A blogger calling herself kittyburger has correctly pointed out that transfolks are defined not by who they love, but by who they are. Point taken. In terms of my typology from Soulfully Gay, they are certainly included; however, there is a lack of a specific term for them analogous to homophile or heterophile.
I’m not sure that I’m the best person to offer a specific term, or I would have done so previously. But let me risk making a fool of myself anyways. Bring on the definitions!
(Readers of Soulfully Gay will recognize that these descriptions are situated within an evolving spiritual worldview in which the self is a reflection of the soul, which is in a process of reunion with Spirit on a journey involving both Love and Fear.)
Homophile: A sense of identity based on identification with homophilia or same-directed love, a universal principle shared by all humans (indeed, all beings), and one of the two Prime Directions of Love.
Heterophile: A sense of identity based on identification with heterophilia or other-directed love, a universal principle shared by all humans (indeed, all beings), and one of the two Prime Directions of Love.
Man: a sense of identity based on identification with agency (traditionally called masculinity or yang), a universal principle shared by all humans (indeed, all beings), and one of the two Prime Forms of Love.
Woman: A sense of identity based on identification with communion (traditionally called femininity or yin), a universal principle shared by all humans (indeed, all beings), and one of the two Prime Forms of Love.
Gay men, straight men, bisexual men and women, lesbians, gay women, straight women, transsexuals, transgendered, intersexual, heterosexual, homosexual: these are sexual or gender identities arising from either the modernist or pluralist consciousness. They are not “erased” by a more integral view, but included and transcended. (Once a gay man, I will always be a gay man, so long as I do not disown that part of my identity.)
At an integral level, when identity embraces both similarities and differences, all the partial labels are worn more lightly. In turn, there is a growing embrace of affiliation with universal principles with which one has affinity. The monosexuals are lucky in that they have only one Prime Direction of Love to wrestle with linguistically, and the monogendered have only one Prime Form of Love. But the same principles apply.
In my case, as a gay man, I am drawn towards identification with homophilia and agency. I may call myself a “homophile” or “homophile man” for short, and gradually forge new connections with others with similar or compatible identifications. A bisexually-identified man might call himself a “duophile” or “duophile man”, or something like that, or simply insist on owning his identity as a “homophile and heterophile”. That’s his call.
Homophile clicks as an integral identity because it captures one of the Two Prime Directions of Love as a part of the identity. It says something about how one transforms or becomes something other than one already is. A -phile is a direction of transformation.
What terms captures integral forms of translation? Male and female? Yes. Yang and yin? Yes. Masculine and feminine? Yes. But all these terms come with considerable baggage, and none really speaks to the complex mix of both including and transcending gender that happens at an integral structure of consciousness.
Worth considering is the term androgyne for men, women, and all transgender and transsexual individuals. The terms “andro” and “gyne” could be used in a new way by individuals who primarily but not exclusively identify with agentic forms of translation and communal forms of translation respectively. (As in, “All andros and gynes are equal in God/Goddess’s eyes.”)
Maybe instead of “androgyne”, “transgen” can be adopted as a neologism. Though it might be mistaken as short for transgendered, it does benefit from not having the baggage of contemporary views of androgyny weighing it down. (As in, “All transgens are equal in God/Goddess’s eyes, whether man or woman, andro or gyne, transgender or transsexual, intersexed or non-intersexed.”)
To the male-to-female transgendered persons out there, why not call yourself gynes (along with other women)? To the female-to-male transgendered persons out there, why not call yourself andros (along with other men)? What might you risk, and how might you benefit? I’m genuinely curious.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that the terms androgyne or transgen can or should ever replace transgender or transexual or intersexual, and it is not my intention to minimize the realities encountered by individuals so identified, nor to ignore the practical benefits for advancing civil rights by emphasizing those identities which are all too often unrecognized and need greater understanding and appreciation. Perhaps this whole discussion is somewhat “before its time.”
But from one homophile andro’s perspective, he who is also a gay man, I have no problem with striking up a conversation about how we talk about who we are and how we evolve as beings on a journey into Spirit.