Being transgender, coming out as transgender, has been rife with so many bizarre or painful double binds. I have had to choose between what my heart tells me is true at the cost of so many things: my marriage, potential health risks, painful procedures, the threat of violence, loss of male privilege to become an oppressed minority. However, it is often my awareness of internal responses to conflicts brought by my decision that who I am and what I must do becomes clear.
I will give you an example.
I am not straight, though I have never explored my attraction to men beyond fantasy. My wife is totally — -straight —-. On the surface she is kind, compassionate, feminine and very very much the epitome of a straight cisgender woman. After I started wearing rings and nail polish she lost all romantic interest in me. We haven’t been intimate since that time, several months before I came out… almost a full year at the time of writing this.
In a conversation a few months ago I was complaining that I missed the touch and affection. I was hurt and suffering and felt like it was emotionally neglectful. She looked at me, exasperatedly- sad and angry. She replied, “I’m not interested in women.”
It should have hurt. I was rejected. Hard.
She thought of me as a woman. She really did.
I fought the urge to smile.
This is not to say I am not grieving the loss of my marriage. I am hurting, grieving. It is hard to say goodbye. I miss her. I miss her smiles and her laughter and her offhand affection. I loathe the cold space in between us at night, but there seems there is no bridge across it. I burned all bridges by accepting myself.
Still, that memory fills me with a strange glow though. Satisfaction. She sees me.
Technically, our marriage vows didn’t have he/she/man/wife in the language. Technically, maybe she “shouldn’t” reject me. Technically, I was born with a penis and was labeled a male.
I can’t really stand on technicalities in this.
It is just a big bramble pile of a painful mess; there is no untangling it. Hard choices have to be made, hard losses need to be endured. Parts of me, of my life, will be pruned away to make way for new growth.
I think of it as dying and being reborn. He is dead, she is free. To death do us part. She and I, two free women again.
If it were easy, I would have done it years ago.