Sexual Diversity

Annie Leibovitz, Women 1999"I will never forget that day with Penny because it was one of the most important sexual experiences of my life.  It was extra special because we were equally nervous and there was no pressure to measure up to expectations based on previous experience.  With Penny, I experienced for the first time that warm feeling of another woman's soft body pressed against mine.  The opportunity to be intimate with another woman's body can be a special sharing experience.  It made me aware of how different a woman's body can be." (Kimberly-Lei Mistysyn, in Early Embraces. 1996, on her first sexual experience)

"I'm having to relearn how to be around women.  You know, it's like being in high school again.  How do you ask someone out, or just hang out?  It's very different now.  I feel the same but I'm seen differently.  I've always dressed and acted this way.  I'm basically the same person, except before, I looked like a female.   I've heard how women talk about men, and I don't ever want to be that fool.  I don't want to be misunderstood or seen as sexist because of what I look like.  I like being a guy, and it has nothing to do with power.  I just look like how I feel." (Erik, a female-to-male transsexual, in Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits. 1996.)

        Chantal Regnault, Revlon Boys 1989
"I had a conventional childhood and youth.  A completely functional family.  My parents aren't very sexy people, but they're very committed and devoted and sweet to each other.  They're also very churchy, but not doctrinaire.  The Methodist Church.  If you pushed them, they would be secular humanists like most people.  They believe in the Sermon on the Mount, love and goodness, be sweet to your fellow man, nothing supernatural.

"They made it easy for me on the gay issue.  I fell in love with a boy who was in graduate school at Berkeley, so I decided to go there, too, to be with him.  The weekend I told my parents the plan, my mother wanted to talk to me about my relationship with Alan.  I was on edge.  She said, 'You're going away for quite a long time, at a time in your life when things can happen very fast. So you have to know certain things about us.  First of all, we support you to the hilt in whatever you do and how you choose your friends and how you choose your life.  The only thing is, we want you to be open with us.  You have to understand that we accept you absolutely.'  She wanted to know if I 'wanted to talk to somebody.'  I said, 'I think if there was a possibility of reversing the situation, there would be something to talk about. Or if I was conflicted or unhappy about it. But since neither of those seems to be relevant, I don't know what we'd talk about.'  So the key to this, in terms of mental health, was their attitude.  It was a great gift to have that laid in my lap.  In my entire life, I have never met a gay person who had anything like this kind of intelligent love and understanding just handed to them." (Matt Sherrill, in Sex: An Oral History. 1994.)