Wondering when should you tell your partner you are trans?
Hi! My name is Jen, and I am the wife of Thomas Underwood. I am a previously straight woman, now married to a trans man.
If you are wondering when should you tell your partner you are trans, I offer my opinion here, based on my experience with Thomas.
I say tell your partner immediately. Even if you are not entirely sure it is better to err on the side of full disclosure than none at all. Here is my story:
In 2004 I was a married heterosexual woman when I met and fell in love with Thomas – who was then living as a lesbian. It was a good thing that I was in love because the coming out process was very difficult for me. I often made light of it with my partner but it was hard. I was a respected, high profile businesswoman in our community and I had grown children as well as my extended family to inform. I was very happy to find that most people were understanding and accepting of my new situation. A few friends didn’t make the leap and are no longer friends as a result. Not only that, I had to end my marriage to be free to join my partner.
In the early stages of our relationship my partner disclosed that he was taking testosterone injections, which he said helped with his moods. I knew very little about transgendered people and accepted the explanation as given. However, this should have been a clue. My partner often spoke about growing up and trying to wear his brother’s clothes and play with his toys. In my naivety, I did not probe to determine how deep this desire was. My partner was very butch and quite often was mistaken for a man. Now that I had come out, I boldly corrected people, making sure that we were identified as a lesbian couple. Sometimes this did not make my partner happy, to my confusion.
About a year or so into our relationship we became engaged, since gay marriage had been legalized in our country. Our marriage would be delayed for over three years however, as we worked out the logistics of how to blend our families. During this time my partner would often be moody and remote but we had no more discussions about the testosterone, nor was I aware how often or how much he was taking. Little did I know that things were going to become a lot worse.
We finally moved into our first home together, with three generations (soon to be four) under one roof. Our lives became very complicated as we struggled with household issues and new familial relationships – and to top it off we each had started new jobs. It was the new job that solidified my partner’s decision. As a butch lesbian he was often read as male; however, his enlightened employer and co-workers took great pains to inform the erring person that they were really addressing a woman. My partner became extremely frustrated, saying he was the company freak. He was often angry at home, seemingly for little reason. I attributed this to the stress of our new home situation and job stress.
A few years ago, we finally got married, with me dressed as a bride and Thomas dressed as the groom. One of our friend’s children looked at my partner and said: “If she wants to be a boy, why doesn’t she just be a boy?” I never relayed this conversation to my partner, again missing a chance at communication.
After our marriage we both separately faced some health issues and were both off work for a year or more, healing. Dealing with our heath problems did nothing to improve our communications and we fought often, which was unusual for us. Finally, after a big fight the truth emerged. My partner wanted to transition and wanted the family’s support to do so.
As you can appreciate there is much more to this story, which I will continue to post over the coming months. However, with 20/20 hindsight, I wish my partner had the courage to share his feelings earlier in the process and I wish that I had the sensitivity to pick up on the signs to start the conversation.
My selfish regret is that not only did I have to come out once as a lesbian but then again as married to a transman. Now who was the freak, I asked myself?
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