Reconciling Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: One Person’s Struggle

BY AMBER ROSE

Reconciling Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation: One Person’s Struggle - Amber Rose shown with Gender Wellness President, Casey Weitzman

Amber Rose with Casey Weitzman

It seems incredibly difficult for others to understand, that I’m not only transgender, but lesbian as well. I believe it’s important to note that gender identity and sexual orientation are two completely different things. Trans* identities do not have anything to do with sexuality, but rather gender identity.

I have an androgynous voice, and this is by choice, as I could train it. What was done through puberty (in this case, male puberty), in terms of the deepening of my voice, cannot be undone. The estradiol I have been taking now for 3.5 years, to replace the DHT (di-hydro testosterone) my body naturally produces, does absolutely nothing, when it comes to the voice. It doesn’t become more feminine and it doesn’t become softer. My voice, however, neither denotes my gender nor my sexual orientation, nor my masculinity and femininity; it’s just me — it’s the way I sound.

The fact that I’m transgender, neither describes my sexuality nor indicates how masculine or feminine I am (or should be), it indicates how I identify, with respect to gender; and that’s it. Because another trans* individual has a different sexual orientation than I do, does not mean that one of us is in the wrong. The way I identify is not, and cannot be changed, just because the other person, with whom I may be conversing, has a different orientation and/or gender (and, of course, their own opinions).

I find it extremely rude and disrespectful when someone, who does not agree with how I identify, starts to try and persuade me; and all the while asking questions and making comments like, “Are you sure?”; “I felt that way, too, once — but I got over it.” If only people actually listened to themselves spewing this vomit…

The way I feel when I’m with individuals that, either identify as male and take testosterone or who are cisgender men, is a polar opposite from the way I feel with women (or with those identifying as female who take estradiol). With women, it feels natural, as though it were supposed to be that way; on the other hand, with men, it feels forced and unnatural. I know by experience, that being with men severely damages my psyche, taking a massive toll on my overall well-being. I’m also a human being. I eat people food; I have my own opinions and ideals; I seek love and companionship; I have feelings; I laugh; I cry; and I become angry, maybe even enraged. Sometimes I feel I need to say or write these things down, because it does happen, that I’m treated as though I were some kind of weird, misshapen creature.

Just because someone may not be able to understand someone else (and how gender identity and sexual orientation applies), does not give them the right to walk all over the other person, and treat them as shit on the ground. The most poisonous things for a trans* person, are the stigmas — the myths, the ignorance taken as truth — they not only consume trans* individuals, they consume everyone.

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