Sexolve 77: ‘Are There Transgender Men? What Gender Am I?’
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Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on The Quint.
If you have any problems, doubts or queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, which you can’t seem to deal with, or need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to email@example.com.
This week’s Q&As below:
‘I Am Attracted to Men, but Not Sexually, What Is My Sexuality?’
I'm a 26-year-old guy in a constant identity crisis, because I'm still not clear about my sexuality. I've always been a shy/docile person, and never really gave much thought to what my sexual preference was during my adolescence. I just never felt 'normal' somehow, as I used to be more comfortable with girls around me than boys. I was constantly teased for being 'feminine' during childhood. Probably, I was ignoring my own thoughts about liking guys or just pushing them aside subconsciously, I don't know. And while in college, I liked some girls too, but I wasn't attracted to them sexually. And now, I think that I like guys, but I don't feel like having sex with them either. But I do notice guys more than the girls. At times, I keep looking at images of well built male models from the US. But does that mean I'm gay? I know it sounds really confusing, but that's what I am – confused about my sexuality.
Nobody has ever asked me out, and neither have I gotten into any “relationship”, so it makes it all the more difficult for me to figure this out. I told some of my friends about this, they've advised me to try online dating, have some experience, and see for myself, but the idea of online dating seems really scary to me. I keep getting these thoughts about me never going to find out about myself, and these thoughts have become so prominent in the past few months that I am unable to focus on the other aspects of my life like building my career, etc. Plus, I am disliking myself with each passing day because of this.
To be able to go ahead in life, it's very important for us to know who we are, right? And love from another individual just gives us more confidence to go on in life. So I need to know these aspects about me to be at peace. Could you help me out with this?
Troubled Boy, Chennai
Dear Troubled Boy,
Thank you for sharing something so private with me. It is remarkable that you are able to articulate what you feel so well. I will not beat around the bush and get straight to the question you asked. Sexuality is not black and white, it is a whole spectrum. I mean, there are men who are attracted to men, they could then classify themselves as gay. If they feel affection of the romantic nature with men and another gender, they could call themselves bisexual.
Only you can tell what your sexuality is. No counsellor, no scientist, no one else other than you. Here are a few facts that may help you in your path of self discovery.
- It is not a rule that males who are feminine are gay. It is possible that they could be heterosexual or bisexual or any other sexuality.
- Heterosexual men can get attracted to men too. This attraction may be non-sexual, more than being with him, one may want to be like him. The inner talk could be –“let me become like him”, or “he has got such good qualities”, or “he smells so good, damn he gets so much attention.” Just as some women admire other women.
- It is okay if one fluctuates in terms of fluidity of sexual attractions.
- Some could also be bisexual, where one is capable of loving someone from their own gender, and someone from another gender. Or in better words, they could love someone regardless of the person's gender.
- sometimes, sexual attractions take time to develop. It may be prudent to examine one’s wet dreams/things they think of when they masturbate. That may help one understand their sexuality.
“Queer” is an identity that is used for people who are not “normative”, neither in terms of what is defined as a heterosexual, nor exactly the way one would define homosexual.
While some in the world may insultingly define them as “ambiguous”, they would rather call them as “not subscribing to the so called norms that define gender or/and sexuality”. At this point of your life, if I was you, I would call myself Queer and Questioning.
You should allow yourself to feel what you feel. And you should know that sometimes it is good to not confine your sexuality or your gender to wordy definitions. With time, you may understand what you feel strongly to suit yourself as you please. And that definition may also change with time.
‘I Have Reduced Sexual Desire’
Well, it seems that my sexual desire in the past few months has reduced. I am 23 currently, and I can't figure out why this is happening. Hope you could help me out.
Lost The Rhythm, Mumbai
Dear Lost The Rhythm,
Sexual desires fluctuate with time. It may be work pressure. It may be the desire to build a career. It may also be the maturity or the experience in sex that may lead to some sort of complacency with it.
Remember that sometimes, familiarity breeds contempt, even in sexual relations. If you have an active consulting adult sexual partner, try something new. Go out on a vacation. Try a new position.
Innovation is not just about flying cars, it is also about new sexual ways. Add spice to your sex life. Innovate.
And if there are days when you feel low sexually, it is perfectly okay. Everyday is not a Sunday.
‘Are There Transgender Men?’
I am a 24-year-old girl. Ever since I have known, I have never liked anything feminine. I have been the goonda in school. People call me Bhai, and I feel like dressing up as a man all the time. Also, I have no interest in men. Someone told me that I am a transgender. But how can that be. Transgender persons are those who want to be female. I am a lesbian I guess, because I love women. Who am I in terms of gender? Please tell me. This is killing me. Could you help me?
Thank you for sharing this with me. Transgender persons are not just males who feel like a female, and the only way that they could feel better is to change themselves into female. The vice versa is also true. A girl/woman could feel like she belongs to the wrong body and would want to be a man. She may choose to be addressed as “He”, despite having female body parts. Or she may even choose to have a sexual reassignment surgery, and actually synchronise the fact that she feels like a woman and actually be a woman, in terms of body parts. They are called “Transgender Male” or “Trans Man”
Also it is possible that one’s traits may be masculine, but she may choose to not identify as a male person at all. It is okay to be a bhai, but tell people that you’re a woman.
Speaking about sexuality. One could be a woman and love a woman, one could be a woman who is now a man and still love women.
Only one person can define this for you. You, Yourself.
I hope the above explanation helps you in some way.
(The text and the location has been edited to protect the identity of the people. You can send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)
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