Which way to face?

What, then of orientation? No. Not north-south stuff. Don’t be silly!

I mean sexual orientation. A friend (not the one with the unusual view on anatomy, as per previous post) has been expressing to me her own frustrations at being currently single and unpartnered. I rather think she “needs a man” – if only occasionally – and she has been trying to explain to me what it is about that particular species (sorry, gender!) she finds attractive.

Various features seem to crop up, not just with her, but with other hetero women: the smell, the feel, the bristliness, the strength. Even – though this one is beyond me! – the intellectual approach. And almost without exception I can put a large bold “x” against each and every item on the list.

I’m not keen on how men smell, feel, move, dress. I’m not keen on men, period – though perhaps not quite as alienated from the gender as I was a year ago. I like, and in the past, have liked, men who are very effeminate: soft, long hair, curly lashes. If anything, though, that feels as though it underlines the fact that I remain steadfastly oriented, sexually, towards women.

Will that change? Stats suggest that some proportion of trans women “re-orient” at some point in their transition: though whether that is a true re-orientation, or simply an outing of what was always there, beneath the surface, is hard to tell.

I don’t feel as though I am going to. But how would I know in advance? I know I am that much more sensitive to smell nowadays and, if men started to smell nice, I think that would make me re-think my ways a bit.

Julie Bindel, scourge of trans women, has also pissed off many in the lesbian community by arguing that sexuality – and hence lesbianism – is a choice. In her case, based on a particular politics: but a choice nonetheless.

I may not see eye to eye with Ms Bindel on trans issues: but I can see her point that sexuality is not necessarily some determinist fact of nature. Indeed, I think that the Gay movement does itself great harm in responding to jibes of “unnaturalness” by working over-hard to show a biological basis for sexual orientation (though that’s a whole other topic).

Is it possible, therefore that some men, some women, orient not because they are naturally gay, bi or heterosexual – but because social pressure amongst their peer group makes it easier to fit one orientation as opposed to another? No idea – though it does raise some interesting speculation for myself.

Might I just find it easier, post-op, to re-orient? To bring men into my life as sexual partners? Haven’t the faintest, although at this moment, it does feel as though the most likely answer is no.

There are just two reasons for thinking that it might ever be otherwise: first, that my friend is but one of a few women I know who are quite enthusiastic about the proposition. Clearly they think I would be happier if I discovered the joy of sex with a bloke and, whilst not exactly evangelistic about it, are definitely very positive.

Second, more amusing, is the way I find men reacting to me. Definitely so much more flirting than before – especially where there are no clues to my trans status (I get a lot of e-mail from readers of my mainstream scribblings). Flirts, and knowing comments, and compliments and…well, all manner of stuff I never dreamed went on. Or maybe I sort of was aware of it, but from the other side.

Definitely nice to be on the receiving end.

So its an issue I’ll shelve for now. I think I know the answer but, if transition has told me anything, it is that things we thought we knew all too often turn out to be mirage. Time will tell.



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lucy Melford said,

    Much as I feel at the moment. I’d say it’s best to keep all doors open, and see how things turn out.

    I will say that you can’t help noticing men. It may be because you need to be wary of them, and therefore aware of them. But maybe there’s something else.

    I rather think you DO tend to conform to other people’s expectations. Is less bother to go with the flow. No explanations needed, no raised eyebrows, and the man isn’t confused. It must be easier than finding a woman. And it might even feel just right.

    But like anyone determined to retain their independence, any man who takes the remotest interest in me must understand that I need my space, I must have control, and I don’t accept bad manners.


  2. 2

    kerri said,

    Good for you lucy….I like the last paragraph…)

  3. 3

    Simon mcg said,

    Wouldn’t Andrea have something to say about it!

    • 4

      andrea said,

      Don’t worry Simon its something thats had plenty of talk time at home. I don’t think people can choose their sexual orientation. Its a relatively small percentage who do change orientation with transition and even if she does I don’t think Jane will go ‘all the way’ and just go for men.

      At some point she’ll have a brand new expensive bit of ‘kit’ though and I’m perfectly happy for her to go forth and try it out.

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