In the middle of making a flash-card set for my Gender, Sex, and Power midterm, I came to the term “homosexuality.” In a list of words like “heteropatriarchy” and “conferred dominance” I expected “homosexuality” to be one that was easily defined, right?
homosexuality: being attracted to or aroused by the same sex
But then I thought to myself–say I’m a lesbian and I see this absolutely beautiful girl on the street and she’s 1000 percent my type. We go on a couple dates and I find out she has a penis. We’re not the same sex like I initially thought, but does that make me magically straight? Hardly. So I decided to edit my definition.
homosexuality: being attracted to or aroused by the same gender
But then I hit another roadblock. Say I’m a lesbian and I again see an amazingly attractive woman on the street, my ideal. We speak for a minute and I find out she identifies as a man. We’re no longer the same gender. Definition problematic yet again.
So I started thinking harder. If we can’t see inside someone’s pants, and we can’t automatically know their self-identified gender, what are we attracted to? And then I remembered the third point on the self identification/orientation triangle. Gender expression. That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about initial, superficial attraction. I wanted an orientation that correlated with gender expression and was ready to make them up myself when I discovered they ALREADY EXISTED. Enter the scene, androphilia and gynephilia.
androphilia: the attraction to masculinity gynephilia: the attraction to femininity
They are apparently used as modifiers to more traditional sexual orientations and help alleviate a lot of the ambiguity surrounding transpeople and gender non-conforming persons and their identifications.
Amazing stuff. Check out this link for more info.