A few days ago my boiler got its annual service. It's done by the man who did it for my parents, when they were alive. M--- is semi-retired, says he doesn't need the money, but he likes the work, has all the necessary certificates, and specialises in elderly gas boilers. He's a useful man to know then. Mine's a Potterton of at least twenty years vintage. It's simple and very reliable. Over the years, M--- has replaced this component and that, so that essentially it's up to date and ought to soldier on for many years to come. And last spring I had a digital programmer installed, thus bringing my control of hot water and central heating into the 21st century.
M--- is ten years older than me, and very much of the 'older generation', but he has somehow accepted the progression in my appearance from the androgynous person he first knew to the me that the world now sees. The obvious changes haven't made him awkward with me. Good for him.
He likes a chat. In fact he likes a good discussion so much that I'm sure he arranges his schedule so that he never usually has more than two jobs a day, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Last Thursday he was in my house for over two hours, and we still had a chat outside by his van before he finally drove off. The topics vary. His work puts him in touch with a great variety of people. So his anecdotes are interesting. M--- generally recounts his own experiences, and tells me his own views. He doesn't normally ask me what I think about some topic of the day. But he did this time. Straight out, he asked me what I thought of Gay Marriage.
I rapidly wondered what lay behind the question, but then thought that he'd caught some news item on the radio (the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland) and genuinely wanted to know what other people like me might think.
I said that I had no strong views. Partly because I wasn't gay, and partly because I wasn't religious. As I understood it, the question was whether same-sex couples should have access not only to a civil ceremony, but to a holy ceremony with religious vows: the formal White Wedding in a church, sanctioned by God. I could see that there was a psychological difference between the two kinds of matimony. I could appreciate that for a same-sex couple, access to the sanctified ceremony might mean much. At the same time, I was not unsympathetic to the feelings of the minister, whatever his denomination, who might genuinely believe that his church could not allow the ceremony, and that, in a theological context, it was fundamentally wrong. Such ministers shouldn't be compelled to officiate.
In short, I could see both points of view, but did not identify with either side of the argument. And as it was highly unlikely that I would myself ever remarry, it was not an issue that mattered to me.
We promptly changed the subject. M--- didn't pursue it. Perhaps, after all, he'd wanted to hear me say whether I was gay or not. Well, he'd had my response.
Of course, a transsexual person can't say 'I'm not gay' without further clarification. In the mirror-image world trans people inhabit, what would have been 'straight' in the old life has now become 'gay'. And vice versa. But I doubt whether M--- appreciated this.
If pressed further, I could have said that just now I think I have a sexual preference for female persons - I love the beauty, the curves, the delicacy, the gracefulness, the hairlessness. But that hasn't been put to any test, nor have I any plans to fling myself at some woman, whether natal or trans. So I may never find out for certain.
I think it's likely that at some future point, when the hormones have finally made me pretty enough, some half-blind man will attempt to woo me. I'll have no objection to the attention, and might enjoy what they have to say, but I can't see myself responding sexually, chiefly because I find men's bodies offputting (they're too angular, too muscular, too hairy).
In any case, my overriding aversion to entanglements is going to keep the lid on sexual adventures, and make a definitive judgement on my orientation impossible. I may end up being a paragon of celibacy, though ironically the churches that would ban same-sex marriage would ban my very existence on principle.