Everything you need to know about having a transgender spouse.
People are naturally curious about what happens to a relationship — and a family — when a spouse comes out as transgender. So I thought I would answer some of the most common questions and comments I've received since my wife, Zoe, transitioned.
Get your coffee ready. Here we go!
1. How have things been since you told the world you have a second trans person in the house?
Crazy, but the good kind of crazy. The world has been a lot kinder than I expected, frankly. We’ve received hundreds of supportive messages from people from around the world. I haven’t had a chance to reply to them all yet, but please know we’ve read every single one and they mean a great deal to us.
I did a brief interview with 105.3 Kiss FM, which you can listen to here, and Alexis and I spoke to Metro Ottawa, too. I do these interviews because I believe it’s the only way to normalize queer families. The more people hear our stories, the more they learn, the less sensational we become, and the more widely accepted we are. A few of us have to be public to make change happen. It’s really that simple.
There will always be hate, of course. I did an interview with Us Weekly and the comments are... well, don’t read the comments. Just don’t do it. Some of them will destroy your delicate faith in humanity. I stopped after three and haven't checked them since.
And then there was that guy on Twitter who had this to say about why I have a trans child:
I might frame that one. Frankly, I’ll take the small amounts of hate if it means we get to live authentically. That closet we were in for the last few months was hella stuffy.
2. How did things at Zoe’s work go after she came out?
Zoe sent an email the day I wrote our coming out post. Since then, she’s received over 60 supportive responses from coworkers who are looking forward to welcoming her back as her true self. Yet another example of how Ottawa, Canada is a wonderful place to live. You should totally live here. It’s cold enough to crack your ovaries in half, but our warm hearts more than make up for it.
Zoe is working from home this week and is back full-time in the office the next. I will be expecting regular text updates on day one because my stomach will be in knots. And also because I’m fairly high-maintenance.
3. But be honest: Are you really happy with a trans spouse — or are you just saying that?
She still makes me coffee every morning, which ensures I’m not a giant assh*le to the world. So yes, I’m legitimately happy. And you should be, too. Trust me.
4. OK, it’s just, there’s no way I could be happy, you know? I would be settling if I stayed. So are you settling?
Fact: I said, on more than one occasion, that I could probably never stay with a spouse who transitioned. It would be too weird. Too hard. Too overwhelming. But there’s a difference between theoretical situations and actual situations. When the actual situation occurred — something I never thought would happen to me — I had to re-evaluate my black-or-white views on it. I'm glad I did.
Look, I understand if you couldn’t be happy and had to end the relationship. I would never fault someone for that.
There are many factors in play when a spouse transitions: How happy or unhappy you were as a couple before your spouse came out to you, your own sexual orientation, your partner’s sexual orientation, any feelings of betrayal you might have about them keeping their gender identity from you, whether they start stealing your lip gloss out of your purse like a bitch, if they start upstaging you in the hair department... The list of potential deal-breakers is long.
I was essentially handed a golden ticket to divorce when Zoe came out to me. We could have split completely amicably at that point. We could have co-parented, and I could have supported her in a friendship role. I considered all of it.
I chose to stay because I love her and she loves me. I'm very much attracted to the person she is. I’m a “hearts not parts” kind of girl, so her gender doesn’t matter to me. And she only likes the ladies and I happen to be a great one, so it all worked out. We’re like a really weird fairy tale. And I regularly steal her lip gloss.
5. Wait. Zoe is a trans woman, but she only likes women? Huh?
LGBT 101: Your gender identity and sexual orientation are separate things. Completely. Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as. She's a woman. She's attracted to women. Many trans women identify as lesbian or bisexual. It’s not that uncommon.
6. So you’re comfortable being in a same-sex marriage?
Of course. I’ve been checking the mail every morning to see if my gay agenda has arrived. I’m sure it’s chock full of ways to destroy the fabric of society.
Can you believe it? I’m now part of a giant conspiracy to tear apart the traditional family, which is why all these organizations lobby to make my “lifestyle” illegal. I understand why they’re fearful. I mean, look at all the damage I’m causing by continuing to raise my kids, volunteer in the community, earn a living and pay my mortgage. Such immorality. WE SHALL RUIN ALL YOU HOLD DEAR.
7. And the kids are OK?
Actual conversation I had with my children a few weeks ago:
Me: “So guys, I’m getting ready to tell the internet about your mama.”
Kids: “That’s fine. Whenever you’re ready.”
Me: “Really? You’re not worried about being teased or anything?”
Other kid: "I know, right? I got the same thing when I told my friend."
Me: "Wow. Welcome to 2016."
YOU GUYS, I'M FINALLY TRENDY. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, everyone I went to middle school with. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go work on my gay world domination glitter shirt.
This article was originally published at The Maven of Mayhem. Reprinted with permission from the author.