I love transgendered people. Does that mean I'm gay?
Dear Totally Lost,
Sexual orientation is so uniquely personal. I don't think there is one right answer here. In fact, I have more questions than answers.
You say you love transgendered people. How do you define love? Is it an emotional fondness, or does sexual attraction come into play? Is there someone specific? Is that person the same gender as you?
If this is the first time you're sexually attracted to someone of the same gender, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're gay. Perhaps this person has qualities you've never found in another person, and his or her gender — or physical appeal — is secondary. Or maybe you're confusing admiration with attraction.
You don't have to be sexually active with someone to determine your sexuality. Nor do one or two sexual encounters with someone of the same gender mean that you're gay or bisexual — those can be isolated experiences based on a connection you have with that specific person.
Everyone realizes their gender identity or sexual orientation in their own time. I have friends who knew they were gay when they were children, and others who only discovered their true orientation as adults. It's not my place — or anyone else's — to label you as gay, straight, bi or anything in between. It's up to you to discover and develop.
How would you feel about experimenting with these feelings? Exploring and taking chances can help you better understand and recognize your sexual orientation, even if it's something you thought you had all figured out. Next time you meet someone you're attracted to who is transgendered, ask him or her out and see where it goes.
Whatever you discover, remember this: Only you can label yourself — and it doesn't matter what it is or when you do. The important thing is that you're comfortable and confident about who you are. The people in your life who matter and who care for you will still be there. And then you can start living the life you were meant to.