SO: Significant Others

by dominicdemeyn

I have recently haunted the TQ Nation forum again, to read about what’s new and what’s going through people’s minds. I am a bit of a stalker in that way.

I really like it there, it feels like a safe space, like all sorts of genres of people are recognised. After having partly transitioned into my non-existing gender, I have felt less of a need to speak a lot in every forum on the net dealing with trans issues and transition, because I feel a bit calmer and less angry (about my body and my situation). But I’m not fully transitioned yet and also might never be, even if I do one day become a robot, because, as one person said in a forum, it’s not so much about the physical stuff but about what’s inside, and gender is also what others do to us.

I am also reading and learning more about areas of people’s lives I am not or not much in touch with. Significant Others is such a topic I have nearly nothing to say about, and still I write about it (LOL).

I am usually thinking about me, me, me, everyday. That’s also due to the fact that, conveniently, I do not have a significant other in my life, the likes of which I encounter on the forums. Only recently has it really occured to me what struggle they could be going through when having to deal with their partner’s transition.

A lot has to be said for someone who stands by their (trans-)(-man) or (trans-)(-woman) when they realise what changes may occur in the transitioning process. While originally identifying as lesbian, for example, one is now, after transitioning has occured, often identified as a straight couple, which messes with one’s identity markers.

Other changes affect the body of one’s partner. The voice, muscle bulk, hair quantity, even facial structure may change due to hormone therapy. All of a sudden, one’s girlfriend is one’s boyfriend. Does that not change the dynamic of the relationship and what if one only ever thought one liked women (as a woman) and now this happened?

(significant other, you’re so significant other)

I cannot say this very well or sensitively, because it doesn’t really affect me personally, I am just not in the situation, and honestly, I have a hard time putting myself in that situation. I don’t know how I would react and if I would stand by my partner. Such drastic changes might not alter a persona, but physical changes of the hormone sort would probably be a huge barrier to me. That said, though, I am not really capable of loving, so what would I know.

But reading the posts of so many people who are talking about their relationship continuing and flourishing even with transiition have uplifted what’s left of my heart and soul. It’s inspiring to read about success (love) stories and know that it is possible for some of us to find the right one and not have to be disappointed because we are not good enough. These SO’s make life so much better for a trans person, I wonder if they know how special they are and how important their actions are to stay with their respective partners, because they really want to and love them. It’s a kind of sacrifice to lose the person (the shell) that one has known, for 10 years, 20 years, or even one year. One has to rearrange a lot in one’s head and the relationship dynamic possibly changes as the relationship moves on.

Trans people may also sacrifice a lot for their partners or children. In order not to embarass them or make life difficult for them, they often deny who they are and do not come out in public. It depends on where their priorities lie, but it’s saddening to see that a lot of people have to hide even from their own families, because who they are eventually affects a lot more than themselves.

It’s not easy and it’s still about what one is willing to gain and what one is willing to lose. Is one’s gender identity important enough to warrant transition, are the peer groups or family more important? When is a good time to tell SO’s about gender stuff, how will they react, what will be the fallout?

I’m lucky in that my family is juuuuust ok with me. That is also due to the fact that I have trained them beforehand (for years) into recognising me as the trouble maker and weirdo….It kind of helps when they have that image of you. Things are not so dramatic anymore. My brother was a bit taken aback after hearing about my operation. After not speaking much for years (because it’s just too difficult) he was worried about me….AT LAST!!…………………..well, too late.

But it’s a process and I shouldn’t be too strict. Like a lot of others, I’m worried that I might lose my family due to being too different, the other day I was even scared about refusing a glass of sparkling wine that everyone in the group liked, because everyone likes that stuff, and if I criticise it I might be seen as criticising their life choices, eventhough it’s just a drink we are talking about. I get phases like that when I’m scared of admitting to anything at all.

But that doesn’t really help the situation either, because then I just want to be in a dark room and sleep. So I’m trying to tell people about myself and trying to find out who my significant others are, so that I can work on keeping them and being able to tell them how special they are.