Before I launch into my thoughts, I strongly encourage any couple with a crossdressing partner to read My Husband Betty by Helen Boyd. It is by far the best book I've read on crossdressing and relationships; and is a great book about crossdressing in general. OK, on to my thoughts; thanks for reading them...
I always used to dread bringing the TG subject up when I was dating... never knowing when the time is right. It also sort of bothered my honesty gene (yes, I think it's a fundamental part of my DNA ;-) to not be open about my being transgendered. Not to mention both myself and the other person could be in for heartache if they don't take it well. So I've been pretty open with all my partners about my dressing; particularly as I've come to like and even love myself; including my transgenderedness.
So I do believe strongly in 'full disclosure' as soon as possible about my cross-dressing; at least when it comes to relationships. This is a conclusion reached after some hard lessons and hard-won experience about 'when to tell'. The longer you wait to tell someone about important, and controversial, things about yourself, the more likely they are to be shocked and hurt. The more likely they are to think you're keeping other things private or secret, and it seriously undermines trust. Of course, a TransSexual (TS) woman has some other challenges, the birth defect she's had corrected through surgery isn't really relevant to what a partner needs to know in many ways. While I still believe it's better to tell even about being differently gendered even for TS', it's not my experience and I thus don't feel as strongly about my opinions there.
So, anyway, it's simply wonderful that I have found an awesome, supportive partner. We've known each other since 2001, after finding each other on an internet dating site (yes, it's possible :). Long story short, on July 19, 2005 we were married! Woohoo!! The White Dress and everything... (if you want pictures, you can see my Wedding Picture Page). While it's not always 'sunshine and roses' (what relationship is?), I love my wife very much, and she loves me too... and one would hope so if we're married ;-). She has been incredibly patient, kind, and supportive of my crossdressing, and (more importantly) loves me for all of who I am.
I told my wife about my dressing on the 2nd date. Unlike my ex-wife, she didn't cry for 30 minutes when I told her (then again, I told my ex-wife 3 months into dating, so she'd had a chance to become attached to the partial view of who I was vs. all of who I was). In fact, my wife was very cool with it. She had life experience that exposed her to alternative gender and sexuality presentations, and is simply an open-minded and loving person to begin with. She also thought that I wasn't dating material (I will admit that I thought the same of her at first too), and we'd simply hang out and be friends. Well, that turned into 'friends with benefits' before long, and about 3 years after that I realized I truly, deeply loved her and was ready to make a commitment. A couple of years after that we were married. So it wasn't a whirlwind, love-at-first-site thing with us, and I think we are even more likely to have a lasting, loving relationship because of it. Either way, I am lucky to have her in my life.
I do, in fact, feel blessed that my partner and I can actually legally get married and enjoy the 1,000 of priveledges that come with that. It makes me upset that gay and lesbian partners cannot marry, or cannot even at least be recognized in a domestic partnership w/the same rights and priveledges as marriage, in most states in the USA, or even most places in the world. Of course, my wife and I can only get married because our gender-binary-focused world still considers us "opposite" sexes; though in some states even if I changed genders/sexes we'd still legally be married as man and wife... but that's another topic.
Anyway, it is not only one partner that has been open-minded and supported me. In fact, I have had the range of acceptance; from outright rejection to acceptance. I've had partners who encouraged it as part of their sexuality, because they too are transgendered, because they were open-minded. For example, it was nice to have placed an ad on an internet service as a TG person way back in 1997, and to have met someone open-minded enough to get to know me. This resulted in a relationship that lasted a year, and had some wonderful times... and didn't end because of my dressing (though it played a part). I've had several relationships before then and since then, too, where my partner knew of my dressing from the start. In fact, most of my partners have known early on; as I said before, I believe full disclosure is very important. Trust is a fundamental part of a relationship, and not telling a partner about transness can definitely erode trust.
That being said, I will admit that it often seems all too rare to find people who are open-minded about transgenderedness. It seems to be a big challenge still for most trans people. Certainly it seems less rare to me as time goes on. I think our society is becoming more open about diversity, and that is partially due to people fighting for the right to be respected for who they are; particularly when it hurts no one.
I think it also seems more common to find support as I love myself more. I think that the more one understands, likes, and accepts themselves, the more likely it is to find another who is drawn towards that. If you don't like yourself, whether that's for being TG or something else, it's hard for someone else to like you. Besides, if you like yourself, it's hopefully for good reason! ;-) I had to learn-- often the hard way, and through much soul-searching-- that being TG is okay. It's something that's part of me, and I'm not hurting anyone by being TG. It can be a frustrating challenge to find someone okay with it, but at least that someone isn't me most of the time-- and if I'm not okay with it, how can someone else be?
I realize that as I express this side of my gender, I am admittedly pushing the boundaries of what society finds acceptable for gender expression. Pushing the boundaries can be good... If societal norms didn't get challenged and changed, we'd still have slavery, women would be unable to vote (or at least still wearing big hoop dresses and corsets ;-), polyester in obnoxious colors would still be popular [wait... ;-)], and so on. While I won't 'get on my soap box' and pontificate here, I think that I have a right to be TG, and to express that in public. I am not harming anyone. I have found many people that agree with me; not the least of which is my wife, my friends, and my past girlfriends! :)
Anyway, I knew people who could accept me as a transgendered person and partner were out there... and I feel very lucky that I have found someone that matches me well on all levels; not just my being TG. So for those of you transgendered and still looking for a partner: I know it can seem like a daunting prospect to find someone who matches you well on all levels-- particularly w/being TG-- and it has happened for me, and it can happen for you. :)
This page last updated on 15 May, 2011.
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