7.06.2010

The Idea of Dating

I have been reading about other guys and the challenges they face dating. I can only imagine how difficult it might be to meet a girl (or guy) you really really like and have to figure out how to tell them you are trans. Most women and gay guys expect their male partner to have a penis and likely prefer that it works. I have no idea how I would try to explain to my partner that while I look and sound and act a lot like a guy, I lack the equipment that she might expect below the waist. And how would I feel if she were to decide that we had no hope at a future simply because I don't have a dick?

I dated a woman once who's ex partner was quite the opposite. Her last girlfriend told her that everything would work out between them and that life and sex would be perfect once she had a sex change. Her girlfriend wanted her to become male. When she told me I could see that it had really upset her and as a butch I thought it was a pretty big assumption to make that any butch would necessarily want to transition. Her girlfriend was a young femme unsure of her sexuality and still in the closet to her family. She had dated men but met a butch lesbian which seemed to be the next best thing. I am sure she thought  maybe there was a chance she could turn a butch dyke into the man she needed. Of course that wasn't the case.

A lot of guys met their partners before their transition.  Some have had the love and support of that person for the entire transition and others lost their other half somewhere along the way. I am at the beginning of my transition. I told my partner about my decision to transition before we started dating. She has been very supportive even when I have been at my worst. I worry that in the future things could change.

There is a lot of information written about our experiences as trans people but a lot less written from the perspective of our partners or ex partners. Would you still feel the same for your partner if they were to change gender? If suddenly your husband became your wife? Your girlfriend turned into a boyfriend? How would you explain that to your friends and family? How would you deal with their reactions? Are you now gay/straight? Would you be afraid of being ostracized by the queer community since now perhaps you appeared to be in a "normal" relationship?

Often I think transitioning is more complicated for the partners of trans people than for ourselves. While we feel our gender identity is wrong and that by transitioning we are righting that wrong, our partner hasn't necessarily felt that way. For them it must sometimes feel like they are going in the opposite direction of our transition. They might become unsure of themselves and self conscious. They might try to change some aspect of their normal behaviour to placate us or make us feel better about our own transformation. Suddenly the lesbian is with a man. The queer is with a woman, the wife is with another woman, the man is with another man... how do you suppose the woman who has identified as a lesbian all her life feels when suddenly her partner decides to remove most of the physical feminine traits from her body? My partner has historically been attracted to soft breasts, smooth skin the scent and taste of a woman and soon she will finds herself waking up to a flat chested, hairy bummed, guy with a moustache. How does that impact her identity as a lesbian? How do her friends see her? how does the queer community see her? How do strangers see her? Does it matter? Of course. It matters as much as our identity matters to us.

I worry about the future. I worry about losing the girl I have. I worry that I might have to learn to date girls as a guy. I worry that maybe one day my lesbian girlfriend will want a woman. I worry that suddenly my queer friends won't see me as queer. I worry that I might get lost without a label or that the label doesn't accurately describe what's in the package...

But for now I enjoy the little things like going to work and having people call me Marcus, use he and him when talking about me. I enjoy watching my girl count the whiskers growing in on my chin and commenting on how handsome I am becoming. I focus on the little things and hope that in the future neither one of us will be dating.

2 comments:

MJZGolfer said...

“I’m not gay; I’m queer friendly!”

well, I can relate to many of the points you bring up - coming from the "other side". Having seen my partner as a boy before I met him and then being told he's a mom (by my kids) certainly had me wondering about this guy/mr.mom! lol. As a straight identified woman, I was just attracted to the cute boy I saw :D However, for friends, mine and his, they questioned my sexuality. How can you be straight if you're dating him? I can only sum it up to - i didn't know him pre-transitioning, so my only point of reference is the guy I met. I couldn't help my attraction any more than anyone else who falls for someone. But when it comes to genitalia, I suppose most people just have clear cut lines of what is acceptably "straight" or "gay". I know I used to. But the sex was FANTASTIC, so who cared! (sorry babe ;p)

As for community and identity, I know for him there's been a struggle not to lose the queer identity and community he was a part of. In the beginning I worried about not being “queer” enough having never been a part of the GLBTQ community at all, not knowing anything about being trans or ftm (or even what those definitions were), and not knowing anything about the lesbian community he was very much a part of before, “Hun, what’s a bull-dyke?” Being seen as a hetero-sexual couple is something we're both mindful of, but in different ways. He’s conscious, on my behalf, that people see us as hetero when we are out in different situations. Generally, there is no issue and I don’t think twice if other people see the guy I’m with. Yet, there are times when he’s not binding and I have seen people check out his chest and it’s made me a little uncomfortable. I forget there’s a whole world outside our cozy little one we’ve created together! That all being said, I have never been happier, it’s been a crazy roller-coaster year and a half, and I’m pretty sure we can overcome any obstacles as long as together we are strong. Yes, as cheesy as that sounds! :D

Princess Ginny! said...

I can also relate, coming from the 'other-side'. I have always been straight, never really thought anything of it, I was just attracted to guys. Sure, I had kissed girls, but most girls do that, right? It wasn't until after my divorce, when I became very close with my best-friend. She was my first female partner. It actually became very difficult after a couple months because I felt that I was falling in love with a girl. I was confused because while I have nothing against lesbians, I had just never seen myself as one. It was like I didn't even know who I was anymore. I questioned myself and I questioned our relationship.

But then, my friend told me that she was really a he. At first I was a little worried that it was because I had expressed my concerns and my own confusion, but after we talked more, I began to understand. At this point I really knew nothing about FTM, Trans, or hardly anything about the LGBT community in general. But I researched it... a lot! It was strange for him because I began to accept his transition much faster than he was, even today he laughs that I am always one step ahead of him, lol.

He hasn't started the testosterone, and only sometimes binds. I know when we go out that some people see him as a female, making me appear as a lesbian, and still others see him as a male, making me appear straight. It is harder when people see him as a girl, but I realize that what bothers me most is feeling him get upset. I could care less if people see me as lesbian or straight.

I found someone that I love. It is not always easy, and he has had to learn that his transition affects me too, but we work through it. I've learned a lot about myself through this process, and for that I am extremely grateful! Of course, I want things to work out with him and I, but even if for some reason they didn't, things might be different for me in the dating world. Love really doesn't care about gender, race, religion, nothing... It's so much deeper than that.