U.A. Nigro

By U. A. Nigro

I am number two in the line up and the oldest girl. One of my sisters lived only hours after her birth. This May, my parents will be celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. I am a second generation Italian American and I was raised Roman Catholic. I attended Catholic school till the eighth grade and received all the sacraments. My parents were, and still are, very active in the church. As a child, my mother spent her weekends cleaning the rectory and cooking meals for the priests. My father was the head of the Holy Name Society (what ever that is) and they ran a Pre-Cana group in our living room once a week. In my house, it was normal to have a priest or a few nuns over for dinner, which my friends thought was weird. So how did my husband/wife brain wash me into becoming a lesbian?

“You are not a lesbian!” my father shouted through the phone. As my mother was yelling in the background, “Think about your children!” “You can’t do that to them, they have been through enough.” Thanks to my mother’s Italian temper, the conversation didn’t last as long as it could have. She hung up the phone on me like she usually does when she is done screaming. However, five minutes later she called me back and said that she never wanted to talk about this again, and that’s pretty much where we are today. She asks me how the girls are and I ask her how her new knees are. It’s all very cordial.


So has my old husband brainwashed me into accepting him as my new wife? No, not even close, but what did happen was quite unexpected. It made me stop and think about my own sexuality. Something I had never done before. I have only ever been with men. Growing up in a conservative Catholic home that was the one and only option. Certainly you can’t count the juicy, drunken kiss some strange girl gave me in a bar one night. I had an appreciation for a beautiful woman, but did that mean that I could be with one? Not to mention, bringing a women home to meet my parents and introducing her as my “girlfriend” would have been the end of me.

So here I am in my early forties, just figuring myself out. Going through some kind of transition of my own. Forced in a way to look inward and reflect. I had never labeled myself heterosexual or gay before, but now I find myself trying to figure that out. As her spouse, I made the decision to stay and live through transition with her. I love her, surely that would be enough, but what would I do if I couldn’t stand the sight of her without clothes on? I had no idea how I would feel about the changes my wife’s body was about to go through. What if I was not physically attracted to her anymore? It happens a lot when one partner is transitioning. The thought of that was devastating to me. I am married to the love of my life, I couldn’t imagine not wanting to be intimate with her any more.

My wife’s body took to the hormones like a duck to water. After her first shot, her blood work revealed that she had the same estrogen level as a cisgender woman. The doctor was baffled. Me, not so much. I had watched her experience emotional highs and lows that were similar to my own, even before hormones were introduced by the endocrinologist. As humans, we all produce both estrogen and testosterone, I think her body just always made more estrogen. Subtly I noticed little changes, and to be honest, they didn’t bother me. I liked the silhouette of her budding hips, her new thiner waistline, her perky developing breasts and her smooth skin next to mine. I always loved it when she would grow her hair long and who knew how fantastic fingernails down your back felt.


My wife’s metamorphosis into her true self has had a domino effect into my life. She says it’s the best part of her transition, me searching and finding my own truth. It wasn’t easy, it didn’t happen over night, but we all need to take our own journey. Always try to be patient and understanding. Remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. My wish for every spouse and partner in the world would be that you can come out the other end of this together. That is unfortunately not always the case. Statistics show eight out of ten partners leave the relationship. Very sad, if you ask me, but I wish you all luck in finding your own truth.


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