The Answer to a Question I Frequently Hear From Transgender Folks
When I was approached to write a weekly article for Transgender Universe I must say, I was excited. I thought back to how lonely I felt at the start of my wife’s transition. How I had no one to talk to who would understand where I was coming from. How difficult it was to find resources, information, and anyone else going through the same thing that I was. I wanted to be able to share my journey, be a resource for partners, and a positive influence for the partners who decided to stay. Since then I sometimes get emails. Some are just a thank you for writing and some are people asking me all kinds of questions. This past week I received an email asking me a question that I hear often. So I decided I would answer it here for all to read.
“AT THIS POINT IN TIME, THEY WANT TO COME OUT AS A TRANS-MAN.”
The backstory sounds like this. Assigned female at birth, this person has been examining their gender for years. Because of their family, they have been content to dress and live like a tomboy. However, a year and a half ago, they met and started dating a cisgender male. So they presented more fem (mostly because the boyfriend liked it). At this point in time, they want to come out as a trans-man. He is simply not happy living as a female. He thinks his job will be ok with it and that the family, in time, will be too. He admits he might lose a friend or two, but is not overly concerned. The biggest obstacle is his boyfriend, who he describes as a straight man and he does not think he will want to be in a relationship with a trans guy.
This is not the first time someone has asked my opinion about coming out. Yes, it is a remarkably scary undertaking. Yes, you might lose people who you thought loved you, but let’s think about the alternative. There is no alternative! I am a cisgender female who has never thought twice about their gender, and I can see as clear as day, that you have no other choice. I watched my wife question and second guess herself in the beginning, but in the end, you have to be you. I promise it is the only way that you will ever be truly happy unless you would consider living an unhappy life, swimming in a sea of depression. Living a lie and pretending to be this other person to appease the people in your life.
“BEFORE MY WIFE CAME OUT SHE WAS A SHELL OF A PERSON.”
Before my wife came out she was a shell of a person. Going through the motions of life as if the light were on but no one was home in there. Always depressed for no reason, and as her spouse, I was always left wondering if I were the reason for her unhappiness. Maybe she didn’t want to be married to me anymore but didn’t know how to end it? Maybe she thought that she could love me and my children forever, but then she realized that she could not? I felt so self conscious, like there was something wrong with me. I was the reason for her misery. In my opinion, that is an awful thing to do to your partner or spouse. There were too many unanswered questions in my head. We spend many years in a state of upheaval. We would go through periods were we were inseparable and madly in love with each other. Then there were the times when we didn’t even have a real conversation or spend any quality time alone.
So my answer is this. When you are going through depression, dysphoria, or turmoil in your head, your partner can feel it. If they know you as well as you think, they can feel your pain and sense your troubled mind. Don’t let your partner or spouse live life wondering if they are enough. Don’t let them create these feelings of inadequacy. If they can’t be with your true and authentic self, that’s ok. If you genuinely love this person and they love you, their happiness in life should be more important than holding on to them. You want to be with someone who loves you for you, not for what they think you are. They may need something else, something that you can’t give them. That does not negate the feelings that you have shared up to this point. People come into our lives for a reason. That does not mean that they will stay forever. You are transgender and you are beautiful, someone, somewhere will love you for you.