We’ve probably all heard the quip, but if you haven’t, the group whit responds to hearing about a transwoman being a lesbian with “I guess I’ve always been a lesbian too”, or perhaps more dismissively something like “Well he’s just a man then, men like women”.
Aside from the fact that not all men want to be in bed with women and vice versus, a discussion for another day, this all boils down to a fundamental misunderstanding that is all to easy to understand. People confuse sexual orientation, who you are attracted to, with gender, who you are.
I personally find it all very confusing. Being attracted to women now makes me gay, even though I’m the same person with the same body, just different hormones and my genitalia have been rearranged to function as a woman. Of course the other person has to be a lesbian or bi, but does that mean I am? You see these labels are quite ridiculous, hardly a guide applied to someone who has not changed, they are at best confusing to one who has.
There seem to be an awful lot of folks who really are some variation of bisexual. If they feel 80% attracted to men and they’re women they consider themselves straight, and reversed the same thing. But some are more fluid and even about who they love even to the point of really loving the person and not caring so much about what sex that body has.
All I know is that for me to love a woman will never make me a male and for me to love a man doesn’t confirm me as a woman. Please give your trans friends room to be who they need to be. If they can’t express who they are and what they want perhaps they are struggling for words that do not yet exist in our language.
For all your friends who are different in some profound way, focus on the ways they are the same. The laughter, the warmth, the joy, the things that brought you together in this world. Then listen and understand so those differences don’t drive you apart.