completely separate from expression, attraction, and sex. If you look at the sliders on the side, they are all a scale, and there are infinite labels that can come from each. You can be a man, who presents femme, that has the biological sex of a female, who is bisexual. In the same way you could be a genderless person, who presents butch, who has the sex of a male and is attracted to nobody and identifies as asexual.
It is important to remember this when someone comes out to you, don’t go for the usual replies, be supportive. If you aren’t sure what that means, ask them what that means to them. Don’t make assumptions about their sexuality or gender, let them speak to you.
Have you ever encountered this issue? Either yourself or heard someone else say/be told it? Let me know in the comments. Did you know this was the case? Again let me know, I am always happy to engage in conversations with people. Good luck to all those in the A-Z Challenge, we are a week in now and still going strong!