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Wonky Wednesday: Trans People and Sexual Orientation

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.

Sexual Orientation of Respondents

As shown in the graph to the right, the respondents to the 2012 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted jointly by the National LGBTQ 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.

National LGBTQ Task Force 2023 March on Washington

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