On November 29, 2013, I came home from visiting my family in Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving holiday. My husband stayed home because he couldn’t get time off from work. So just the girls and I took the trip. As much as I love to travel, I love returning home to our house even more. I woke up that morning in Pennsylvania a heterosexual woman. Married to a wonderful man for over seven years. I went to bed well into the wee hours of the next morning, back in New York, wondering if I could be a lesbian. So what on earth happened in the span of twenty-four hours that would create such a shift in my head? My husband came out to me as a transgender woman.
“WHAT IF AFTER HORMONES, WE WEREN’T ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER? COULD THIS BE THE END OF OUR MARRIAGE?”
It would take months of therapy before my wife was cleared to start taking hormones. Therapy was eye opening for the both of us, and I learned the importance of healing old wounds. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to witness the pealing back of many layers of suppression she had built up around her through the years. Strangely enough, we became even closer than we were before she came out. Without knowing that there was this “thing” between us, it was gone. I certainly knew I felt better when it was. We took every challenge head on and navigated these new waters with caution. No matter what my waking self said, I couldn’t keep the fear from haunting me in my sleep. What if after hormones, we weren’t attracted to each other? Could this be the end of our marriage?
Finally, day one of hormone replacement therapy was here. I couldn’t help but to be excited for my wife, even if I were scared for the future of our relationship. Her happiness was more important than my fear. Her wanting to live, more important than where she would do so. As the weeks had turned into months, I began to notice the physical changes happening to her body. Weekly visits to the electrologist started to erase the evil reminder of living through puberty with the wrong gas in her tank. The estrogen prompted her breasts to grow, and her skin became super soft. She became completely void of body hair, even the smell of her skin was different. I am not sure if her waist line just appeared, or her hips pushed themselves outward, but she had the form of a woman in what felt like the blink of an eye.
“DOES THIS MEAN THAT I AM A LESBIAN? DOES THIS MEAN THAT SHE IS A LESBIAN?”
So here I am, in bed with this woman who used to smell like the man I was married to. Now what? Does this mean that I am a lesbian? Does this mean that she is a lesbian? One thing I did know for sure was that I was in love with this person since I was eighteen years old. Surely, if the physical attraction were gone, my love for her would always remain. It survived us going our separate ways after high school and reconnecting eleven years later, and it has survived many challenges in the years since. I have always told her that together there is nothing we can’t do. Truth be told, she fits perfectly in my arms, and as of today that is the only place she wants to be. I love lying next to her when all I can feel is her soft skin next to mine. When she gets out of bed, I can still smell her on my pillow. I love to run my fingers through her hair and the sweet kisses exchanged between us. It is all too perfect for this to be so new.
I have heard partners of transgender women say that they are still heterosexual. A confusing label for someone who is in a relationship with or is married to a woman. It almost seems like the definition of false advertising to me. Why is it so important for some to hold onto that label? On the other hand, I have heard lesbian women who are with transgender men expressing disappointment in the fact that their relationship is being referred to as a “normal” heterosexual relationship. It is enough to drive a person batty. My wife’s transition made me look inward and explore my own sexuality for the first time in my life. In my experience from then to now, with each physical change that occurred in my wife I found her more desirable and men more off-putting. Just the other day at work a lifelong friend, who I consider to be family, asked me the question, “In the crazy event you found yourself single would you date men or women?” I didn’t even let her get the whole question out before I answered “women.” Oh, I guess I am a lesbian.