Category: Relationships


relax in my heartOk, perhaps not buy. I’m not that skint yet. ‘Who will have’ may be closer to the mark, in all its senses. I have been on the dating ‘market’ for around a year now, and I’ve got to admit that twelve months on, it isn’t getting any easier. I’ll be straight with you here – I am not looking for love again (too painful) or a long-term relationship (too expensive…and painful). Just, you know, a date. And whatever that might lead to. I’m not proud.

My problem is this. Whilst I find my own sexuality, body geography and gender identity perfectly easy to grasp, that certainly isn’t the way other people see things. In short, in my experience**: lesbians have found me attractive until they find out I identify as male (too much of a man). Straight women have treated me like a pet eunuch: a non-threatening man who they can giggle about periods with. But definitely not sleep with (not enough of a man). Gay men have found me attractive until they find I have my original plumbing (not enough of a man). Straight (or, in my experience, bi) men have found me attractive if they are allowed to pretend I’m not really a man. If I emphasise my gender identity, they bail (too much of a man). I have been turned down for numerous explicitly and implicitly gender-based reasons, and it’s starting to jar me off.

**Oh, and before anyone gets their underwear in a twist about my broad, sweeping and stereotypical generalisation of people into four categories, I am talking about my own experience, and yes, I am aware that they are broad, sweeping and stereotypical generalisations. This is a blog, not a gender seminar. And in truth, I’m not quite such a big old sl*g that I’ve been hit on by every facet of the beautiful gender kaleidoscope.

Perhaps I have shot myself in the foot, cut off my nose to spite my face, or chucked out the baby with the bathwater, by undergoing a physical transformation. I have a masculine build, no breasts, but I retain the genitalia I was born with, by choice. Arguably, I have created a physical self that is so different from the norm that people need to think hard about what they are seeing. And when people think hard, that tends to be where the trouble starts. I have been told that I have led to people questioning their own sexuality (hurrah for enlightenment, boo for me going home without a shag). I try to be candid with people about who and what I am, and this has led to some slightly awkward email dissections of “what’s what and where”, which probably aren’t the best prelude to a fabulous date. Maybe I should just ‘wing it’ and hope that the surprise factor doesn’t get me thrown out of the bedroom, or worse. As an aside, did you know that in some countries, the shock caused by finding out that someone is trans* is actually admissable as evidence in court in defending battery and murder. Nuts.

So what on earth to do? Honesty has always been my policy, and I can’t imagine doing things differently. Perhaps I should just worry less what potential partners think – after all, if I’m not their bag, baby, there’s not a lot I can do to convince them. I know that some folk deliberately seek out trans* men, but as a very ordinary chap, I’m loathe to become someone’s fetish. I’ve been advised to seek out partners amongst the ‘Queer Community’, which is all very well, but I live in rural Norfolk. Plus, I’m not entirely convinced that that’s the niche for me.

Labels are dangerous things, and I prefer to avoid them. If asked to describe my sexuality, I say ‘mostly gay’, which tends to elicit a smile, but is as close to the truth as I can find in a couple of words. I find women beautiful (well, most, anyway!) but I’m not really looking to get cosy with them, if you know what I mean. But who knows? Gender comes in many hues, as does personality and, well, everything, so I’d be silly to say I’d never date someone based on something so fluid.

Of course, I never really anticipated that I would be in this position. I had always rather pooh-poohed the problems of dating as a trans* person, because I was sat blithely in my long-term relationship. Well, karma came back to bite me there, and whilst my ex is now happily engaged to the person for whom she left me, I am, at the age of 42, clumsily single and singularly clueless.

chickenlifeIt’s Mother’s Day again,
But my hopes are very low
For a present or a card
Or a call to say hello.

For I am not a standard Mum
And you’ve decided not to know me.
All those adverts on the telly
Aren’t aimed at male Mummies.

So I’m visiting MY Mum instead,
Who will offer me her shoulder,
Say it’s nothing I’ve done wrong,
And you’ll come round when you’re older.

Til then I’m stuck without you,
Forced to smile when people say
“You don’t have children, do you?”
I make it seem like it’s ok.

 

So here we are on Mother’s Day.
I’m feeling rather shitty.
But I’m not writing this to say ‘poor me’,
Or fish for anyone’s pity.

More to say that three years on
I’m still the same old Mum.
Ok, I’ve got hair in funny places
And a considerably smaller bum.

Male or female, I’m still the one
Who kissed away your tears.
Gender doesn’t dictate the warmth of a hug
Or whether someone cares.

But now I’m sent to Coventry, frozen out.
You act like I have died.
I just hope love will span the distance
And you’ll come back to my side.

In the meantime, here’s to all those Mums
Who won’t be getting a card
Or flowers, choccies, breakfast in bed.
Mother’s Day is hard.

Rainbow FishIt’s been a long time since I last blogged. I’ve been trying to think of things to write about that aren’t a) me bleating about how lonely I feel as a singleton or b) an obvious attempt to write about something other than a).

I have now been officially single for 7 weeks. I have spent much of that time purchasing household goods, drinking rather a lot and thinking of things to do to fill the hours. It’s funny that, thinking back, my partner and I rarely ‘did’ things together to fill the evenings, but somehow having someone else in the house makes the hours go by faster. So I am now reading more, trying to force myself to sit down and watch TV and films (I’m not good at settling in one place for too long), colouring and accepting any invitations that come my way for social interaction.

I’m not a big ‘go-er out-er’ but even in my current state I recognise that talking to people is probably Rather A Good Thing. It would be easy to become a hermit, but I’m quite sensible really, and try to get out of the cave when I can. I’m not even quite such a Facebook Fiend as I was. I’ve not really had the get-up-and-go to engage even with social media with any sort of sparkle. Plus, of course, the temptation to stalk is high, so I’m best keeping my typing fingers to myself for now.

I am fortunate in having very good friends, and my family have rallied round in true family style. With the best will in the world, though, I really wish people wouldn’t say things like ‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea’. You see, I don’t really want another fish. I was quite happy with the Rainbow Fish I had, and I can’t imagine finding another sea creature quite like her. You don’t live with someone for over 8 years without becoming used to the way their scales glint in the sunlight, the way their fins move, the way they react when they’re dancing with the shoal, or when a shark approaches.

That’s not to say that I can’t imagine that at some point in the future a passing haddock with a glint in their eye may tempt me. But at the moment I cannot imagine trusting a new fish, and more immediately, I cannot face the prospect of having to explain myself, my gender identity, my sexuality, my physical peculiarities, my head space and my habits to anyone else. I’d got too comfortable, perhaps, and starting again is terrifying.

I am assured by the very lovely people in my life, both ‘real’ and online, that given a few months I’ll start to feel better and want to peer out of my patch of sea-weed and check out the passing traffic. In the meantime I shall be concentrating on keeping well and keeping on swimming.

chickenroad2It’s been a tough old week. July 12th marked two years since I last saw my daughter. I sent her a card saying I missed her, and that I’d like us to get to know each other again based on who we are now, not who we were 2 years ago. I’ve not had a reply, but to be honest I didn’t really expect one. Still, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and processing, and I know that whatever happens with her, I’ve done nothing wrong and I must, above all, be me. Beating myself up for being myself will get me nowhere. I have a little mantra when the internal pain starts to knot up too much: I Am Who I Am, And I Will Be Who I Will Be. Cheesy, perhaps, but it works for me.

On Tuesday, my partner sat me down and explained very gently that she felt our relationship was at an end. We had both noticed that we were starting to live parallel lives, and whereas I thought it was a blip that would sort itself out, she has apparently felt for a while that the road to happiness is not with me. Is it a transition thing? Not really, though of course I have changed a lot, both physically and emotionally. I’d like to think that this has happened because of the normal wear, tear and change that happens in any relationship, not because I became Mark. Perhaps I’m kidding myself, probably I’ll never know, and ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

So here I am, single again after (give or take) 11 years. I have always been a bit of a serial relationshipper – I’m not sure if that was out of some sort of fear of being alone, or just good luck. I am sort of looking forward to spending time with myself after all these years, though the flip side to this is sheer terror. I’d mapped out my life to a large extent – I’d assumed that the status quo would remain into the future, but here I am, on my tod, trying to work out what the f*** just happened.

I have very good friends and family, who I know will pick me up and dust me off if necessary. In the meantime, I have to start unpicking all the details of my life from my ex (I can’t get used to saying that) and work out how to face a new future.

Here is a brief musical interlude – forgive me a little teenaged angst and head-banging.

rejectionYesterday my daughter was sweet sixteen. This is a Big Deal Birthday, if the likes of MTV are to be believed. I wasn’t invited, or involved in any of the preparation. In fact, let’s be honest, I have no idea how she celebrated her big day. I sent a present and a card, of course, but I’m not expecting her to acknowledge either. I texted in the morning to wish her a wonderful day. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get a reply.

The last time I heard anything at all from my daughter was a year ago, when she sent a ‘Thank you’ note for her 15th birthday present. That arrived after I emailed her father to see if the gift had actually arrived. Otherwise, I suspect, the stony silence would have remained. I haven’t seen her or heard her voice since July 2011. Over the last 18 months, I can count the number of times she has replied to one of my regular texts or emails on one hand. With a couple of fingers chopped off.

Almost everyone says ‘she’ll come around’ and I am sure they are right, but that doesn’t make the silence any easier to bear. I could write a very long post detailing the searing pain that I feel every day at the thought that my daughter has chosen this path. But that much pain in one place wouldn’t help anyone, least of all me, and it would probably just make everyone feel uncomfortable.

If I had a pound for every time someone has said ‘she’s just being a teenager’, I’d be pretty rich by now. Of course, we all know that the teenage years are tricky, and I’m sure that plays a significant part in the way she has chosen to act. However, this dismisses what I, and other trans* identified parents go through when our children try to erase us from their lives. Everyone out there with a ‘tricky’ teenager, imagine for a second if that person left you for so long you cannot remember what they look like properly, who rejects all attempts at contact, and who you cannot even argue your case with, because they won’t let you that close.

Sixteen years ago, I was sat in hospital with a baby girl with eyes big enough to reflect the Universe and soft cupid lips, who proceeded to sew her heart to mine. However hard she has tried to unpick those stitches, they still remain, and always will.

 

To celebrate nearly 20,000 post hits on my blog, I wanted to write about something that maybe isn’t often talked about in the way it should be. Sure, lots and lots of people are obsessed with what’s between a trans guy’s legs, and what ‘they do with it’, but that doesn’t help those lucky folk who happen to find themselves in bed with a trans man.

To be honest, you don’t really need to read further than number 1). Everything else I have to say comes back to that. The other thing to remember is that, as in everything in life, we are all different, and what is true for one trans guy will be the complete opposite for another. Just be aware of those differences, and refer back to number 1).

1) Talk to your man. Ask him about his body, and how he relates to it sexually. Find out what turns him on, turns him off or turns him into a quivering wreck (in either a good or a bad way). Communicate BEFORE you hit the sack – there’s a time and a place for “if I do X to you, will it make you feel dysphoric?”, and I recommend before, not during.

2) Find out what language he uses for his genitalia, and for what you’re doing in bed. Apart from the fact that you’ll both be more relaxed using terminology you’re happy with, if he suddenly yells “suck my [insert nickname for bodypart here]” it pays to know what he’s talking about.

3) Don’t assume that because your partner identifies as male that he will necessarily scorn sexual contact usually enjoyed by female-bodied folk. Some trans guys do have a problem with touching that involves what they see as inappropriate ‘female’ anatomy. If this is the case with your beau, make sure you talk things through to find his sexual comfort zone. However, a lot of guys enjoy vaginal penetration (if they call it that…who invented the word ‘vagina’ anyway? No-one with any aesthetic sense, that’s for sure). That doesn’t make them ‘confused’ or somehow not doing transition ‘properly’. It just means it feels good.

4) Be prepared for some super-sensitivity. Testosterone androgenises the clitoris (or the bodypart formally known as clitoris), making it larger, and often a LOT more sensitive, though equally, sensation may be patchy. A lot of change is going on down there, and it takes a while for everybody with a stake in the area to get the hang of what’s going on (including, I suspect, Mother Nature). If you have been with your trans guy pre-T, you may find you have to modify your technique now his anatomy is changing, or you might just find him clinging on to the ceiling by his finger nails mid-sex.

5) Strap-ons can be a blessing and a curse. Be aware that even for those of us who don’t yearn after our very own dick, attaching a fake one (however pretty/all singing, all dancing/guaranteed to satisfy/etc etc) where we can’t actually feel what we’re doing properly can be hard (pardon the pun). On the other hand, I’ve yet to meet the trans guy who hasn’t done a little manswagger on donning a strap-on. Let him enjoy his moment, and save the Freudian analysis for another time.

6) As hard as it will be, try to accommodate his body issues. If your loved one is pre-surgery in the chest area, he may want to wear a T-shirt during sex. Equally, if he is very unhappy with his genitalia, he may not thank you for staring lovingly at them, and describing what you’re doing to him in graphic detail. BUT, please realise that the way he feels about his own body does not reflect on the way he feels about yours. If you’re a girl, I’d bet a lot of money that he adores your breasts, and would be happy to play with them til dawn. Distaste for his own genitalia doesn’t mean he dislikes yours. If you’re a guy, whilst he may envy your flat chest and male genitalia, that won’t stop him desiring you and all your bits, because he finds you sexy.

7) Playing sexy dress-up, or getting into role-play, may feel uncomfortable for a trans guy – for some of us, it wasn’t that long ago that we were ‘expected’ to conform to ‘female’ dress codes. But you know what, if your fella wants to see how it feels to wear stockings, why not? It doesn’t mean he’s not actually serious about being a man, just that he’s comfortable enough with who he is to play around.

8) A common picture of trans guys is that they suddenly acquire a sexual appetite the size of Mount Etna. This is sort of true, and sort of not. Yes, one’s sexual appetite does change, and you may find your favourite trans guy indulging in a lot of…ahm…Self Love, but overall you won’t find he’s turned into a Sex Monster. If he didn’t have a very high libido before T, you may find it’s increased, but not necessarily as much as you’d expect. Those guys who end up very aroused a lot of the time may not find it a good thing, so try to talk it through.

9) Lots of lovely lube. T can, in many cases, dry things up a little. Bearing in mind what I was saying earlier about things also being Very Sensitive, I’d definitely recommend purchasing plenty of good-quality lube. If you’re using silicone toys, or your partner has a silicone ‘playing packer’, avoid silicone-based lubricants, and if you’re using condoms, don’t use oil-based lube.

10) Be safe. Bear in mind that it may still be possible for your partner to get pregnant. However sure you both are that his ovaries have been fried, it does still happen. Use a condom. Whatever your gender, STIs can still be spread however you like to play. Keep your sex toy hygiene high, and if you’re with a new partner, or have an open relationship, get a quick check-up. That way, you can relax and enjoy sex with your beautiful sexy trans man.

In every sexual encounter or longer-term relationship, there’s a lot of ‘shaking down’ to do, and because transition is necessarily a time of change, that can be very hard for all concerned. However, in my newly adopted role of ‘Uncle Mark’ I’ll just say, stick to number 1), respect each others’ bodies and minds, and enjoy it when you get it!

Transitioning can be brutal. And no, I’m not referring to surgery, or the impact of hormones. I’m talking about the reaction of our families and friends to the changes we are making to our lives. There’s no hard and fast rules to how people will react. Sometimes the people you are most scared of telling turn out to be the ones who have your back, through thick and thin. Sometimes the ones you love and trust the most are unable to see past the transition and realise that you are still you, and need their continuing love and trust.

Some friends and family become the loudest, proudest trans-allies, whilst others are happy just to carry on loving their loved-ones the same way they always have, just with a different name and pronouns.

I have been very fortunate – whilst my family are unlikely to ever march in a Pride celebration, sporting brightly coloured transactivist T-shirts, most of the people in my immediate and extended family are supportive and loving, and appreciate why I am doing what I’m doing, even if they’d probably rather I wasn’t. Similarly, most of my friends seem happy to take me as I am, and really, I can’t ask for more than that.

But I have lost people I love – some forever, and some I hope in my heart will come back to me one day. Anybody who has ever suggested that being transgender is a lifestyle choice should consider how much some of us have lost simply by being honest about who we are.

Trans people lose members of their families – parents, partners, children, siblings. Sometimes literally – they are told to move out and never come back. Equally, while some people stay in our daily lives, they are lost simply because they refuse to acknowledge or support us at our most vulnerable. Which is where I come to DIY family. We need to make our own families, and open ours up to others.

Whilst we can’t choose our blood family, or force them to react to our situation in a way that will make us happy, we can find other people who WILL support us. I don’t mean that you should abandon those members of your blood family or friendship group who ARE loving, supportive and kind – anything but – but rather than bang your head against the brick wall of a relative or friend who will not and cannot budge, look elsewhere for the understanding you need.

I am a bit reluctant to use the phrase ‘trans community’, because that implies that all trans people are similar in their outlook, aims and willingness to be a part of ‘a group’. However, within smaller groups of trans people, be they social groups, support groups, etc. there is a huge resource in people who have at least a partial understanding of what others in that group are going through. I’m not trying to encourage dependence, as the last thing anyone needs when they’re feeling vulnerable themselves is someone else relying on them for support. Support and care go both ways.

Sharing a cuppa and providing a listening ear for a while can make you an important person in someone’s life, if nobody at home will listen. Getting together to take part in gender-appropriate activities with someone whose gender identity is being denied by other people in their life will help them. Whilst the idea of being a role-model can be scary, maybe that’ll make you feel good too.

When building up a DIY family, you can mix and match blood family, old friends, new friends, different ages and different backgrounds. Sew all of these into a patchwork blanket that will provide you with the love and support you need, but try to leave room for the ones you’ve lost to return: we’re not the only ones changing.

Conversation with doctor:
“So, is your partner bisexual?”
“No, she’s a lesbian”
“Oh, not even a little bit attracted to men?”
“No, definitely not”
*long pause*
“That’s going to present big problems for your relationship as you transition.”

Well, that doctor wasn’t the first to suggest that me transitioning would signal the end of my loving relationship of (at that point) six years, and certainly won’t be the last. I’m not so naive that I don’t realise that historically not that many relationships make it after one half of the couple goes through transition. I do realise that as we change emotionally and physically, our relationships change too, sometimes just moving too much away from the core that held the couple together in the first place for the relationship to stay viable.

I know this. But as it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I want to make a plea…don’t write us off. Don’t assume the worst. Don’t sit by the phone waiting for the bad news. Because it doesn’t happen to everybody.

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs (fnar) of my sexuality, and that of my partner. I think we covered that in my earlier post So, does that make you both straight now? Suffice it to say that I identify as queer, and my partner identifies as a queer lesbian. For a definition of what the word ‘queer’ means to us (and won’t necessarily for everybody), please see the Glossary I posted a while back. Sexually, yes, we’ve had a steep hill to climb in terms of my physical changes, and also the changes in the way I relate to my own body. But that hill hasn’t necessarily been a bad one to climb, and we’ve quite enjoyed some of the views to be had along the way, if I can stretch that metaphor a little further!

Emotionally, I have changed, and that has led to a lot of renegotiating (and me being b*tchslapped by Willemina pretty regularly). But all in all, I am still the same person I have always been, only happier, more relaxed, more comfortable, more confident than ever. I am finally feeling like the person I always wanted to be, and that’s actually done our relationship a whole lot of good. Let’s face it, would you rather your partner was uptight, depressed, stressed and uncomfortable, or the opposite? Some of the changes we have faced really have been a good thing for both of us.

We’re an odd couple, I know, a transman and a lesbian. But for us, it works. We don’t do anything special, we’re just very, very lucky. Relationships either work or they don’t. Some do break down because of transition, some because of other stuff. If you have friends in a relationship, and one is just starting out on their transition journey, please don’t assume the relationship will crash and burn. Of course, it might, but my point is that it’s horrible to assume, and unfair to say to anyone that’s embarking on their transition that what they are doing will lose them their partner. Just support them if that does happen, and please, avoid “I told you so’s”, because these things are NOT inevitable.

It’s been about 7 years since Willemina and I first met, nearly 18 months since we had our Civil Partnership ceremony (more of that, and the legal issues around it, at a later date. Not now – I’m feeling romantic). We are still together, and strongly so. I can’t guarantee we’ll be together, forever, until the end of our days. Who can? But we have pledged to be together until the point where we stop being happy with one another.

So Willemina Velvetina Pelicina, I love you with all my heart. You are my strength and the arms that hold me when I worry. You are warmth and giggles and craziness. Your smile makes my brain explode, and your farts are the stuff of legend. I’m yours.
***stop press***
New video up on YouTube – interview, romance, and me failing the latest manliness test in spectacular fashion! Just click on MrHerbertTurtle up on the right hand side of this post.

Do you remember those books that were popular in the 70s and 80s – with titles like “The Vegetable and Herb Expert”? They taught us how to nurture our plants and help them grow into strong, beautiful things. I wanted to make this something similar, but thought “The Trans Expert” might be overreaching myself a little. Besides, I’m no expert.

There’s a million and one issues involved in living with another person – be they your partner, child, parent, sibling, house-mate, etc., let alone when that person identifies very differently to you. Personally, I find other people quite ‘tricky’, and frankly, it’s a miracle that my partner has put up with me as long as she has. But she has, which is all that counts.

There’s an assumption, when someone comes out as being trans, that suddenly there will be a lot of drama, upheaval and heartache. I’m going to be looking at the impact of this on personal relationships sometime around Valentines Day, so won’t go into that side of things too heavily now. However, it needn’t all be about drama. Here are a few things to help you look after the trans person in your life:

1) Don’t assume ANYthing. Sure, read about trans people, watch the documentaries, check out Chaz Bono’s book/TV programme/etc. if that does it for you, but please don’t assume that YOUR trans loved one will necessarily conform to all, or any, of the things you read/see/expect. We are all individuals, and just as (say) every person with blonde hair is different, so is every trans person. Despite the jokes made about both groups of people.

2) Don’t call us ‘brave’. I’ve talked about this before, but really, I’m just me and I can’t say I’m particularly brave. Going to the dentist last week practically made me wee myself, and I’ve never rescued a small child from a burning building, so no, no bravery here. Feel free to focus on your loved one’s specific acts of bravery (eg: coming out to a family member who has traditionally had an issue with LGBT people, for instance) but please don’t call us brave just for being who we are. And on a related note…

3) Don’t call us ‘inspiring’. I’d love to think I’m inspiring, perhaps through my writing, or my YouTube videos, or because someone I know has found me helpful at some point. But please don’t call me ‘inspiring’ just because I’m trans. Focus on someone’s actions, specifically what they have done or said that you admire, not just the fact of their existence. Trans people just exist.

4) Appreciate that if we are taking testosterone we are going through a lot of changes, but that we are still basically the same old people. Don’t let people get away with sh*t because they’re transitioning, but at the same time, be prepared to accept that life can be a bit roller-coastery for us at times. And remember that, like anyone, sometimes we need a big hug, and sometimes we need space. Talk to us if you want to know which.

5) As much as you want to be involved in helping us match up our outsides with our insides, be very wary of giving us advice on “how to be more like” the gender with which we identify. Just because I ask you whether my new shirt makes me look manly or not doesn’t mean I’m giving you free rein to say “well, whilst I’m at it, you look really girly when you stand like that”. Sometimes I do ask my partner for pointers, but this is negotiated, and you won’t make your trans loved one happy by pointing out to them on a regular basis how UNlike the gender with which they identify they currently look/act.

Most of all, though, please do what Elisha Lim and Rae Spoon sing in this video. And yes, the first few seconds are minus sound…don’t adjust your sets.

Do we look unhappy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who know Peter Kay (the best thing to come out of Bolton since Reebok shoes and spun cotton) may remember his sketch, that goes something like this:

Concerned person: How ARE you?

Other person: I’m fine.

Concerned person: (Looking meaningful) Yes, but how are you IN YOURSELF?

This sketch continues when talking about someone else:

Mr Curious: So how’s your son? IN HIMSELF?

With the latter part of that query accompanied by a screwed-up face showing concern, tenderness, and not a little meddling nosiness.

“In yourself” (or “him/her/themself”) implies ‘inside’, ’emotionally’, and generally on a level not adequately covered by the answer “fine”. It is a way of implying that there are Deeper Things to be uncovered and discussed, whether or not the person being asked really wants to spill their guts. I find it’s also often a way for people to be dead nosey, hidden under a veneer of concern. But then, I’ve always been a bit cynical, and transitioning hasn’t made me any less so.

My partner and I get this kind of thing quite a lot. People no doubt have the best of intentions, asking me, perhaps, how my transition is going, or how my partner is dealing with my changes, but if they’re told “fine”, or a longer equivalent, things sometimes get a little too personal.

With me, it sometimes doesn’t seem to be enough for things to be going ok. Which they pretty much are. 46 blog posts later, I don’t think I can be accused of holding back on how I feel, but, you know, sometimes things really are just fine. Sometimes they’re not, but can anybody honestly say that they don’t have their downs as well as their ups? You may just catch me on a day when I don’t feel like explaining something that’s troubling me in detail, particularly when 9 times out of 10 people assume that anything that’s wrong must be because of My Big Decision.

(Quick note to any other trans people reading this – how often do you hear “Wow, that must have been a Really Big Decision”. No sh*t!!)

As for Willemina, people assume that she must be going through emotional hell and is just hiding it because she is brave, and doesn’t want to upset me. Now, she has assured me that’s not the case, and we have sufficient love and mutual respect going on that there’s enough honesty between us for me to believe her. But other people sometimes seem to find it hard to do the same. We’re not Super Couple, but we’re plodding along through life just the same as we always did, and whilst it’d be stupid to assume there’s been no impact by my transition on our relationship, it’s a shame to assume that either Willemina or our life together are about to fall apart. You know what? We’re fine.

Which brings me to another, more personal area. When was the last time you enquired about the sex-life of a couple you know? If a couple you are friends with have had a lot of things going on in their life, did you ask them if they are still sleeping together? If that couple went through life changes of whatever sort, did you ask one of them if their sex-life was still satisfying?

There can be an assumption that because my transition is based around gender, that somehow it is also connected to sexuality (via genitalia, I’m guessing?). This leads to the further assumption that because I have chosen to transition very openly, sharing areas of my life that you don’t often learn about, that I don’t have boundaries. Of course I am open about my gender identity, but that really does not make it “fine” to ask us about sex, or our relationship, or to assume that these might be under attack by my transition. Or that if we say things are “fine” we must be hiding something. Just as I have maintained in the past, and still maintain, what is in my pants is my business. In the same way, what my partner and I do in each others’ pants is not up for discussion.

To quote Hillary Clinton, hopelessly out of context:
“I believe in a zone of privacy”.