A lot has changed this month. I came to a realization about myself that I think, on some level, I’ve always known but was afraid to accept. It’s likely that I’m asexual. I never felt comfortable with the term for two reasons. One, I wrongly believed that it meant I couldn’t have any sexual feelings or gratification at all. And two, it meant that I wasn’t “normal”, that I couldn’t have a fulfilling, loving relationship with a partner.
I still believe the second point. I’ve never met another asexual in person. But that’s fine. To be honest, I don’t prioritize a “love life”. I’m more interested in my hobbies, developing my skills, earning money, and spending time with animals, the small children in my life, and my family. I don’t even really like spending a lot of time with friends in person or anything. I’m basically an introvert who occasionally cosplays as an extrovert.
I realized I was asexual after reading the definition of it again. “Little or no sexual attraction.” I do have a little, but it’s fleeting. And the interest I have in sex is mostly theoretical. In practice, I just don’t enjoy myself. I enjoyed myself once, when I first became sexually active. When the novelty wore off, though, that was it. I stopped reaching any sort of satisfaction in bed with a man or woman after that. And trust me, I definitely put it to the test. Threesomes, kinky sex, vanilla sex, sex with partners I trusted, and sex with total strangers. I’ve explored this in depth and the result is always the same.
Sex isn’t for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t look at an attractive man and think he’s hot, of course. It doesn’t mean I don’t have fun by myself. It doesn’t mean I don’t imagine sexual scenarios or enjoy pornographic material. It just means that sex with another person is at best, underwhelming, and at worst, gross. It also doesn’t mean that I’ll never enjoy sex with another person, ever. Just that it’s a very rare occurrence and I’m not banking on it again. I’m not seeking sexual relationships anymore.
How does this tie into my gender identity? A small part of the reason for my transition, but not all of it, was that I thought that my lack of sexual desire was connected to my gender. I do enjoy myself more when I think of myself as a man with another man, after all. It was a reasonable deduction. And I do like my chosen name. I like being called “sir” and “bossman” and all that.
But a funny thing happened when I let myself accept that I was asexual. One, I had to rethink my gender. Was I still a trans man? How did this realization change my thoughts on my own gender? Part of me felt a sort of relief, because I’d given myself permission to never have sex again. I don’t have to be a sexual person anymore. And yes, on some level, I knew I was in control of that from the start. But society tells us that sex is what normal people want. The world tells us that’s the only way to be in a relationship and achieve happiness. If I wanted to be in a happy, fulfilling relationship, part of the transaction was sexual intercourse. That’s just the way it had to be.
But all of a sudden, that’s not part of it anymore. And when I remove sex from the equation, how important is it to me to start testosterone? How important is it to me to get top surgery? If someone calls me “ma’am”, do I have the same reaction? So last week, I bought a couple bras and dug out some of my old “girl clothes”. I went out in them (after a couple days of working up to it).
It was okay. I still wear a binder when I go out some days, along with my “boy clothes”. I’m not growing my hair out again, though. I like it short. But sometimes, I go out in bras and girl clothes, too. Sometimes I feel more “boyish” and other times I feel more “girlish”, so I now identify as genderfluid. I’m comfortable. Even if I’m wearing my binder and more masculine clothes and get called “ma’am”, it doesn’t bother me much if at all. It doesn’t matter if people clock me as male or female anymore. I’m the Great Big Book of Everything with everything inside and I’m happy.
I no longer need external validation to confirm who I am. Maybe that’s part of the allure for me, identifying as genderfluid. I spend less time frustrated that people misgender me. I hope that’s not what I’m doing. I don’t think it is, though. You can’t change how you feel or who you are at your core just because you want to make your life easier. If I was really a trans man (and not genderfluid), then I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from transitioning. I would need to transition after my egg cracked. This also explains my hesitation to start testosterone and my fourteen-month-long discussion with myself about whether or not I’m actually a trans man.
Most trans men or trans women are certain beyond a reasonable doubt shortly after their eggs crack, right? My struggle for this long tells me that maybe I didn’t quite hit the nail on the head with my first theory. And that’s okay, because gender identity is a journey. It’s okay to not get the answer right away or to think you know something about yourself and be a little off target.
Admittedly, it would have been easier for me to come to the correct conclusion if I’d gotten the support I needed right away. I’m a very stubborn person, so I tend to double down when people push back. If everyone around me had just called me “Luke” and used he/him pronouns, maybe these fourteen months would have been six or eight. Reconsidering my gender was in the back of my head in June, too, but I didn’t let myself ruminate on it, because “I TOLD YOU SO” kept drowning it out. I turned away from reconsidering my gender, because if I was wrong, I just proved certain people right, didn’t I? They were right not to respect me, if it turned out I wasn’t a trans man.
The point? We need to always support people when they come out. Even if you’re an ultra-conservative, mega-Christian type, not supporting people’s gender or sexual orientation does harm. If I wasn’t strong enough to remind myself that the threat of “I TOLD YOU SO” wasn’t acceptable criteria to base this decision on, I might have been three months on testosterone right now. Not everyone is that strong, so be fucking kind.
Especially to young (25 and younger) questioning people, because their prefrontal cortexes (the decision-making part of the brain) aren’t completely developed yet. I’m not saying they can’t make the decision to transition or that they don’t know who they are. I’m saying that if they’re questioning, that “I TOLD YOU SO” might push them into a decision that isn’t right for them.
Love and support will always be the right answer. Always support anyone who comes out to you.