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Unsure of sexuality/orientation and admitting feelings for transgender friend

Community Member


First post so please let me know if this is or isn’t the right place to talk about this. It’s kind of a two-part thing.

I’m a 26-year old male and it occurred to me a couple of months ago that I don’t know for certain what my sexual orientation is. I’m quite reserved and quiet and anxious, never been in a relationship, (never even been on a date!) and still a virgin. It’s never really been a priority for me and I tend to prefer getting to know someone and seeing if there’s a connection, then seeing if I have feelings for them before anything else. I generally appreciate being physically close to people or getting an affectionate touch on the leg or arm or letting someone rest their head on my shoulder but it usually takes me a while knowing them before I’m even comfortable getting to that point.

I’m definitely attracted to women and that’s been my “go-to” shall we say, but if I say I’m heterosexual it feels like I’m being dishonest or only telling half the story. I do feel attracted to men and other people in the gender spectrum, but I’m not certain to what extent. I don’t know if it all boils down to lack of experience but I’m not sure who to talk to or what to do to find out. The idea of just going on dates or engaging in sexual activity for the sake of finding that out about myself doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t want people to feel like they’re being used.

The second part to this, and what accelerated a lot of the introspective thought, is that I was working up to telling a good female friend that I had feelings for them and when I met up with them and had planned to tell them, they came out to me as transgender. It doesn’t bother me but I hesitated to tell them about what I was going through (both feelings and orientation) because I didn’t want to be insensitive to what they were going through.

I don’t want to lead them on while I’m still discovering this aspect of myself and hurt them further down the track but I don’t want to bottle up my emotions and be jealous if they start seeing other people and do anything to ruin the friendship. It sort of feels like I have this time pressure to know for certain what my sexual identity is.

Ultimately they’re my friend and I want them to be happy so even if they don’t reciprocate the feelings I still really enjoy spending time with them- I don’t want it to be an “all-or-nothing” scenario, I’m just sort of afraid they’ll push me away if I mention anything.

Thanks for reading.

3 Replies 3

Spl spl
Community Member

Hi Xander,

Thanks for reaching out on the forums.

It sounds like you are going through a lot of confusion. Not wanting to hurt others is noble, and it makes sense to feel that way. However, at the same time, discovering yourself is a process and can't always be rushed along. It's okay to take your time, and to take things at your own pace. Your trans friend would have also had to go through a similar kind of process for their gender identity. Rather than being insensitive, you may actually have more in common than you realise. Either figuring out your sexual orientation or your gender, the two are not so separate. Everyone's journey is also different.

Even though you haven't found some perfect label or explanation, or understood your own feelings yet, it doesn't mean you can't talk about it. I don't know your friend, but I think they may have a place from which they can understand, at least to an extent. As someone who is trans myself, going through that process does lead to you questioning your sexual orientation (before or after) your gender identity. What if they've been through something similar? You never know. What I'm saying is I don't think it would be likely to hurt them, or offend them. It's ok to talk about how you feel to them, if you feel ready to.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi there Xander,

Welcome to the forums! Thank you for sharing your story here. This is a great community where many will share similar experiences of discovering their identity and sexual orientation. Feel welcome to scroll through the many threads under the sexuality and gender identity forum and start a conversation with others, or do some reading.

As Spl Spl mentioned which also came to my mind - your friend may have also gone through the hardship and confusion of coming to terms with and discovering their identity. It's an incredibly vulnerable discussion and I empathise with your fear of not wanting to hurt your friend or lead them on by disclosing your feelings for them.

I'm not sure if you've heard of the term Demisexual. From my understanding, people identify as this when they can form romantic attractions to people purely on the basis of their emotional connection with them, not necessarily their gender identity. Maybe this would be worth reading into as it could match your description.

Nonetheless, labels are incredibly difficult, confusing and restrictive for many, and sometimes peace in your identity may come from reconciling with the fact that you may not fit completely in one box or description, and that's more than okay. The pressure to fit into a label is very much there and I hear you when you say you're feeling the weight of that.

I think the fear you're feeling about telling your friend what you're going through is more than understandable. I hope you can find peace in the fact that this friend trusts you enough to open up to you about their identity, and I hope that they will reciprocate this.

I'm sure your friend will more than appreciate your honesty in not being sure about your identity. People go through tremendously different journeys and timeframes of getting there, and I hope they are empathetic to that.

You're on a difficult but important journey, and I commend you for sharing with us about it. Perhaps that might be the first step to figuring things out.

I hope to hear more about your journey and what you're going through. We're here to listen and lend an ear whenever you need it 🙂

I hope you're taking care and to hear from you ❤️

That Other Guy
Community Member

Sexuality is a spectrum. Also, you're not going to love all women, or all men. My advice is don't worry about it. You will meet people and fall in love with them. Your feelings for your trans friend kind of putting prove that. I understand what you're saying, there's a word for people like us. The word is demisexual. It means you never want sex for its own sake, you want to it to be part of a connected relationship. I don't understand people who don't want that

Your Trans friend? I think if you expressed your feelings and that the trans part didn't matter to you, it would be really affirming for him. I think the trans part doesn't change the part where you have feelings and you can express that you feel them, but you'd still be honoured if the end result was "just" you staying friends.