I get this question from time to time and often I have a hard time answering. My issue is that language doesn’t allow me the latitude for a simple answer. I think that sometimes language, or labels and definitions limit ourselves as we try to put people into imaginary boxes created by terminology. To answer the original question I explain my likes and dislikes and let you decide.
Gender vs. Sex
Gender presentation and gender expression are not the same as sexual orientation or sexual attraction. Often these terms get mixed up, though. I think that changing my gender expression from presenting male to presenting female is confusing enough for the majority of people. In some cases people have assumed that if I am presenting female, I must be attracted to men. Sure, we could grossly generalize that females (gender) are attracted (sexual orientation) to males and the other way around, but we all know that is not always the case.
I am attracted to females. As I like to say, I like girls and I don’t like boys; that’s always been the case. I’m attracted to femininity, soft skin, gentle touch, and the feminine quality.
Once a trans girl asked me “so before [transition], you were a gay guy, right?”. Wrong. This girl assumed I was attracted to guys, but that has never been the case. I was always a heterosexual guy. Funny side note about assumptions, though. Based on her question I then assumed that before her own transition she had been a gay guy attracted to dudes. I never asked her but maybe I should have.
Did Hormones Change Your Sexual Attraction / Orientation?
No, not at all for me. I’m still attracted to women just as always. If anything probably my views have shifted, but not my sexual attraction or orientation. I now have a much more complete appreciation of women and their femininity. Also I have an appreciation of letting go and follow a fluid situation. This due to my own personal experiences both presenting female and being now more involved in the women’s point of view.
Having said all this, while presenting female I’ve had a few intimate situations with men. It’s not that hormones are changing my attraction or orientation. It’s that since presenting female and breaking my own barriers, now I allow myself to experiment where otherwise I would have refrained. Put it this way: before presenting female I would have never been in a situation with another guy. I wouldn’t be in such a situation firstly because I’ve never been interested in men and I never did anything that would be attractive to other men. There was never an intention or need or curiosity for that. Quite the opposite. As a heterosexual guy I was not even curious, much less interested in intimacy with another dude. Even if there had been the slightest bit of curiosity, the “what would others think” would have prevented me. But now I do present in a way that would attract some guys’ attention. I’m willing to experiment with that attention, and now I don’t care much if people judge me for that. If I cared what people think, they could just say “there is nothing that can shock me anymore coming from Franches”.
So, How Was It?
For the better part it was fun. It’s nice being the centre of attention and not “having to deliver”. For some reason guys put a lot of pressure on themselves “to deliver”, “to perform well”. The attention and being on the receiving end of that attention is really nice. To give an example, imagine a couple going for dinner. Typically the guy would choose the place, drive there, and pay for the evening. (Typically) the girl wouldn’t have to worry about any of that. That’s what I mean by being on the receiving end. Similar thing in an intimate situation where I got to enjoy what would be the guy’s performance.
Even with the nice experience of getting the attention, experiencing a bunch of new sensations and overall enjoying the whole thing, being intimate with a guy is not something that I’m really attracted to. I cannot stand the roughness of facial hair, the male body odour or a number of other male characteristics. No.
Being with a girl presenting female is totally different. I felt a shared responsibility to both perform and receive at the same time. It is definitely a more even or equitable situation. It’s a bit more work than simply receiving and much less pressure than having to perform. The soft and slow touch by both persons is so nice. There is a two way connection instead of mostly one way. The sounds and scents are much softer, even melodic.
I do believe that language sometimes makes things harder than they need to be. If we apply labels and definitions I’m both gay and straight. I’ve seen how some people get very confused trying to fit my situation into words, or labels, or normal language. I don’t think I and many other people fit into the typical boxes and that’s ok because we don’t have to.
If as a guy I always liked girls, then that would make me straight. But if as a girl or presenting female I’m attracted to girls, then I’m gay, a lesbian. But my gender markers are all male and my gender presentation is female then I am… See? It gets confusing when we try to apply language labels and general definitions to me.
If we remove labels, definitions, and language, then it’s very simple, or at least it’s simple to me. I like and I’m attracted to girls and femininity, and I also allow myself experimentation.
So, Are You Gay or Not?
Going back to the limitations of language, no, I don’t consider myself gay. But if you perceive me to be gay after reading this, then I’m gay to you. I don’t get offended if you think of me as gay or straight. What matters to me is knowing what I’m attracted to and what I like, and that if I don’t know, I have the option of experimenting.