Our attraction to others has internal and external influences. Internally, there are certain sexual, as well as relational desires that we have for other people. External influences of heteronormativity can have a detrimental impact when our desires are outside of that heteronormative mindset. This detriment can be seen as shame for not conforming to societal norms. Even within the LGBT community there can be influences from a binary mindset that can cause shame for those who fall outside of a binary mindset when it comes to sexual and relational attraction.
Internalize shame regarding the fluidity of one’s sexual attraction is based on the societal perceptions that people are required to fit into specific boxes of who they are and who they are attracted to. Using the identity of ‘queer’ allows a person to present a fluid sexuality that does not fit within the binary of straight, bisexual, or gay.
My personal journey has taken me from identifying as bisexual in high school to being in the closet about my same-sex attraction while I was in the Navy. Moving back into civilian life, I ‘came out of the closet’ and embraced my ‘gayness’. I later found myself moving back into the world as a closeted bisexual man. Upon entering a 12-step program, I came out of the closet for that last time and identified as a gay man, at times when I was a ‘militant homosexual’. About 10 years ago, I began to truly realize I did not need to feel shame for bring attracted to many different types and genders of people.
Sexually, my attraction to others is very fluid. It ranges from male identified bodies to female identified bodies. Visual stimulation is a key element of my sexual attraction towards others.
Relationally, I’m attracted to masculine energy. This tends to manifest within male identified bodies. However, this can also be found in female identified bodies as well.
Spending most of my adult life as a gay man, the fluidity of my sexual attraction has been problematic for me when navigating in gay male space. When I started dating transmen (FTM), several of my gay male friends asked me if I was now bisexual. I had to educate these friends let them know that I was not dating a woman, that I was dating someone who identified as male. It is essential to reject the notion that a person’s genitalia alone determines their gender identity. Being born with a vagina or penis does not automatically mean that a person will present as female or male respectively, as they move out of infancy.