Masha shares how her sexuality has changed over the years. She explains how she felt during each transition and what caused the shifts in her sexuality.
OBOS Today: How has your sexuality changed over time?
Masha: That is a great question. I… so, I knew that I was, like, queer in, like, middle school and I was first like, “I’m bi,” [laughs] and that, that sort of changed into… Over time and around like 9th grade, I came to the conclusion that I was not bi, I was gay. And I was a gay man/boy/twink thing, and then that still didn’t really feel right. I think that I took a lot of comfort in being able to express my femininity through my queerness, and through, like, through my gayness, and so I liked that about it, and I liked getting attention and validation from men.
And that felt really good, but it was never — it never felt super fulfilling, and it didn’t feel like a full representation of, like, who I was, or who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to exist in the world.
And so in college, after freshman year, the summer after freshman year, I started to realize that that label was not working for me, and that actually, like, I felt the most myself when I was doing drag and, like, wearing more feminine clothes and wearing dresses. I cut my bangs, and while — like when I cut my bangs, I was still like, “I’m a twink,” [laughs] like, I’m like — I didn’t — I wasn’t super conscious of my transness then, and there had been points in my life where I had been, like, conscious of my transness, and then those sort of became disrupted by, like, traumatic experiences and, like, dissociative things that, that made me sort of repress it and forget it, and not feel like I could acknowledge it to myself. But then that summer after freshman year of college, I realized my transness, and I started transitioning; I started using she/her pronouns, and at this point I was still like, “I’m only attracted to men.” And for the early part of my transition, the idea of being attracted to, or dating, or having sex with anyone other than a man felt really scary to me. Because I think — I think that this experience is common to a lot of trans people, but I also think there’s something about it that is specific to, like, transfemininity, and, like, AMAB trans people. Oftentimes when transfems are…
I think that oftentimes transfems sort of have two avenues or two, like, stereotypes or archetypes that people perceive them as, and those are, like: the sex object, or the predator. And I was much more okay with being seen as a sex object and not a person, than I was, like, a predator. And, like, the idea of being seen as like anything threatening or predatory or violent… just felt so scary, and I felt like if I dated anyone other than men, that’s how I would be seen. So I was — I was very, very, very scared of that, and did not want to feel like that, so instead I focused my transition on being as femme as possible, having as much sex as possible [laughs], and, like, seducing as many men as possible because it felt — it made me feel powerful, but it also made me feel, like, safe.
And then… so that was sort of, like, how my early transition went for the first, like, year, six months or so. And then this year, sort of starting… I guess over quarantine, like right before quarantine and then going into this year, I realized my, like, sapphic-ness and I realized the beauty of like T for T relationships, which is trans for trans, and now I — generally I’m attracted to everyone except cis men, and will date anyone other than a cis man [laughs], which is such a reversal and, like, I call myself a dyke. I, like. feel very much… I feel like a lesbian; I don’t necessarily always feel like a part of the lesbian community, because I think that that can sometimes be very exclusive, but I think the most accurate description for my sexuality now would be sapphic. And I think that that also changed while I was on hormones, it changed because of my like positionality in the world… it changed —
I think that sexuality can change, and it can be influenced by a lot of different factors, and that doesn’t mean that someone can’t be, like, born the way that they are and that’s who they are for the rest of their life, but I know that that wasn’t my experience at all.