Right now, my wife Lyn is exploring gender. I didn’t see this coming even a little bit, despite everything I know about her gender nonconformity. I know that her aversion to makeup is so extreme that if I were to drug her and put makeup on her (which would be the only way of getting it on), that she would wake up unable to move. She and I have joked many times that our two-year-old son is better at walking in heels than she is. She never wanted to pierce her ears even a little, despite the fact that it was forbidden to do so in her family until age 16, which should have made it something that she was destined to do no later than 16 years and one week old. But it never occurred to me until recently that she might not be a woman.
Honestly, it’s still a hard thought to bring to my mind. It’s the sort of thought that I want to hide from. I want to change the subject. And it would be easy for me to hide. I’m very good at hiding. But instead she and I are doing this together. I’m saying what I want. I’m saying what I think. I’m confessing to thoughts I don’t even think I should have. It feels good, and it’s the right thing for me, but it’s also the ethical and responsible thing to do. The thing is that I can hide, and right now Lyn cannot hide. I’m pushing her to be more open and cheering her on as she opens up, and its unfair for me to pretend to be a bystander in all of this, to act as if she is the only one with confusing feelings and desires.
What kind of feelings do I have as my wife dresses in a more masculine manner, starts to wear a binder, and spends hours wrestling with her feelings about how she looks and who she is? I can’t even remember the very first feelings, hence the need to start writing about it or lose it all. I do remember feeling early on supportive, but uninvolved. Then at some point a few weeks ago I opened up to who she was and who she was becoming. That changed everything for both of us.
Now I feel like I am falling in love again with a different person. I feel confused about my own sexuality for the first time in a long time. I feel a confusing mix of happy, excited, guilty, and scared at my responses to the changes in Lyn. I’m not just an observer of her changes, I’m an active participant, but outside of our home, the changes happening for me and for our relationship are invisible and unspoken.
I’ve spent too much time in the last few weeks looking online for people like me, for a voice from my own future who can provide some wisdom, but I’ve found very little. I’ve found the voices of young women dating transmen, but that’s not my path. I’ve found a few voices of lesbians who struggled to accept the transmen they found themselves partnered with. These stories were full of sexual disconnection, struggles with body dysphoria, and relationship and communication problems. That’s certainly not my path right now. For both Lyn and I, sex is not a problem, but it is playing a big role in whatever is happening for both of us right now. Communication is certainly not a problem, since between talking and having sex, there doesn’t seem to be time for sleeping or pedestrian matters like submitting our taxes.
After the kids get in bed at night, and it’s Lyn and I alone, whatever is happening feels joyful and amazing and intense and like what I want most in the world, even though I don’t have my head wrapped around it. I don’t know who Lyn is becoming, or who I am becoming, and for now it’s enough just to be working on it together. But we both are suffering from the disconnection between who we are alone at home and who we are in the rest of the world.