Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Gay for My Husband... I Guess

So, one of my little worries, that I know for certain lay in the minds of many heterosexual spouses whose partners come out as transsexual, was that because I had no iota of sexual attraction toward other women, how in the world could I possibly remain attracted to my husband when she became a girl?

I went through this scenario with Natasha. I could not bear to live without my other half, but how could I stand to live with her as a "roommate," since that's how it would have to be, right?

For most people, we are born with a natural tendency to find certain physical characteristics appealing in a mate. I've said before (I think) that I don't consider myself a materialistic person and that I love people based on who they are, not what they look like. Yet, when faced with Natasha, I seriously had to think about whether or not this was really true.

It's not totally true.

I definitely prefer taller people. I'm 5'8".
I don't particularly like facial hair.
My partner MUST be able to throw me over his (her) shoulder and carry me around (don't ask).

That's pretty much it.

Natasha... as a male... met all three of these requirements (except that when I gained too much weight, I wouldn't let him throw me over his shoulder). I am confident that, once I have lost the weight (working hard!), Natasha will be able to do it again, although we have a Bowflex just sitting there and she refuses to use it! Bother her, ladies! Get her to get tone!!! :-)

While my list is very short, for many people, having a penis on the partner is a physical trait that is very important. Having a "manly" body is important. We can't help how we feel about these things. For partners whose physical requirements list is long and contains male-specific (or female-specific if you a heterosexual guy) items, what else is there to do but end the marriage and hope to find a male who floats your boat as much as your husband did when she was a guy.

Okay. So say your physical traits list is not gender-specific like mine. The fact remains that no where on the rest of my list of requirements did it say, "Someone with a female brain." Leave it to the universe to find the loopholes! Is male or female really that important?

It can be if intercourse is important to you.

Was the marriage based on sex? If not, how much does sex factor in on your relationship?

If intercourse is important, like you do it lots and you love to do it lots, then it might be time to set up a roommate situation or one of you needs to move out. Nobody wants their ex as a roommate when you're opening your door for a date! This was an idea that drove me nuts! When I was thinking about how we might end our marriage and knew that she and I would have to live together for the foreseeable future because of finances, I felt sick. Not that I was even thinking about looking for another partner, but seriously, that's just plain heartbreaking!

And that's the big problem. Here you are, a heterosexual person, suddenly faced with the fact that you are totally in love with your partner but can't even fathom spooning! It's literally gut-wrenching!

I forced myself to analyze my list and found that my physical requirements were not compromised. Yes, I found it hard at first to watch my husband grow breasts and lose muscle mass in places and gain fat in other places (woman fat, not fat fat). I started to chant a mantra whenever her appearance started to wrench my gut. "I love my Bubbow. I love my Bubbow. I love my Bubbow." Bubbow does not have a gender, you see. Bubbow is a personality: an inner core: a soul. We are soul mates. Souls don't have genders.

Can all partners find a chant to get them to see the truth of the gender situation? I would love to think so. How many of them are married to their true soul mates? Those that are owe it to the relationship to take that genderless pet name for the partner and remind themselves continuously how much love there is.

Gender is the core issue here, as we all know. So does the fact that I remain in love with my Bubbow mean that I have conceded to being gay? My husband, as it turned out, was a lesbian, after all!


With all hope nothing ever happens to Natasha, should I find myself open to another relationship, I will not seek other women. I could have done that already a few times. No, I am a heterosexual woman. I don't love Natasha because she is a woman, I love her because she is still my Bubbow. And the sex? Like I said, if intercourse is important, there will be a problem. Perhaps she is lucky that I've had a "whatever" attitude about intercourse for most of my life. I have definitely enjoyed it, but honestly, it's never been about intercourse. Note, please, that I keep saying "intercourse." That's specific to penetration.

Ask a hundred women and a large portion of them will tell you that penetration doesn't really do it for them unless there's other stuff going on at the same time.

Intercourse, as it turns out, isn't a priority for the success of our relationship. Most happily married couples will say the same. But is "sex" is something a person likes, well... there's all kinds of toys and things out there. Those shops wouldn't be everywhere if they were only visited by homosexuals and "deviants"! So many customers are heterosexual couples, darn it!

What about going out in public? Partners need to ask themselves if they care because of what OTHERS MIGHT THINK or because they are embarrassed. Why should someone be embarrassed? Who cares what others think? Will your life be destroyed if a stranger thinks you're a lesbo? Will you be chastised openly if your partner still has that "male" quality under the makeup? Maybe it's because you're jealous that your husband is hotter than you (I had to say that... Natasha!). Seriously though, if a partner hangs out with people of the same gender publicly, what is the difference? Women in most cultures hold each others' hands in public anyway. I've even seen it here in the U.S. between friends. Even so, being gay is "in" right now. Unless you live in a conservative, homophobic city, nobody's going to give a lick what you're doing in public as long as it's not breaking the law or scaring their children.

In our everyday lives, Natasha and I are a married couple: typical in most aspects. We have two awesome kids, lots of pets, friends, jobs. We have a ton of likes and dislikes in common. I'm still processing everything. I have my days where I still recite the mantra; yet, they come less often because I am getting used to her and I am constantly involved with her transition. Because I love her I want her to be happy. My own happiness, it seems, does not conflict with that (especially once she understood that speaking at a higher pitch just didn't suit her frame :-D).

I'm not gay. I am in love forever with a soul.


Natasha said...

Pffft! I am not hotter than you! Better butt, yes. But in no way hotter :P

Love you!!!!

Amy K. said...

I really enjoyed reading this. It's rare that couples get past the gender issue and remain together throughout their partner's transition. And not caring what strangers and acquaintances think is not only good for a relationship such as this, but is something that I believe is good for any individual. Live life for yourself. Those who don't like it can get lost.

I just have to ask, though... "Bubbow?"

Casey said...

Natasha... ditto!

Amy K. - Well, I can't exactly use our REAL private names for each other, so I created a similar one. :-)

Ariel said...

Our private name for each other is gender neutral as well. We've called each other that almost since the beginning. And that hasn't changed. :)

We have made some accommodation. I won't go into details. But our love for each other and our relationship in general is probably better now than it's ever been. I'm a better partner, although still working on things (aren't we all).

I imagine it's different if two women go out with kids that clearly belong to both of them. In our case, being childless, in restaurants we very often hear "do you want separate bills"? We get perceived as friends and not a lesbian couple, probably because we don't look like what most people think lesbians look like. :)

Another great post, Casey!

Petra Bellejambes said...

Loving your posts Casey. You really get it all out here (not an easy thing to do). It is very helpful to me to know your thinking. Thanks for sharing it.

Best to Natasha,


Melissa said...

Casey, Natasha is so very luck to have such an intelligent, open minded, and kind hearted spouse!

Melissa XX

Lori D said...

My wife often adamantly states, "But I'm NOT a lesbian." I completely understand her need to retain her core identity as my own was finally being manifested. She's not a lesbian, even if the world thinks that. And that's perfectly fine with us.

Natasha said...

Melissa - I keep saying that!!! All the time. Sometimes I even tell her that and occasionally she believes me.

She makes me happy to be alive in this world.


Two Auntees said...

I am a little late to this conversation but I am married to a transgender woman also. My story is different from yours because our relationship began as Sarah's transition began. I knew that "John" was going through a divorce and seeming to have a rough time. He had come on to me some and one day asked to go to lunch because he needed to tell me something. The "something" was that he was transgender. I didn't run away in horror. We talked and I invited him over to dinner. He asked to come to dinner as she which was fine. I was thinking that this relationship would be a friendship and nothing more. Somehow, the relationship became romantic.

I have always considered myself heterosexual. All my previous sexual/romantic relationship have been with men. It took me a while to wrap my mind around what was going on.

Finally, we moved in together. I knew I was in love. The first year took a lot of negotiating but we came to see that we were in love. But how could I describe myself? Lesbian? Straight? I had never felt attracted to women.

A Marriage and Family Therapy professor from the local university asked us to talk with them but I had not figured all my answers out at the time. When asked about my sexual orientation, I told them that I was the woman who loved Sarah and if they needed a label then they need to choose one because I had no need for a label.

After more thinking, I just told people I was lesbian. After all, I was in love with a woman, right? I have finally made a 360 degree turn. I really don't have to have a label. I AM the woman that loves Sarah. If other people need a label, then they can choose one. I will go happily on continuing to love Sarah without my own label.

Katherine said...

Interesting perceptive... My wife also chose to stay with me when I came out although she identifies a bi sexual (as do I).

That being said, I have to ask why the reluctance to say you are gay or bi if you are in fact in a relationship with a women? My wife also pauses when presented with this question and I have to wonder if it part of the mourning process for the loss of your husband or even a possibility that you do not fully accept her as a woman?

Relationships involving transgender individuals get complicated for sure. I see them as a way to show that the sexual identity options in our culture are irrelevant. You touched on this as well. You love your soul mate... Isn't that what matters? To follow that up with "But I'm not gay" is a bit confusing because like yourself, your soul mate is in fact a woman. Again, semantics...

Not trying to sound rude or discredit your feelings... I am just making polite conversation.

Casey said...

Hi Katherine,

I welcome polite conversation! :-)

I do not identify as bi-sexual simply because if something were to happen to Natasha, I would not find myself interested in another woman.

I am a very liberal person. I've seen and experienced A LOT of things in a lot of different ways... I know myself enough to know why I have the relationships I do with each person, you know?

You are correct that I said she is my soul-mate. You are correct that I don't have a problem at this point with her gender. But I fell in love with her as a man, partly because she was a man.

I have to disagree with you that we are talking "semantics." Yes, being "gay" means that you are SEXUALLY attracted to people of one's same physical gender; however, I am not sexually attracted to Natasha as a woman. I WAS sexually attracted to my husband when I met him and continued to be so for many years. But our relationship was never based on sexual attraction to a large degree, and over the years, sexual activity has not been a priority. My relationship with Natasha is unconditional love. "Soul mates" don't necessarily express love via sex. In fact, that's not really any aspect of a deep love, though it can be expressed through sex.

If I had met Natasha today, I would certainly have felt a connection to her, just as I do my other soul mate who is female, but we would be the closest friends - like sisters - and nothing more (although with her being gay, there might have been some problems :-D). My personal physiology and brain chemistry makes me desire men, and trust me, I've had opportunities to challenge that.

Besides, I wrote that post with an attempted sense of humor about being gay for my husband. :-)

Does that make any sense?

Katherine said...

Oh absolutely you make complete sense and I understand where you are coming from. My wife has similar feelings about how she feel in love with a man and was unsure if she loved me as a woman. I love the perceptive though and I am always looking for fresh ways of looking at things!

As a spouse who stayed (there aren't to many women who would) I would love for you to quest post on my blog some time!

sandra said...

I recently saw a testimony about a spell caster of some sort in a blog I visit for relationship and marriage counselling problems and I just thought after ripped off the previous year of almost about $580, I should try it*maybe out of desperation of some sort*..and I contacted them..Atfirst everything felt dreamy and unbelievable,their consultations and solution was a little bit easy and strange and I was scared a little cos I heard read and heard lots of stories of fake spell casters and scammers ripping people off their money..I played along with a little hope and and faith and I was sent some few stuffs after everything and it worked like a miracle,everything went to a while new direction,it was and is amazing...I guess it was all good faith that made me read That particular post that faithful day..I hope they could help other people too like they did me...I did a little and I got everything I wanted and wished for*my husband,my family and my life back*their address is:odonshiraad@gmail.com

Kay & Sarah said...

Gee Sandra, why didn't we think of this before, going to see someone who can cast spells. Since years of trying to pray our disorder away. You would think our G-d would have better connections than someone who casts spell?

Sandra, If you indeed 'got your husband' back do you think he is as happy as he could be, or is he like those controlled "Stepford" wives.

Mia said...

I am in awwe of the strength you ladies have. It brings me hope in a very dark time for me. Thank you for allowing me to read your stories. I only hope that I will one day have your courage.

Marni said...

Take everything one day at a time, Mia. Keep talking, be honest with yourself, and be open. You still may not end up where you want to be, but you will make the best decisions for yourself and for your family if you keep a level head. :-)