Which came first the chicken or the egg?
This is an analogy for what has become the essential dilemma in trying to understand how sexual orientation and the desire to be a female overlap. Most male to female gynephilic transsexuals knew they were different very early on in life.
Transgender people question their gender identity well before they have developed a sexual identity and what later transpires is a conflict between this internal identity and the sexual being which is slowly emerging. This is not the same thing as being attracted to your own image as a female but does take the form of sexual fantasies that juxtapose who we aim to be with whom we want to love.
This very confusing time causes an inherent contradiction which we need to sort out.
Some would have you believe that we create a false gender identity as a product of a paraphilic sexuality but that only makes sense if the desire to be female originated hand in hand with the sexual identity. The fact that most transsexuals know much earlier what their identity is, contradicts this idea.
Most transgender people want to downplay the role that sex plays in all this but it exists and most certainly does not invalidate their identity. It may be part and parcel of a more complex picture but certainly not the only defining feature.
To me it’s the most obvious thing in the world that my gender identity was shaped well before my sexual identity was. What happened is that eventually upon meeting, the latter came into conflict with the former. This causes an unconventional situation but not the stuff that paraphilias are made of.
Emasculation fetishists prefer to think in terms of paraphilias perhaps because they are afraid of possessing a transgender identity and not being truly male in the conventional sense. For a time this was also my fear and they will find out one way or another with increasing age.
I know exactly who and what I am and any decision going forward will most certainly not be shaped by my sexual longings but instead by my reason, my logic and most importantly by my heart.
But now here is the kicker: our gender identity need not be an either or proposition; in other words it need not be perfectly aligned with our conventional wisdom of what makes a man or a woman because much of that is artificially set by social convention.