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Wonky Wednesday: Trans people & sexual orientation

June 5, 2013

By Jack Harrison, Policy Institute Manager

As a gay man who has focused a lot on trans rights, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “Why are the gender identity and sexual orientation movements so bound up with one another?” In truth, there are countless reasons why we stand in the fight for justice side-by-side. For today’s installment of Wonky Wednesday, I want to focus on one particular reason: the dramatic overlap between trans folks and gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer people. It is a statistical fact that indeed most transgender people also identify on the queer sexual orientation spectrum.

sexualorientationchartAs shown in the graph to the right, the respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted jointly by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, reported identifying their sexual orientation as something other than straight at a rate of 77%. Twenty-three percent (23%) said they were gay, lesbian, or same gender loving, 25% bisexual, 4% asexual and 23% queer. Two percent (2%) said their sexual orientation was something else such as trans-attracted.

This leaves less than ¼, or 23%, of transgender survey respondents identifying as straight. Trans people who are straight – trans women who are only romantically and sexually interested in men and trans men who are only romantically and sexually interested in women – are often also incredible allies to lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer folks.

It feels important to underscore – the overlap of trans identity and a queer sexual orientation runs deep. So, if you’re ever asked why our two communities appear at times intertwined, it’s because most trans people are also LGBQ. And so, united we stand.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2013 3:32 pm

    I disagree. I think that the trans movement should be separate.

  2. Rach permalink
    June 5, 2013 5:38 pm

    What a nice way to say it! tbh I often wondered why we are all lumped together as gender is completely different to sexual orientation! It makes sense when you put it like that.

  3. Caroline permalink
    June 8, 2013 12:49 pm

    For those who don’t understand the true history of Stonewall and the beginning of the gay rights movement, it was mostly the attacks on transgender people that sparked the action. To the masses all LGBT people share gender non-conforming behavior and that makes it easy to deny all of us civil rights and equal protection under the law. There is strength in standing together – true at Stonewall and true today.

    Transgender people face the highest discrimination and murder rates, too. Are we willing to let that keep happening without standing up for them?

  4. June 10, 2013 10:38 pm

    No time for separatism. Together we can, separately, we all fail. I am a proud trans woman. I also identify as lesbian. My relationships bear this out as well as my acceptance.

    I have known SO damn many great LGB persons, and if we overlap, so much the better, a community is made strong by common bonds and common goals. Just because I am trans does not mean I wish to see anyone in the LGBTQQIA* community get hindered by regulations, laws or societal prejudices.

    *Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual.

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