Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Painfully Evolving Sexual Identity Rooted in My Girlfriends Changing Gender - My Transition: Part 3

Part 1 covers the beginning of my lesbian relationship with my then, girlfriend. I also wrote about her announcement that she felt like a male on the inside; and the very beginning of his transition.
In Part 2 I wrote of his transition and my acceptance of it.

To reiterate what I said at the end of my last post:

His transition was one that took no time at all before I could accept it, mine on the other hand, well, left me on an emotional roller coaster, in a mental quandary, and in a perpetual state riddled with uncertainty.

As I mentioned before, I had already gone through the painful and devastating process of coming out lesbian to my family. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. And, thankfully, my sexuality was a complete non-factor when it came to my friends.

But what happens when, three years in to a same-sex relationship, your partner "comes out" as transgender?? I felt like I was losing something I'd already fought for (insert link!!!) - and been through hell and back (insert link!!!) - in order to obtain. It was as if my identity - like grains of sand - were slipping through my fingers. While AJ was addressing his gender, I was forced to question my sexual identity.

The idea of it redefining my own sexual orientation left me petrified. Since I identified as lesbian and my partner was coming out as male, did that mean that I was straight? Does my sexual identity depend on how my now boyfriend defines himself? Could I continue considering myself a lesbian, cisgender female, in a relationship with a pre-op transgender male? Or was I now a gay leaning, bisexual (but only in this specific case with AJ), cisgender female, in a straight relationship to a pre-op transgender male, who was born with a birth defect that gave him the wrong anatomical parts?? (Boy that was a mouthful- no pun intended!!) Or was I something else entirely??

What if he had surgery? Would that "officially" make me straight? I was confused. But at the same time, I knew the love I had for him was one I couldn’t deny.

With AJ transitioning female-to-male, and no sexual reassignment surgery anywhere in the near future (if at all)*, if he and I stayed together**, how would I tell my parents. More importantly, what would I tell them? If I presented him as the same person they had grown accustomed to hear about (often as a passing remark) - it would mean people questioning my sexual identity. How then would I define our relationship? How would someone react to the idea that the person I was dating was once my girlfriend and is now my boyfriend? Was I bisexual? The thought of someone asking me "Why don't you just date a real man?" still turns my stomach!

AJ and I had been lovers and we were both open as lesbians. What would happen when I started referring to my lover as AJ? Were people going to be asking: "What, are you straight now? Who's AJ?" How many times would I have to explain, "Yes, I'm still a lesbian, but AJ is in the process of transitioning." AJ would, of course, be presenting himself as a man. By association, I would be losing my sense of self that I had finally worked up enough courage to be out with. I felt as if I was losing my identity as a lesbian.

Presenting him as a completely different person would have it's own trials and heartaches as well. How would I retell our history? Would I be omitting any references to him once being a female, and substitute male pronouns instead? Was I now actually a straight person in a heterosexual relationship?

And what of the danger? What if I slipped up? I knew the statistics concerning violence against the transgendered community well enough to know of the panic I sensed in his voice when deciding on something as simple and trivial as which bathroom to use.

There were too many questions and so few answers.

It was a process. It took time. I wanted, searched, and yearned for answers right then and right there. Do to the fact that AJ and I separated, I never had to truly adjust to a different role, a different person, or a different relationship.

After reading this brief glimpse of transgendered life from the perspective of a person in a same-sex relationship whose partner "comes out" transgendered, I suppose some may wonder why I would be so willing to continue life with this partner. The answer is simple - because I loved the new him as much as I loved the old her!



~ SoACTing
* Female-to-male sexual reassignment surgeries are rarely attempted
** AJ and I ultimately end up severing our relationship

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing a difficult time. Emotionally and intellectually it must have stretched you. I have a gay (male) friend who went through a similar experience when his partner of five years came out as transgender. He never could get over his partner's revelation that he was everything *she* had ever wanted in a husband, and that everytime they had sex, *she* was in a fantasy that she was a woman in a straight relationship with him.

    It was a very messy breakup and it took an overdose and subsiquent hospitalization to get him the therapy he needed to start living again. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to love someone deeply, while having so many unanswerable question about you, him, and what your relationship meant to both of you.