There are very few narratives out there from people like me, in long term relationships with partners coming out as trans and considering transition. And there aren’t that many narratives about straight women or men who are partnered with trans people either, Helen Boyd’s work being the notable exception.
I have yet to read a narrative that even comes close to reflecting my own experience. Like some partners, Ezekiel’s gender issues were a complete surprise to me, despite the fact that I knew a lot about his gender variance in childhood. But I don’t fit the story of the reluctant wife that stands by her man (or woman, depending on which direction the partner is going). I’m doing the standing by, and I’ll be there for all of the support, but reluctant doesn’t exactly describe me.
Every aspect of Ezekiel’s trans experience excites me. I feel opened to parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. But I also feel confused. Like most people in long-term relationships whose partners are trans, I worry about the impact of transition on my life, my family, and my friends. I don’t know what it means to be married to a man. As I look toward the future, I don’t know if I will need to become more straight or more queer to inhabit my life, but it seems certain that I’ll have to change.
I was reading Helen Boyd’s book She’s Not the Man I Married in which she talks about how difficult it is to suddenly present as lesbian to the world, that she feels the way the world excludes her when she is out with Betty. I never feel that difficulty with my partner, who currently presents as a women, and I think it’s because I have no knowledge of what it would feel like to present as straight. I long ago learned to edit out the stares, the disapproval, and the exclusion that comes with being a lesbian. If I’m married to a man, my experience of the world will change and I’ll have to see all of it again, because my point of view will be different. And I have no idea how to be married to a man — I thought I escaped all of that by being queer.
It’s my anniversary. 11 years with Ezekiel (as of a couple of days ago) and 8 years married as of today. Happy anniversary Ezekiel — I feel just as lucky and excited today as I did when you confessed your crush on me. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!