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July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012

I’m a trans wife. What does that mean? I’m married to a transsexual. And our relationship is strong. So many marriages dissolve when the wife finds out that her husband is transsexual. In many cases, that’s because they may have been married for years before she finds out, and often it’s by accident. In our case, I knew before we started dating. I was taking a singing performance class, and he was the teacher. I had a crush on him. A couple of weeks into the class, we both went on a music retreat, and he came out to the group and presented as female the rest of the weekend. I quietly freaked out. I felt I couldn’t be in a relationship with a trans woman. But as I got to know her (her name is Mara), my prejudices and preconceived notions of transgendered people melted away. My head kept saying, “no, no, no”; and my heart kept saying, “yes, yes, yes.” And I fell in love despite my best efforts not to, because I realized that this person is truly wonderful, and it stopped mattering to me that she was trans.

We met in early 1994, just before the Northridge earthquake. (We live in Los Angeles.) By 1995, we had moved in together. By 1997, we were married. Mara tried to straddle the genders, presenting as male most of the time (for work, family gatherings, etc.) and presenting as female sometimes when we went out on dates and when we hung out with other trans women. (It helps that she is very passable, with soft features.) Mara said she was OK living part-time as female, and she was a proud groom in a tux on our wedding day. But on one of our early dates, she did tell me that there is no guarantee that she wouldn’t transition someday.

Almost two years ago, Mara realized that she does need to transition. She had been in denial that she was wrong-bodied. I could tell. She was miserable. She had been taking female hormones since before we met, and she went off of them for awhile. She gained weight, started losing hair and didn’t want to present as female. So she went back on the hormones. Within two months, she lost about 20 pounds. Her hair (beautiful, naturally curly hair that’s falls just below her shoulders), grew back, and she was started to present as female again. She was so much happier.

Then, on her birthday in October 2010, she broke down and sobbed for about an hour and a half. “Why?” she kept asking. I was away on business, so she had to mourn alone. But since then, she has cried on my lap many times. In November 2010, we were both crying, and I at her and asked, “You’re going to transition, aren’t you?” She nodded. “Yes, I think I am,” she said. That was the second time I quietly freaked out. We talked about splitting up, selling the house, etc. Then, I realized that I couldn’t leave the relationship just like that. We had invested too much in each other. I still loved her very much. I suggested we seek counseling and wait awhile before we make any decisions. Mara contacted a couinselor who is an expert on transgender (an umbrella term that covers transsexuals, transvestites, etc.) issues. He had written books about it, and Mara had seen him for counseling about 20 years before. We coaxed him out of retirement, and we see him about every other week.

We came out to many of our friends and all members of our immediate families. I’ll blog more on that next time. But here’s the plan: Mara will be getting facial feminization surgery this fall (she doesn’t need much). She has four weeks of vacation time coming, plus sick days, which she will use. When she returns to work, it will be as a woman. No more having to do “boy drag.” By the way, the top people in her office, as well as the HR department, know about her and support her. But I am keeping both of our anonymity for now, because the rest of her colleagues and the company’s clients don’t know. She is working on a project that will conclude this fall, and her company wants to wait until that time to let everyone else know.

I’m so glad I didn’t make any rash decisions, because we’ve actually grown closer since then. I’m so lucky to have Mara in my life. We truly honor and respect each other. She has no choice: She is wrong-bodied and must transition to be reconciled. I have a choice: I can leave the relationship or stay. And every morning, when I wake up, I choose to stay.


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  1. Jozsef Lukacs permalink

    Woow! Thank you for sharing with us your most intimate thoughts and feelings. These were well written. We hope that everything will work out and you can look forward to a new, happy life together. Can’t wait to see you.
    Jozsef and Liz

    • Hi Joe and Liz–

      I just now saw your comment. (I’m such a Luddite; I had to have a friend help me set up my blog and let people know about it.) Thank you so much, and yes, we would love to see you!

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