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Tag Archives: love

Why Disclosure Matters

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I was having tea with my ex recently, and happened to express my biggest fear about my current relationship- that my partner will baulk at telling his parents that I’m trans.

“Does it matter?” my ex asked. “How often are you going to see them, really?”

I asked for clarification.

“Well, if you’re only going to see them once or twice a year, what does it matter how they see you?”

I was staggered. Was he really suggesting non-disclosure, that I undo everything I have fought for these past eight years for the sake of not rocking the boat?

Then I remembered why I have this terror in the first place, but that’s another story.

I could go on about this all day. In fact, I’m going to struggle to keep this post brief.

The most important reason why disclosure is important however, is because it’s the mature and honest thing to do. I am monogamous, and I’m looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with- and I’m not just talking about time.

I’m talking about growing my family. I’m not talking about ditching the previous generation and moving on with the next. My partner’s parents are going to be people we both confide in. They’re going to be free childcare, recipe-bequeathers, the unshakeable foundation of a loving (if not particularly conventional) family.

I am going to love these people- because I know that my partner loves them. And I want them to understand why my partner loves me- I need to be honest with them about who I am.

Being transgender is not shameful, and I don’t want my children growing up thinking I, or my partner, are ashamed of who I am. I want them to be proud of all that they are, just like I am.

I don’t come out to people as a political statement, to challenge their religious and moral beliefs. I come out because I feel comfortable. If a person comes out to you, it’s a sign that they respect and trust you, and you should feel very proud.

In the ideal future that I dream about, I love my family. Not my “in-laws”, my family. Every last one of them. We may differ politically or religiously, but we stick together on the things that really count. And the freedom to be and love whoever you choose is one of the things that counts.

Disclosure matters because without it, I deny my authentic self. It isn’t about my comfort versus the comfort of those around me. It’s about moving forward together towards the future we want the next generation to live in.

Love and Demons

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Learning to love following emotional abuse

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Today, my boyfriend said the words I, love and you, in that order, without any words in between. Specifically, he said, “that’s why I love you.”

And that’s a big deal.

But the fact is, I have certain scars, and I’m not ready to say I love him just yet.

My dad used to use the words “I love you” to get away with hurting me, or to manipulate me into doing what he wanted. He kept a mistress for five years, something that made my mother cry nearly every night.

I could hear her through the walls.

She would keep it together until I went to bed, but it’s exhausting to pretend to be happy.

She nearly left him, one happy day. I forced myself to cry because I thought it was the proper response. All I really felt was relief.

That day, both my brother and I ended up in hospital- I with a sprained shoulder, he with a dislocated thumb. So it never came to pass.

And so the crying continued.

I was sixteen and full of rage, and didn’t know why she stayed. I thought she was weak. I had just realised I was trans. I really really needed a mum. Instead I had a woman who berated me for using men’s shower gel, took away my deodorant, bought me pink things… it was like she set out to spite me.

So we argued.

And my dad, gentle giant that he was, would come in speaking softly.

“You know that mum isn’t very happy with me right now. And I’m doing my best to make it up to her. When you upset her, it makes things worse for me too. I need you to try with mum, do you understand. I love you both.”

What he did was not my fault. I was sixteen, facing the prospect of two years at an all-girls boarding college. I didn’t want to go, but they were both shouting at me, both saying it was what I wanted, telling me they would let me go to my first choice of college over their dead bodies. I knew I wasn’t a girl.

But he kept using those words. I love you.

And when I said I was unhappy, when I told him that I never wanted to go, he said that he did it because he wanted the best for me, and did I realise how much it had cost? That it wasn’t about the money for them, but that they just wanted me to have a better chance?

And when I didn’t want to schmooze and lie and pretend to “make connections” at my leaving ball, I was “causing a scene” and “embarrassing him”.

And when he quit his well-paid job and bought a franchise in an industry that he knew nothing about, he needed me to sign my name as an executive of the business. Because it was for me. He had done it for me. Because he loved me.

My dad was a habitual liar, and that was the cruellest lie of all.

If my dad had loved my mum, he wouldn’t have spent five years sneaking off to Austria to fuck a married woman. If he had loved me, he wouldn’t have manipulated me to do as he pleased. He wouldn’t still be refusing to apologise for everything he’s done.

I hate him for what he’s done. All of it. And if I ever tried to bring it up, he treated me like the petulant child I haven’t been for nearly eight years- since he forced me to move away, and never came to visit me if he could help it.

That’s what “love” looked like.

The first time Sun* told me he loved me, he traced it on my thigh- “I ❤ U”. He must have thought I didn’t notice because he did it again on my belly the next day.

But I did notice. And so I explained to him about my dad, and how I can’t even tell my mum I love her. Sometimes I say it immediately after hanging up the phone, but I never say it to her. I don’t want to hurt her.

“Love”, as a word, has been weaponised. And there is nobody on this earth I hate enough to say I love them.

As for what love means- how am I supposed to know? I romanticise it as much as the next fool, singing Nat King Cole as I trip up the steps to the tram stop, switching to Madness once I get off the tram and make the short walk to Sun’s house.

But by the time he opens the door, I always stop singing.

The truth is, I’m not ready to use that word. It turns me upside-down when he uses it- what does he even mean? But I think I’ll get there. One day.

*Name has been replaced with what I think he is most like- he brings me warmth and energy every day.

Young, Trans and in Love

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CN: relationships

My being trans has, in some way or another, contributed to the demise of pretty much every relationship I have ever had. Put simply, when people make plans for the future, they don’t seem to include people like me.

I get it. Really. I never wanted to be this way. I wanted to be able to get married in a church, have kids that were legally my own, and never worry about having a job opportunity taken away from me because of who I am. But shit, bitch, turns out I can’t. I don’t get to choose “normal”.

And so, when it comes down to it, a lot of people would rather take “normal” over me.

In some ways, I realise it dramatically worsens the chances of me finding someone right for me. I am inherently unappealing to the majority of people. But these days, I’m trying to look on it as an opportunity.

When you love someone, it’s not just about saying three little words. It’s about putting another person first, always. Most people have to wait for a catastrophe to find out if someone really loves them. I get to find out pretty quickly.

The person I will end up loving will tell their friends and family about me being trans so I don’t have to. They will defend me from misgendering and snide comments because it is easier for them than it is for me. And, whether or not I decide to take hormones or have surgery, they love me and not my body, so they will respect my decision.

So far I haven’t found anyone like that. But I’m confident that I will. Because I know many trans people in beautiful relationships of all stripes. Gay, bi, poly, with kids, without, remarried, whatever. I think we’ll end up happier overall, having a test like that so early in our relationships.

I’m with someone at the moment. He’s not new to trans people. And he’s known I was trans ever since he met me. He makes me very happy. But I’m not falling for him until I know how he deals with telling his parents about me.

And when he does, I’ll fall in love with him. Because then I’ll know for sure the kind of man he is.

Shelter

Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
and let me stay there all my life
Clear me out a space among your dreams,
I, who can never be called “wife”.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
as I have rested in your bed,
satisfied with just our tangled limbs,
and clothes still waiting to be shed.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
-In mine you settled long ago,
made room for yourself among my dreams,
and though I urged, you would not go.
Let me shelter in the warmth of your heart
and let me stay there all your life.

To His Lover, In Bed

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Jesus H. Christ, John-
How come your feet are so soft?
They’re feet for fuck’s sake.

Requiem Upon a Fallen Tree

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The morning after the storm,
I saw a Tree had come down:
Old, grown strong from nothing,
Now dead, torn up at the roots.
We went down to mourn it. You
showed me how the roots were weak,
kicked at the rotted wood;
chopped it up for firewood as I watched.
Had the wind not blown so fiercely,
Had it not lashed out at our Tree,
We would never have known of the rot-
Tree might even have flourished.
“But,” you point out. “The tree knew.”
The tree knew.