Sex Versus Gender

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Jessie Hart Archives

One of the main problems a transgender person faces is the confusion we face in the world over the difference between sex and gender.

My easiest explanation to a "civilian" is sex is between the legs and gender is between the ears. It is the primary reason I chose not to undergo any serious gender realignment surgeries. I just didn't need any reinforcement from my body to reinforce what was my brain was already telling me. Even still, on occasion I have a difficult time explaining to the average person I am transgender but not gay. 

Some would say I was lucky to be able to experience my sexuality the way I did. Back in the day when I was exploring coming out as a trans woman, the trendy act to follow was to find a man you could be at his side so you could validate yourself as a woman. I know I felt the same way, all the way to having several dates with men. Including one transgender man. As I was seriously considering my sexuality at that point, I began to notice I was attracting much more attention from women than from men. Naturally, I was more at ease dealing with women due to a lifetime of experience, so the entire experience made my life easier and very much more fun. Plus I was never good at really having any close male friends in my life and I didn't have to start now. Perhaps the biggest factors I faced when I made women friends was they taught me tons of ideas on how to survive in their world.

Also what most "civilians" don't understand is, both gender and sex are on spectrums. Even though they refuse to admit it, very few individuals are totally straight or gay and fall into a middle point. With new understandings of the gender spectrum we have discovered new terms such as "gender fluid" or "non-binary" humans. It all makes perfect sense for the transgender women or trans men who don't feel completely as one gender or the other on any given day. The whole process makes it very difficult for the people who simplistically attempt to put everyone into neat little  gender corners. The old square peg in the square hole theory. It is basically too complex for many to understand

Since I had never really experienced any sort of a sexual spark when it came to my dealings with men, I was fortunate when I transitioned. Even though there were the men I mentioned dating, I didn't really have any sexual feelings towards them. Plus the hormone replacement therapy I was under, effectively reduced any sexual drive I used to have to the bare minimum.  So if I ever did have to become sexually active again, I would have to get creative. To the point, I even had one female acquaintance tell me I better get a banana to practice. I didn't have to because I never became that close to having a male friend.

On the other hand, I cherished the time I spent with my women friends. They helped me blossom into the person I am today. Speaking of cherish, my days of being sexually active as a man helped to reproduce my daughter whom I love very much and made the time of gender torment I was going through so worth it. It turned out I was on the gender spectrum as a woman and fought it all the way and I never had much choice as far as the sex aspect happened. I never had to really experience the fact I wasn't into men and my sex versus gender was far apart.