- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
If five years ago you would have told me that I would be planning a commitment ceremony with a man—I would have said you were crazy. I had been an “out” lesbian since the age of 14! Then again, if anyone would have told my partner five years ago that he would be transitioning his gender and becoming legally male—he would not have believed it either!
However, that is exactly what has happened. In November of this year, we’ll celebrate five happy years together in a commitment ceremony in front of family and friends. By then, TJ will have finished his transition from a very handsome butch dyke into a very handsome guy.
So how did we traverse this monumental change without our relationship falling to pieces? We kept things simple, kept things honest, and we kept our love alive.
I. Communication Is Key
He said, “This transition meant bringing something I had kept a secret - even from myself - to the forefront of my consciousness. I was afraid of losing my partner, my friends, my family - but still I did not want to give up the possibility that I could live my life fully as a man- how I saw myself on the inside. It could have been easy to become defensive. I had to think a lot about what I needed and why, so I could help her understand.”
She said, “The transition here was not only for him—but for me, as well. I went from being seen as a femme lesbian to a “straight girl”. Even close friends asked me if I now identified as bisexual. It was really important to me that he continue to support my identity if I was going to support his.”
II. Seek out Medical Support
She said, “Early on we both decided to see a therapist individually once a week. Having a whole hour a week to hash out the various feelings that were coming up for me in a safe space was amazing. It also kept our relationship pretty drama free!”
He said, “We also went to the various doctor appointments together. Once we were able to ask our questions to a medical professional, I think we were both less apprehensive about the process.”
III. Educate Yourself
She said, “Don’t take what your friends say as gospel or let their concerns become your concerns! So much of what I heard was based on misinformation. Look things up yourself and remember that so many of the results are based on the individual.”
He said, “There is a lot of weird information out there. I chose to stick to the advice of my doctors. Take what you find online with a grain of salt. “
IV. Get Involved With the Local Community
He said, “Getting to know the guys in our local San Diego FTMI (Female to Male International) chapter has been a great source of support. Everyone in the group is at different stages in the process. It has been great to be able to talk and compare or even just socialize with folks that know what you are going through."
She said, “I knew I wasn’t the only dyke that has ever gone through this experience! I sought out the SOFFA (Significant Other, Friends, Family and Allies) group at the local FTMI chapter. It was great to meet so many strong and intelligent women (gay, bi and straight!) who were sharing this experience. I am now one of the co-facilitators of the group!”
V. Bring Supportive Family and Friends Into the Loop
She said, “Once we were on the same page and had a mapped out a plan for the transition, we brought our close friends out for dinner or coffee and “came out” to them as a couple. It really helped their apprehensions to see that we were approaching this as a united front.”
He said, “It was good to have my partner with me while telling folks. One of my best guy friends burst into tears when we gave him the news. But, Sarafina was there to reassure him that he wasn’t losing a friend - I was the same “guy” I had always been. Who better to reassure him than the person who chooses to share her life with me?”