From Our Readers
April 06, 2016 2:32 pm
Shutterstock / Anna Ismagilova

When my fiancé came to me four months before our wedding and told me she was transgender, I had one of those movie moments where a character gets such jarring news that the audio goes completely silent, except for a weird buzzing noise and a few extremely muffled voices in the background. We spent three days talking, crying, and grieving. When I weathered the storm of the initial blow, I knew I had a lot of thinking and one very important decision to make — stay, or go? For me, the choice was relatively easy because I straight-up refused to live my life without her. Also, I’m bisexual, so it eventually all worked out. Nonetheless, her transition has changed many aspects of our lives. Its been hard. Some bad things have happened, as well as some really, really good things. Here are a few of those things:

We’ve had to confront (and let go of) our previous straight privilege.

Ah, straight privilege. It’s totally a thing — one we didn’t think about much until we lost it. Before, we could walk around the mall, go out to eat, apply for apartments and loans, and be seen holding hands in public without a second thought, and without any fear of discrimination or hatefulness. Straight couples (typically) aren’t offensive to society just for existing. But the further along she got in her transition, the more and more we were seen in society as a lesbian couple. And, apparently, some people really hate lesbians. I will never forget one of the first times we stepped out together after she started living full-time as her true self. We were holding hands at the mall, and an older man gave us the dirtiest go-to-hell look. It took us both by surprise. It was then that we realized our place in society had shifted, that to some people we were now viewed as lesser. From now on, being out in the world wouldn’t be as safe or carefree as it was before.

I now have a better understanding of the world around me.

Her coming out as trans forced me to do a lot of research. It forced me to open my eyes to the realities, both beautiful and dreadful, of the world around us. It led me to abandon a lot of old, out-dated ways of thinking I had before. It enlightened me and broadened my mind. I’m a different and better version of myself now, with a better relationship with the world I live in, and I love it.

I was forced to let go of the life I had envisioned for myself.

It’s safe to say that when your partner decides to transition, it throws your whole life for a loop. Suddenly, the ways and times you picture yourself buying a house, having children, even growing old, all change. This was something I struggled with in the beginning. I had a hard time picturing my future because I had no idea what to picture. Suddenly, I would be growing old with a woman instead of a man. It was about 2 months after she came out that I realized how foolish it is to ever think that life would cooperate with what I wanted. I knew I was in for mostly uncharted territory when I decided to stay, and once again, I was scared.

We lost the support of some family.

Yeah, it’s true, and it sucks. It happened, and it is what it is. Though I can say that the family I haven’t lost have come to be the most supportive, most loving, closest family I have, and they are more than enough to make up for what I lost.

We’ve gained friends worthy of the finest jewels and gold…

…or, you know, whatever it is that they’re into. This goes along with the family thing I mentioned above. My true friends came to the forefront with an unending wave of love and support that I will be forever indebted to them for. They were exactly who I needed at that time in my life. My relationships with them have transcended friendship into something entirely different. What’s the word? Family? Yeah, that’s it.

I’ve found a new strength in myself that I never knew I had. 

For a while there, my wife’s anxiety forced me into the lead role of household. I had to take over a lot of responsibilities that I had for so long been able to dodge because she was my safety net. Suddenly I found myself making the phone calls, running the errands, paying the bills, and shouldering a hefty load of my own anxiety — it was exhausting. I adopted a newfound no nonsense policy with my life, my problems, and my interactions with other people. Before, I used to avoid putting my adult hat on and dealing with my issues, but I can really take the reigns now. I don’t know if you guys know this, but its very refreshing to be in charge of your life. In the words of my girl Tina Fey, bitches get stuff done.

I now have a better relationship with my partner.

My partner and I are closer now than we have ever been. Before her coming out, we had weathered a multitude of hardships together already. We had been homeless, jobless, and we had also been the alternative — working jobs that made us absolutely miserable. We were old pros at sticking out the hard stuff. And though we bicker and have lots of other flaws, we have always been really good at truly turning toward each other in times of distress instead of taking it out on each other. We have grown even closer over the last couple years. Our roots have dug even deeper as we’ve leaned on each for support through this. The old adage doesn’t apply solely to individuals — what doesn’t kill your relationship will make it stronger, if you allow it.

I also have a better relationship with myself.

My wife coming out has inadvertently caused me to look inward and examine several things about myself. I have gotten to know myself on a much deeper level. I’ve discovered things that I’m passionate about, like minimalism and intersectional feminism. I know what I need and want for my life, and have been able to start really working toward it. I know how to take care of myself mentally and spiritually now, which has lead to much more peace in my life. I no longer feel as though I need someone to point me in the right direction or to tell me what to do with my life, because now I know where to go on my own. I have found myself. And so far, I really like what I’ve found.

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