At the last minute, the stars aligned such that Gail and I could get to a local trans conference for the day yesterday. We were mainly hoping to get some surgery information*, maybe meet some people. I’m so glad that we went.
I’ve gone a couple times to a local group for transmasculine spectrum folks. It’s been a great resource, but conversation there can be, well, a bit stilted. It’s not the most easygoing bunch. I’m glad I went though, because when we got to the conference yesterday, I recognized a lot of faces, and several people stopped to say hello. One guy stopped me and we reintroduced ourselves. I introduced Gail, and then said, “Wait, am I remembering right that you have a really long-term partner?” He said, “Yep, come meet her.” So, starting with that first introduction early in the day, Gail and I met a group that I hadn’t realized we were missing — a group of about four couples, some together (very long) before transition, who at least from what we could tell in one day, were rock solid.
We’ve been blessed with pre-existing close friends (J & C) who have been through some of what we’re going through, but I’ve still received a few rounds of ominous warnings, that “Oh, you’ll think things are fine, but at some point they just aren’t. Most couples don’t make it. Just wait until X” [where X=semi-random transition milestone (hormones/surgery/pronouns/etc.)] If I look at my life, I see so clearly that in the here and now, Gail and I are better than we’ve ever been, but with those warnings ringing in my ears, it’s hard not to keep looking over my shoulder. Even with close friends who know and support our whole family, and “get it,” it still meant so much to look around that table, chatting with these couples, and to get a big dose of real-life counterargument to those nagging voices in my head, that looming warning that we won’t make it.
Conversation sometimes turned quite personal, so I know the road was not easy for all of these couples, but from what you can read in one day’s worth of conversations, they were all doing great. Aspects of all of their experiences mirrored our own — there was the couple together for 10 years “before” joking about the “bait and switch,” the couple with kids, some our kids’ ages, who have had many conversations like we’ve had. There was the younger guy whose path to “figuring things out” had much in common with mine, whose fiance has been nudging him to get his act together and do what he needs to do, apparently not at all put out that he needed to make physical changes.
Gail and I both left in the evening feeling like we have much more company than we realized, that sure, what we’re doing might be hard, but it’s also very good, and not at all impossible.