Am I Gay?
Anyone who frequents places where chasers hang out will see this question asked over, and over, and over, and over, and over…
“Am I gay?”
My quick and dirty answer is:
“Why does it matter?”
Like most things, this is complicated. It’s also usually not a good question to ask a trans woman, at least not this tans woman. You see, I have no investment in maintaining a chaser’s homophobia. On the other hand, I have even less investment in ungendering myself. A “Yes” answer means I’m actually a big liar and I’m really a guy. A “No” answer implies there is something wrong with being gay or perceived as gay and I will not enable that line of thought.
I know some gals who will always answer “Yes”. They figure society will see them as gay and the sooner they get through this particular bump (if they ever do) the better off they will be. There is some truth to this – at some point a guy dating a trans woman will probably be called “a fag”. If he isn’t comfortable and strong enough to handle this, he’s in for a pretty bad time and will likely not be able to maintain a relationship beyond a casual sex-thing.
I also know gals who feel that the answer is always “No”. They are women, the guys are attracted to them and their femininity. Gay men are not attracted to trans women, so only straight guys are. Their answers are always peppered with assurances and validation for the guys. If the guy isn’t sure in his sexual identity, then he won’t be sure in a trans woman’s gender identity.
This question is at the root of much of that chaser angst and ultimately verbal and physical abuse leveled at trans women. It’s a loaded question with no good answer. I understand why this question gets asked but none of the answers are very good or completely true depending on the guy.
There is a third answer that isn’t very good either. Saying “I choose not to label myself” is a mark of a privileged place in society. Society marks those who are seen as different, having no label or imposed identity is either unrealistic or privileged (probably both). I don’t have the luxury of being “just a person” – in some situations I cannot avoid being marked as trans. The only way a man who dates me can avoid also being marked, is to deny or distance himself from our relationship.
While I may feel like I’m “just another woman in the world” and largely I simply exist where this is true, there will always be times when I am either forced or choose to disclose my status. This means there is a good chance I’ll be seen as a “dude” by those around me and by extension, the guy I’m with will be seen as gay. A man who dates a trans woman needs to be aware that some portion of his identity/image is just as fragile as that of the woman he is with.
Am I gay?
I think if you need to ask, you already know the answer…