Love in the time of transgender Finding someone special with whom you can fall madly, passionately in love is difficult for anyone. Many of us in the Trans* community struggle to find meaningful and loving relationships. Some of us are blessed to have a spouse or partner who is supportive and wants to keep the marriage or relationship together. Some of us are not so lucky. I’m sure we all know a member of our Trans* family who has chosen to remain in the closet to keep or find a loving partner. There are many, also, who have decided to live a single life.
Some of us aren’t so lucky We all have heard of or know someone who lost their family when they came out. I have an acquaintance and a friend who both were thrown out of the house, divorced and have not seen their children in years. The pain of that loss never goes away.
Making our choices A few years ago, I was widowed, losing my wife of twenty-four years. I had come out to her a couple of years before and we were working our way through the changes in our marriage. Cancer changed all that way too soon. After a couple of lost months, I vowed to come out and begin my journey. I did not have anyone in my life and my children are adults and not living at home. I was on my way and I didn’t need a partner.
Loneliness I had not lived on my own for a very long time and I found it lonely. I had been married a total of forty-three years. I had a house that was too big and too quiet, and I thought, who’d be interested in me, an aging trans-woman. I was still working, so I have friends and associates from the office, but not romantic material. I also wasn’t attracted to men, so that cut out a significant slice of the population. I had made up my mind it would be me and the dog and visits to the grand kids.
Just friends I knew one of the ladies in another department where I work who had lost her husband and we became friends during my wife’s last year. She shared her heart and wisdom while I struggled. About four months as a widow, my friend invited me to dinner on New Year’s Day. I wasn’t out to all at the time and she was unaware of my true gender identity. As we talked, the topic of ‘What will you do now?’ came up. When I got to the ‘I’ll probably never marry again,’ she asked me why I wouldn’t. That was when we had the ‘There’s something I should tell you’ talk. To say I caught her off guard is an understatement.
Time and patience . . . and lots of conversation That night, we began what has been a three-year long conversation. In the beginning it was about gender identity issues, sexual orientation, (yes, I’m transgender, no I’m not gay) and living a lie. Also on the list was how can you know you’re a woman, people will never speak to you again and what do your children think of this. There were many late night talks, long phone calls, some tears, some harsh words and many, many more questions. She started out the conversation with the knee-jerk reaction of what I was doing is a sin and why did I chose this, to slowly realize this isn’t a choice, this is real and this is my life. What began as a friend helping someone through a very bad spot in life, slowly blossomed into love.
November 26, 2016 Risking it all, in May of this year, I asked her to marry me. She didn’t see that one coming either. When she realized I was serious, not to mention being on one knee and holding a ring, she said, “Yes.” This time it was happy tears. We will be in Hawaii for Thanksgiving to spend it with her family (she’s a wahine), so if you are near Waianae on Oahu, look for the crazy haole and her island girl getting married on the beach. Come by and say, “Aloha.”
I so happy to the other brides and grooms Through social media and the online press, I see more and more of us are finding love and getting married or being in committed relationships. To all of them, my heartiest congratulations, long life and much happiness.
Thank you I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge using part of the title from Gabriel García Márquez and his brilliant novel, Love in the time of Cholera. Gracias, señor.