Question about gender change

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lougle Sun 06-Apr-14 20:48:14

If someone is making a transition to one gender from another, what does their sexuality relate to - their original gender, or their new one?

For instance, if a man is transitioning to become a woman, and is attracted to women, would that make them 'straight' or 'gay'?

If a woman is transitioning to become a man, and is attracted to women, would he then be 'straight' or 'gay'?

I'm likely to have to explain 'gender change' to my children, but it occurred to me that I really don't understand the 'gender' part of it at all.

I understand the physical processes and the medical timeline, etc. (ie. live as new gender for x period, medication, initial reassignment surgery, final reassignment surgery), but I don't understand how someone who has had gender reassignment would identify their sexuality.

I hope I haven't offended anyone - I may not have used the right terminology and may have been clumsy in the way I've asked the question.

gordyslovesheep Sun 06-Apr-14 20:51:48

a transgender person is the gender they are becoming - so a woman who was born a man and fancies men is a woman who fancies men etc

cardamomginger Sun 06-Apr-14 20:54:19

Seems most logical that their sexuality relates to their current identity (that includes their gender). So the male to female person who remains attracted to women, is lesbian. And the female to male person who remains attracted to women is straight.

kim147 Sun 06-Apr-14 20:58:25

A transwoman who fancies men is straight.

People who are trans identify with the gender they are.

fluffyraggies Sun 06-Apr-14 20:58:26

I would have thought it related to their original gender, as the transition is physical, not mental, IYSWIM? Only the outward appearance is changing - not the sexual preference.

<could well be wrong>

I've heard that "sex" is what parts you were born with but "gender" is what you identify with.
I would say that a man who is to become a woman and fancies men is straight but that's just what I would think, I have no expertise in the matter. I know Eddie izzard (the transvestite) often refers to himself as a "male lesbian".

gordyslovesheep Sun 06-Apr-14 21:00:33

I think people confuse Gender with Sexuality

people fancy who they fancy - they change gender - they still fancy who they fancy

it's society that needs to label people gay/straight etc

TiggyKBE Sun 06-Apr-14 21:02:15

Does it really matter if you call them straight or gay?

A transwoman (Male to female (wrong but easy to understand)) who likes women would be a lesbian, if they like men they would be straight. Easier to call them Susan. Unless their name is Claire, in which case call them Claire.

Many would disagree.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Sun 06-Apr-14 21:04:50

Gender and sexuality are different, and it's a bit off to think that a woman who is attracted to woman is somehow not really gay if she was born male. It's not all that complicated, and trans people can be gay in their transitioned identity, and it doesn't mean they aren't really whatever their post transition gender is.

puddock Sun 06-Apr-14 21:19:35

It might help to think beyond binaries of straight/gay and male/female. I'm cis, but have a number of trans friends, all of whom would regard themselves as "queer" both before and after transitioning -and would certainly resist being labelled as "straight", even if e.g. a transman was sexually interested in women.

I'm aware that not all transpeople feel the same way, but the experience of these friends is definitely what would inform my conversations with my children about gender and sexuality, IYSWIM. People fancy who they fancy indeed - love is a many-gendered thing ;)

PolterGoose Sun 06-Apr-14 21:21:40

Don't forget that sex and gender are not interchangeable, sex is biology (male/female) and gender is culture (masculine/feminine).

extremepie Sun 06-Apr-14 21:25:40

Everything, difference with Eddie Izzard is that he is a transvestitie not a transsexual, he fancies women (so is straight) but just happens to like looking/dressing like a woman, hence the male lesbian comment! He does not want to change gender, he is happy being male and he says most transvestites are the same :D

almondcake Sun 06-Apr-14 21:28:57

I think there are two parts to this, first the sexuality question and second your description of what a transgender person is.

If somebody defines themselves as a woman and they are attracted to women, they are a lesbian, as other posters have said.

A transgender person is a person who was assigned a sex at birth by the doctor/midwife, but in their mind they feel that they are the opposite gender. They do not have to go through any kind of surgery, or intend to go through any kind of surgery, or want any kind of surgery, to be transgender. Many transgender people do not have any kind of dysphoria about their body. A person assigned as a woman, who thinks of himself as a man, is a transgender man who wants to be referred to as a man, regardless of whether or not he has a desire to change his body.

lougle Sun 06-Apr-14 21:44:47

"Don't forget that sex and gender are not interchangeable, sex is biology (male/female) and gender is culture (masculine/feminine)."

I thought that, Polter, until I worked in a NICU. When a baby was born with elements of both sex organs, I thought they would do a karyotype check and the result would determine the sex. Instead I was told that the baby would be a boy if there was enough tissue to form a functioning penis (defined as: can stand against a wall and pee) and if not, a girl. I was shock

lougle Sun 06-Apr-14 21:48:16

Thanks, almondcake. So you're saying that a person becomes transgendered the moment they consciously identify as the opposite gender, regardless of whether they obtain an outward bodily appearance of that sex.

lougle Sun 06-Apr-14 21:50:11

In which case, sexual preference is irrelevant to my issue, which will make it easier to explain to my child.

withextradinosaurs Sun 06-Apr-14 21:59:54

almond, how would that work in, for example, a female changing room? Does your explanation suggest that a person who is physically a man but says "I identify as a woman" shoukd be entitled to use those facilities?

withextradinosaurs Sun 06-Apr-14 22:00:41

Sorry, "was physically assigned as a man" rather than "is"

Grennie Sun 06-Apr-14 22:27:51

Just wanted to add that there are differences of opinion amongst Trans people. Some Trans people think body dysphoria is necessary to be transgender, some don't. The definition of transgender used to be much narrower. It has widened in very recent years. Not all Trans people are happy about this If you go on Tumblr for example, you will see many disagreements amongst Trans people about what is necessary to be Trans.

Not relevant to the OP, but I just felt it was unfair to give the impression that there is only one view about this amongst Trans people.

There is also disputes in the lesbian and gay community, as to whether a MtoF can ever be a lesbian, particularly if they still have their penis and have no intention of ever having surgery. Only 75-80% of MtoF have genital surgery. Similarly there are many gay men who would not consider a FtoM as a gay man because they rarely have a penis (the surgery is at a very rudimentary stage, and thus only about 3% of FtoM have a penis construction).

Of course there are also many lesbian and gay people who do accept Trans people as lesbian or gay, including whether they have had any genital surgery or not.

However, this is a very controversial issue and there certainly isn't just one view.

lougle Sun 06-Apr-14 22:43:36

Thanks. I think given my DD's learning difficulties I'll just stick to 'some people are told they are a boy when they're young, but when they get older they decide they want to live as a girl'.

This thread has confirmed that there really is no simple answer.

Grennie Sun 06-Apr-14 22:46:00

Sorry not suggesting you say all of that to your DD.

traininthedistance Sun 06-Apr-14 23:24:34

*"Don't forget that sex and gender are not interchangeable, sex is biology (male/female) and gender is culture (masculine/feminine)."

I thought that, Polter, until I worked in a NICU. When a baby was born with elements of both sex organs, I thought they would do a karyotype check and the result would determine the sex. Instead I was told that the baby would be a boy if there was enough tissue to form a functioning penis (defined as: can stand against a wall and pee) and if not, a girl.*

Yes - though the distinction between sex = biological sex and gender = cultural construction of masculinity or femininity still stands, a lot of recent gender theory (eg. by Judith Butler) has been interested in how the connections between them aren't always as you'd expect - eg. it's normally thought that biological sex is fundamental and cultural gender sort of sits on top of it - but actually there are times when culture (ie. the idea of what makes an adequate own is for a man, and what he should be able to do with it) shapes and informs how biological sex is constructed - the way intersex people are assigned one "biological" sex or the other is often a case in point.

traininthedistance Sun 06-Apr-14 23:25:40

*penis, not own is! My autocorrect is particularly prudish today....

Grennie Sun 06-Apr-14 23:33:38

train - There is a big movement amongst intersex people for that kind of surgery not to happen to babies or children. It often causes lots of problems when people are adults, including sexual dysfunction. That kind of surgery proves nothing, except the tendency of some medical professionals to act like God.

The intersex community are pushing for no baby to have surgery of this kind, and for it instead to be left up to adults, or at least much older children, to make the decision themselves.

beanella Sun 06-Apr-14 23:41:55

Grennie, I think it's easier for people to say that Transexual people are medically transitioning and have gender dysphoria, and transgender people are everything else.

So - if someone is having a sex change, surgery etc AND reject their birth assigned gender, they are under the Transexual umbrella. i.e SEX organs, biological sexual transition.

If someone is Transgender, they are changing the SOCIAL/CULTURAL gender, i.e the view of the world as to who they are is dominant above the view that their sex organs are inappropriate/wrong etc and need to be aligned with who they are.

It is hugely insulting for a Transexual women to be compared with a cross dresser like liily savage etc

It is hugey insulting for a transexual man to be considered the same as the person that chose to live as male, took hormones then became pregnant.

Crude examples but what i mean is that the identity of a transexual person is very different to the identity of a transgender person. One is outright rejecting their birth assigned gender and only identifies as male/female. Transgender is more ambiguious.

Hence all the anger in the 'transcommunity' which itself is a ridiculous notion really.

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