When you transition you realize that it is a journey and process for you, but if you have a partner its also a journey and process for them. This is part of people’s transition that isn’t talked about very often and I want to bring it to the forefront for conversation. As we transition we need to start thinking about how it affects our partner just as much as it affects us. They need our support through the process as much as we need theirs.
When I first came out my partner and I had been together a while so obviously she had no clue I was transgender. She went into our relationship with the understanding that I was a lesbian and identified as a woman. Little did she know a short time later that I would tell her I was transgender and actually identified as a man. I was worried about what would happen to my relationship when I came out due to the fact that my partner has always identified as a lesbian. She’s never been with a man nor had she ever had any intentions on doing so, but I knew for my sake and hers I needed to come clean with her so I did. I realized at that moment though that nothing was ever going to be the same for either one of us especially going forward in our relationship.
In the beginning I didn’t realize how much my own transition was becoming her transition too. She has been supportive of me from day one, but she was struggling with understanding what this meant for her. Did that mean she wasn’t a lesbian anymore? Would people judge her for staying with me? Would her family disown her? So many questions ran through her mind that at the time, I had no idea were there. If I would have been more in-tune to her I might have noticed the changes in her behavior, but instead I was to consumed in my own process that I didn’t even think about hers. It’s hard to think now that there was a point that I was so consumed in my own process that I kind of forgot about her feelings in the process.
It’s important to understand how your partner feels. Sit them down and discuss how they feel about your transition. If there is anything that you can do for them through the transition. Simply talking to them and letting them know you’re there for them is important for them to feel secure. I used to ask my partner several times a week if she was okay with my transition out of fear she was going to leave me. That is not the way to approach it. It didn’t damage my relationship, but it made her concerned that I ultimately was going to leave her, which couldn’t be further from the truth. You want to reassure them that just because you are transitioning doesn’t mean things will change between the two of you. After a while I finally sat my partner down and we talked about my transition and how it was affecting her. As well as reminding her that I loved her no matter what and she loved me for who I was. She could have easily left me after I came out to her, but she stayed because she loves me for me no matter what my gender is. She knew this would be a journey and it was my responsibility to identify the fact that it would be a journey for her too.
My date to start hormones is June 16th so I know when that time comes there will be further worries and excitements on both our ends to talk through. We are both excited for that part of our journey to begin and we will both experience that journey differently. We laugh all the time when she talks about the beard I will grow and how it will probably feel weird to kiss me at first. How I need to make sure I trim it and keep it clean. The best part about transitioning with a partner is to have someone right by your side to go through this huge journey with you. Is it difficult of course it is, but is it worth it without a doubt. When I get worried or scared about something in the process I bounce those off her and she can give me feedback that maybe I wasn’t thinking about. She provides security, compassion, understanding, and most of all true love.
So, stop and think about how your transition is affecting your partner. Don’t just cater to your needs cater to theirs as well. At the end of the journey your relationship will be stronger than it ever could before. Like any relationship there will be bumps in the road, but the ultimate goal is at the end of the day and at the end of my life I wanna know I made her laugh. Remember enjoy life and live it authentically because one day someone will wonder what your journey was like.