I have co-opted the above graphic in previous posts. I think it gives a fairly accurate representation of gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and biological sex. For some reason, I chafe at the phrase “sexual orientation.” We can choose to “orient” ourselves north, south, east, or west; we do not choose our sexual orientation — at least not in my view. We may choose our actions, but we do not choose what is in our hearts — who we love in a romantic sense. The nature vs nurture debate is older than time itself. I’ve given up on those kinds of answers. Even “hard science” is not so hard. Scientific findings are provisional — until the next best theory is found. We once thought the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. So for me, sexual orientation just IS — and it’s not a choice. One may choose not to act on it, for whatever reason, but one cannot hide from what is in the heart.
Then comes the question: Do psychopaths have a sexual orientation? I have thought about this a great deal, and had conversations with various people. What I have concluded — my thoughts only — is something I feel to be very important for GLBT people who find themselves in romantic relationships with psychopaths, and for GLBT survivors. I hope you will see why.
I believe that psychopaths may have a rudimentary sexual orientation, a starting point. But from that starting point, they may veer in any direction with their behavior. Psychopaths are all about satisfying their own agenda, regardless of how it impacts people around them. Some will be pedophiles or perpetrators of incest (CHOICES, not “from the heart”). They are among the worst of the worse, in my book. Others will stick close to their “staring point” because they’ve honed their skills and it’s comfortable and familiar terrain. But psychopaths are creatures of opportunity, and so if a new victim pool opens up to them, they will not hesitate to plumb for ripe fruit. Some “straight” psychopaths are outright homophobes.
If a formerly straight female psychopath suddenly decides she is lesbian, is she really gay? I don’t think so.
My story is complicated because I lived most of my life as lesbian, but transitioned from female to male in my 40s. All of my primary relationships were with women. So before I transitioned, I took on the label “lesbian,” and after I transitioned, I would be considered “straight.”
In general, most lesbians will stay away from straight women because they don’t want to be the “test case” for someone who is “questioning.” A lot of tender hearts have been broken by “questioning” women who later returned to male partners.
When I met my wife, this was her general persona:
She presented as straight, had had two failed marriages with men, and more liaisons with men than I could count (although I didn’t find out about most of them until much later). Since I was now legally and socially male, and was always spiritually male (the gender identity portion of the graphic above), I didn’t think I had to worry about being a “test case.” I was as physically and biologically as male as medical science could make me. No ovaries, uterus, cervix, female breasts, vagina, or other female equipment. I’ve never had my DNA tested, but I presume I have the XX chromosomes. So of course, from the heart, as always, I wanted a female partner, except now I wanted a female partner who understood and perceived me as male — a “straight” woman.
My wife-to-be knew I was transgendered — I told her in an email dated September 11, 2009. She said she accepted me as the man I was, and I was comforted by that. (More on this in a future post.)
Just before I’d transitioned, I’d worn my hair shaved. It was me moving in a male direction.
My wife saw all the old photographs of me with the shaved head. Quite suddenly, my wife, after we were already married, announced to me that she was a lesbian. Really a bit confounding. She apparently mistook my shaved head in the old pictures as the correct lesbian “look” and asked me to shave her hair. Despite being confounded, I was supportive and complied:
Fast forward to relatively more recent history, and she had moved on to her next victim (even though we are still legally married), and she had taken on a look more typical of lesbian culture:
Do I think my wife is a real lesbian? No, I don’t! In the first place, her entire life history argues against it. In the second place, I know what lesbian intimacy is like, and I know how she behaved in the bedroom. I believe my wife discovered a whole new pool of victims she could exploit, and she learned the first tools from our relationship, our intimacy. And in the third place, this is how she looks even more recently:
To me, this looks like a straight woman ready to target a more upscale male partner. If I was a betting person, I’d wager my wife is about to dump her latest victim for a sugar daddy.
None of this is meant to over-generalize about how lesbians “look” or to be offensive to lesbians or women. Lesbians can and do look any way they please. And that’s just fine by me because I was one. There are lipstick lesbians, high femmes, androgynous lesbians, flannel shirt wearing lesbians, butch lesbians, leather dykes, and lesbians who don’t look like lesbians at all — indistinguishable from straight women.
But there is a pattern to be seen here… I am writing about this because I passionately care about the GLBT community. My prior posts have included a short synopsis of lesbian history and a post that described the tragedy of what happened to Brandon Teena. GLBT people have made huge, huge gains, but we (and especially those of us who are transgendered) are still one of the last minorities to secure full and equal rights.
As such, we are particularly vulnerable because we have the same hopes and dreams of every other ordinary human. Love, a life partner, a family… We are fertile ground for psychopaths who decide to exploit our vulnerabilities. I know my own story, and I know quite a few GLBT survivors, and it makes my heart weep. Some may exist, but I have yet to find any GLBT blog authors who openly write about their experiences with a psychopath, the particular tactics used by psychopaths in targeting a vulnerable GLBT person, and resources for healing.
Remember that when a psychopath targets a victim, s/he adopts a custom-fitted mask for YOU. Part of that mask may be parading as gay or lesbian, when in fact, you are a victim of opportunity. It’s the worse insult imaginable to the GLBT community as a whole.
If you are gay or lesbian or transgendered, and you find yourself in a psychopathic relationship (or suspect that you might be), know that you are not alone. Be safe, and take care of yourself.
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