11.07.2010

Gender Identity Crisis Revisited

Things have been really rocky on the home front of late...my girlfriend and I have decided to back up and back out of our relationship to a point where we can both tolerate each other. I have been kind of a jerk and both of us have been avoiding having  the conversation about my transition and our relationship. A lot of our relationship difficulty is because I just feel so lost in the space between the lesbian woman she fell in love with and the man I am on my way to becoming.

My body is becoming a vessel like the one I always imagined my spirit should have but it doesn't yet feel comfortable or familiar. I have been pulling away from nearly all amorous contact with other life forms. My body is awkward and I am getting very self conscious about the way I am perceived. My girlfriend reads as a lesbian and most people here know her as a lesbian. There is a pretty large and out group of gays and lesbians in this small city and most people are pretty good at reading lesbians and gays. When I go out with my girlfriend to a place where people don't know us things get muddy. My girlfriend is pretty obviously a lesbian and when we are out as a couple my identity is suddenly in question once again. When she calls me sweetheart or baby or wants or hold my hand or be affectionate in public I feel like I am being outed as a liar; as if I am parading around in a charade pretending to be something I am not. Worse, I am sure she feels this too.

I love my girlfriend very much. I am not sure how to deal with this feeling of being stuck in a place where I can't move through the rest of my life as a guy because my identity (and by proxy my girlfriend's identity) will always be questioned. People give us odd and sometimes nasty looks when we walk through a mall holding hands and this has really started to bother me. I am tired of being stared at and whispered about. I just want to be a guy, a normal looking guy and not have anyone question that because of how I look or how my girlfriend looks.

Sure you might be saying that sounds shallow and insensitive and I would probably agree but imagine how you might feel if your partner were transitioning and suddenly people started looking at you as straight, or gay or lesbian. How would you deal with it? How would you deal with all the questions, the very personal questions about your sex life and sexuality? How would it be different if you and your partner had been together for a long time and you had to explain to your family, your co-workers, your children? What if you just started dating someone and they told you they were born a different gender? Would you still date them?

Yeah it's complicated isn't it. I don't want my girlfriend to feel like she has to explain to her friends or acquaintances that I'm not really a guy. That has happened a few times and not only does it really hurt, it also undermines my identity and reinforces the idea that trans people aren't really men or women but are still truly bound to their original biology.

So we finally talked about it and decided to start over in a platonic place and see what happens. So far the tension has disappeared and life has returned to some semblance of normal. I am not sure how things will progress in the future but we are going to just take it one day at a time so both of us can figure out if this relationship will survive a double dose of identity crisis.

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