Deviant Ideas

Frank Bruni observes that what LGBT people have in common is that they're all deviant:

In a thoughtful, provocative essay in Salon in 2007, the gay rights advocate John Aravosis defended the absence of any reference to transgender people in the federal anti-discrimination bill on the grounds that half a loaf was better than none.
He also wrote, with brave candor: “A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals....”
“I simply don’t get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is),” he added. “Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?”

No. I knew where he was coming from. A transgender person’s experience of anatomical features unaligned with his or her psyche and soul was as mysterious to me as it was to any straight person.

But I have an overlapping history and culture with transgender people. In more fearful times, we found comfort at the same bars, safety in the same neighborhoods and reassurance from one another’s deviations from the vaunted “norm.”
Over the last decade, I’ve listened — imperfectly but earnestly — to the life stories that transgender people have courageously volunteered, and I’ve come to a better understanding of how much more lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people share.
We all have firsthand experience of how unnecessarily rigid and tyrannical a society’s conceptions of manhood and womanhood can be. We all know the pain of falling outside those conceptions. We all appreciate the importance — in some cases, it’s a life-or-death matter — of freedom.
- Frank Bruni, Two Consonants Walk Into a Bar …, NYT, FEB. 25, 2017

How should a transsexual determine whether s/he is gay? For instance, how is an anatomically female person who identifies as a male transvestite (and so dresses like a female), and is attracted to males supposed to judge whether s/he is gay?

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