Joyful Girl is a wonderful, open minded, woman who has come not only to accept her transgender partner, but to embrace her. The two of them have also brought a third partner into their relationship and the love between this trio continues to grow.
I want to thank Joyful Girl for sharing her story with us and via her blog, Transfinite Love.
My husband and I met my first year of college, and we had an utterly conventional relationship for our first twelve years together. When she came out as transgender, I felt like my life was over. Everything was shattered-- my identity, my expectations for our marriage, plans for our future. I grieved every night for weeks, curled up and bawling on the bathroom floor.
The most devastating part was knowing our beautiful marriage would eventually come to an end. We felt like soul mates and perfect life partners, but there was no way to reconcile my sexual orientation with her transition. Either I would be a straight girl trying to live the rest of my life as a lesbian, or the two of us could break up and settle for being best friends. The former seemed impractical. The latter seemed inevitable and caused much despair.
When we discovered the polyamorous possibility through some new friends at the local LGBT center, everything clicked. We could redefine our marriage in a way that worked for us. We could stay happily married and still get all our needs met. We read The Ethical Slut, a guide to non-monogamy, and discussed it together at length before opening up our relationship. Then we proceeded to approach both her transition and our new lifestyle with a united sense of adventure and team-work.
It’s been a year and a half since my wife started hormones and we opened our marriage. It’s been one of the most challenging periods of my life, but also the most gratifying. Here are some of the best things that have happened since she came out:
- I get to watch my spouse find herself and find hope. She was suicidally depressed for most of her life and never felt right in her own skin, but didn’t know why. When she finally found the answer and solution--gender dysphoria and transition-- my spouse had a lightness and hope that I’d never seen in all the years we’d been together. It is a privilege witnessing someone I love dearly become her true self and a more joyful person.
- It made our marriage stronger. I thought that we had an unbreakable bond and unconditional love, but we hadn’t experienced any challenges to test the “or for worse” part of our wedding vows. Transition wound up being an opportunity to grow together, to get to know each other on a deeper level.
- It liberated us from monogamy. Throughout our marriage, I had unmet desires that my spouse couldn’t fulfill. I bottled up my sexuality and resigned myself to being satisfied with less, in order to be be a faithful wife. Now I explore my wildest fantasies openly and honestly, without compromising our relationship.
- I am empowered to live out my dreams. Her transition shook me out of all the “shoulds” I was living under-- what a marriage should be, what my career should be, what my goals should be. I realized that this is my chance to become my true self too. I am turning off auto-pilot and getting in touch with who I am and what I want out of life. If my spouse can change genders, heck I can do anything too.
- I gained perspective. I am starting to understand heterosexual privilege, cisgender privilege, monogamous privilege, the socially constructed gender binary, bigotry against the LGBT community, how the LGBT community isn’t even one community, feminism, and living outside social norms. It’s like I’ve seen the Matrix and I want everyone else to wake up and see it too so the world can become more fair and accepting.
- We found community. We have a group of loving, supportive friends who have become a second family. They are transgender, genderqueer, bisexual and polyamorous in various combinations, but we all share a common bond of living outside hetero-normative culture. As a result, everyone possesses a similar degree of critical thought and compassion, and I feel like these are my people. I found my tribe.
- I borrow my wife’s clothes. She gives me shirts she ordered online that don’t fit, accessorizes me when she has a scarf that matches my outfit better, and loans me her underwear when I’m procrastinating on laundry. Plus, she has taught me about makeup and introduced me to life-changing eyebrow gel. Being married to a woman sure has its style perks.
- I have an abundance of love. I have two life partners now-- a wife and a boyfriend. The three of us have inexplicably become a highly functional and happy family unit, and we dream of raising children together one day. We also have the freedom to date other people, and I find myself falling in love yet again. I have never been so full of love and gratitude.
I was content before with my conventional life, but in a muted, black and white kind of way. Something didn’t fit quite right, something was missing, but I was happy enough living the way I “should.” Now the world is in technicolor, full of bright adventure and unlimited possibility. For the first time I feel like I’m fully living. Against all expectations, my life is wonderful because my spouse is transgender, not despite it.