Just to recap: I’ve been a lesbian for the past maybe 22 years, except now that identity seems like it doesn’t fit as well as it used to since Lyn/Ezekiel, my spouse of 11 years, doesn’t really seem to be a woman and is quite possibly an FTM man. Part of the reason lesbian doesn’t seem to fit is that I like the changes that Lyn/Ezekiel is going through. It’s not a case of me being a supportive partner — I love the change that is happening in Lyn/Ezekiel and the changes in our relationship. So you can see that “lesbian” doesn’t quite fit anymore. Right now I identify as queer.
Here’s what I realized recently. There is only one reason I can think of that I would not want Lyn/Ezekiel to transition (note that whether or not Lyn/Ezekiel does transition isn’t my choice and is a decision that s/he is not yet ready to make) and that it would jeopardize my own presentation as a queer woman.
I love being seen as queer. I love being outside of the norm and being transgressive. I love it that I’m not part of the masses of boring normal folks in the world. I would really hate to be boring and normal. Queerness is important to me in a fundamental way that I am only now realizing. But I have taken this queer identity for granted. I have stretched it to its limit by being immersed in and even embracing the culture of straights. I feel like I live in the world of the straight people most of the time, but I also feel like an outsider, and, frankly, a superior outsider.
I like it that I can say “my wife Lyn” and immediately, I’m interesting, because most women don’t have wives. I love being out as a family with me, Lyn, and our two kids because we are so clearly a queer family. By being queer I have unpacked the gender norms and expectations of family life and have packed them into my own bags and my family is better for it. I have no idea if I should admit this or not, but I believe in the superiority of the queer family. I think my kids are better off because they have queer parents. Honestly, I’m a bit heterophobic.
If Lyn/Ezekiel becomes just Ezekiel and I am married to a man, I don’t have an easy way to be viewed as the queer weirdo that I am. If Ezekiel passes, then I will be, in the eyes of the world, a hetero woman. So if I want to be queer, I will have to come out again and again and again. And it won’t be as easy as tossing in a reference to “my wife.” If Ezekiel becomes a man, will I be allowed to share that with people without checking with him? How can I come out as queer without outing him? Will I have to run around telling people that I’m bisexual, even though I’m not convinced that’s true of me? And what reason can I come up with to tell random people I just met that I’m queer anyway? Telling people about my family is a natural thing to do — of course I will want to tell a new friend or another parent at school about my spouse, hence I have plenty of opportunity to come out with a simple word. What do I do if telling people about my family doesn’t out me as queer?