I couldn’t find myself and if you don’t see yourself, it’s impossible to find yourself
Who is Finlay?
Finlay is a transgender recovery writer and blogger who, after battling through his addiction, found a space in which to share his journey and help others along the way.
After discovering there was a severe lack of representation of the older, trans community online, he set up his YouTube channel. This, along with his blog are his way of paying it forward and helping others realise they too can rewrite their stories and go on to live their lives in the best way possible.
Whatever you’re facing you have the ability to recover and build a life for yourself
I came out as transgender in 2010 and began my medical transition soon after. A few years later, in 2018, I realised I was attracted to men, and I came out as gay. My being both transgender and gay often causes people a lot of confusion. I receive questions such as, “Did the hormones turn you gay?” Or, “So this means your boyfriend must be bisexual?” And my favourite, “Why did you even bother to transition if you were going to date men?” In the following blog, I will answer these questions and explore some of the common myths in gender identity and sexual attraction
Hormones Do Not Cause Your Sexuality to Change
One of the most common myths is that the process of taking hormones changes a person’s sexual attraction. This myth has arisen because there are several people who, post-transition, end up being attracted to a different gender than pre-transition. There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that hormones change sexual attraction. The more likely cause and one I relate to, in that gender transition allows you to be comfortable in your own skin.
When you don’t first know who you are, it can feel impossible to then work out who you are attracted to. Additionally, when your body causes you pain and distress, it is impossible to enjoy being intimate with others. I bounced around, dating both men and women and neither gender felt right. Pre transition, everyone I dated treated and responded to me as female. Although I didn’t understand why at the time, this caused me a huge amount of distress. Now, of course, I realise this distress was gender dysphoria, arising because I was male, with a female appearing body.
Now that my body matches my gender identity, people are responding to me correctly, as the man I am. In turn, this has helped me to feel comfortable in my body and to realise that it is men I am attracted to. This is the reason why, once transition brings a sense of peace, people can then explore and discover their true sexual attraction.
Gender Identity and Sexuality are Separate Things
I think the main reason many people struggle to understand how transgender people can be gay is that gender and sexuality often get confused. Gender is who you identify as, whereas sexuality, is about the way you are attracted to others. Cisgender people (those people whose gender identity matches the one they were assigned at birth) can feel attracted to others in various ways, straight, gay, bisexual, A-sexual and so on. This is the same for transgender people.
To illustrate, I am transgender because my gender identity differs from the gender I was assigned at birth. I identify as male and have transitioned so that my body now matches my male identity. In my sexual orientation, I am sexually attracted to other men. Two men being attracted to each other is labelled as gay. Therefore, I am a transgender gay man.
Dating a Trans Person Does Not Make You Bisexual
Another common myth is that anyone dating a transgender person must be bisexual. Dating a transgender person does not make you bisexual. The only thing that makes you bisexual is if you have an attraction towards men and women. I think the reason people assume this, is because they mistakenly think that a trans persons previous assigned gender identity is still relevant. It isn’t. I am a man. The way I understand it is that I have always been male, I just had to transition my body to match.
This comment has been directed at my boyfriend during our time dating and quite rightly, he was insulted! Of course, there is nothing wrong with being bisexual, but my boyfriend is not. He has never dated a woman and has no desire to. I am a man and so my boyfriend’s sexuality remains unchanged, he is gay, not bisexual.
Body Parts and The Way Bodies Work Does Not Define your Gender
Another common myth is that being attracted to a trans person is a separate sexuality because our bodies are different. Our gender identities exist in ourselves, not in our body parts. Everyone’s body is different, trans people do not have the monopoly on this. Every time we date someone new, we must discover if they make us tick or not. If they do, we then must learn their bodies, what they like, personal issues they may have and so on. This is all part of the process of getting to know someone and being trans is no different. If you don’t get on with someone sexually, you just go your separate ways. If you are attracted to each other, you adapt and make it work.
You Cannot Avoid Being Gay by Not Going Through Gender Transition
The most common question I am asked when people discover I am both trans and gay is, “Why did you bother to transition if you were going to date men, surely it would have been easier to stay female?” There are a few separate issues with this question.
The first issue is that I, like many people, see myself as always being this gender. It was my body that I changed, to match my pre-existing male gender. The second issue is the underlying prejudice in this question. The implication is that being straight is preferable to being gay, which of course, it isn’t. The third issue is that if I had stayed female, I would have attracted straight men. A straight man would have treated me like a woman because that would be how my body would look. My gender identity has always been male and so having someone respond to me in a way that classes me as female, was a hugely painful thing for me. I had to transition, so that my body matched and so that I attracted the people that treat me like the man I am.
Trans People Are the Same as Cis People, Only With Different Body Histories
The best way, to understand how trans people can be gay, is to think of trans people as the same as cis people, because we are! We each have the same questions and struggles when it comes to understanding ourselves.
For example, it is not just trans folk who might struggle with working out their sexuality. It’s still common to worry about coming out as gay or bisexual, for trans and cis people alike. Additionally, it’s not just trans people’s sexuality which changes over time, this can happen for cisgender people too.
We all need to work out who we are before we can truly work out who we are attracted to. The only real difference is that for trans people, we often first have to fix our body to match who we truly are.
This article features
He / Him | Eastbourne | Blogger / Youtuber / Writer
Finlay Games is a Blogger, Youtuber, Writer and Speaker. He shares candid, practical advice on mental health, recovery, gender transition and LGBTQI+ life. From the perspective of a transgender, gay man, Finlay shares passionately about helping people to recover their life and rewrite their story.