Queer Attraction

Beauty beyond binaries

A marcher in the 2010 San Francisco Pride Parade wears a sign reading “I Love People Not Their Plumbing”. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen.

As an agender trans male, I find it impossible to define my sexual orientation with conventional terms. Though I’m primarily attracted to men, words like “gay” and “homosexual” don’t fit well when I don’t identify with any gender. Though I have some sexual attraction to women, “bisexual” doesn’t suit me either, whether defined narrowly as “attracted to men and women” or more expansively as “attracted to same and other”.

“Pansexual” is too broad, as my attraction to people is not independent of their gender presentation or body parts. Words like “androphilic” and “gynephilic” sound too clinical for my comfort. And terms for attraction to non-binary people specifically are more obscure still, especially outside of LGBTQ communities.

For now, I’ve settled on “queer” as the most accurate self-description I can come up with. Here are some of the things this queer person is attracted to:

  • Large, expressive eyes. Self-explanatory; a common attraction.
  • Long hair, especially if it’s curly. I love it on just about everyone, but long hair particularly gets my heart racing when coupled with a conventionally-masculine presentation.
  • Moderately deep, melodious voices. Beautiful voices tend to attract my interest more than faces and bodies. A good tenor or baritone singer — of any gender — can make my heart melt.
  • Short stature. At 5 feet 4 inches, my height is considered short for a male in the U.S., but average for a female, my assigned birth sex. Even before my gender transition, I always felt most comfortable being physically intimate with people who were within a couple of inches of my own height, though I certainly never made it a requirement. I’ve dated plenty of people over six feet tall, but never understood why some folks flat-out refuse to date a shorter person.
  • Lack of adornment. I’m not sure how to phrase this in a positive way, but I generally dislike cosmetics and jewelry, especially nail polish and most piercings. The fewer decorations and accessories, the better.

Beyond this list, there are some more explicitly sexual features I am attracted to, which I won’t go into at this time. While I respect that some folks are truly attracted to people independent of their plumbing, I also respect that many folks have a definite preference for particular genitals or other sex characteristics when seeking sexual partners. Neither of these orientations is wrong or bad. What’s wrong is judging another person’s attraction — or attractiveness — based on arbitrary, binary standards of beauty.