I used to think to myself — no “guy” would be attracted to someone like me. so I cut off that part of my sexual identity...until recently. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
the messages I received about gender, sexuality, and relationships told me there was a slim chance I would find a guy who was attracted to a girl who felt partially like a guy. Looking back on exploring my sexuality, I realize how much of that process was really about gender— I just didn’t know it yet. When I first started dating girls, half of the appeal/satisfaction came from my attraction to the person, and the other half came from being able to occupy nontraditional gender roles and take on masculine traits within the relationship. My relationships with women allowed me to (re)discover and embrace a masculinity that had been in hiding since puberty. When I was dating cis boys in middle and high school, expressing or embracing my masculinity felt as if it would put their attraction to me in jeopardy. Cis masculinity is so fragile, I was sure any assertion of my trans, non binary feelings would be met with a negative reaction and turn off. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
I was conscious of my ongoing attraction to guys during the time I exclusively dated women, but I never really talked about it or considered acting on it. The gender roles and stereotypes I remembered feeling pressured to assume when dating cis guys felt in conflict with the masculinity I desperately wanted to embody. So I thought I had to cut off my attraction to men in order to (partially) be one.
In the process of trying to suppress my attraction to men, I questioned if I was ever truly attracted to men. What if I wasn’t attracted to men but just wanted to (partially) be one? I was experiencing so much noise and dysphoria around being seen as female, I didn’t let myself engage with anyone or anything that reminded me of the physical masculine characteristics I didn’t (yet) have. My sexual preferences shifted to accommodate what I was feeling around my gender. Though gender and sexuality are different, for me, they are constantly interacting.