Question: Relationship Advice

Meandering asks…

My girlfriend (soon to be boyfriend) recently came out as trans and is starting T in a few weeks and getting top surgery in a few months. It really was no surprise and I am sure that this will help make both of us happier and more complete. However we are both concerned about how this will affect our relationship. He is concerned that once he begins to change outwardly that my feelings will wane. I am a lesbian but I am not really worried about losing my attraction for him. Is this naïve of me?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on March 27th, 2011 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 19 comments »

19 Responses to “Question: Relationship Advice”

  1. Comrade Kevin

    Not at all. It’s understandable. I’ll tell you a similar story. An ex of mine now identifies as a transman, but I knew him as a woman. And to this day, his attraction for me has never completely gone away, despite both top surgery and testosterone.

    And in fairness, my attraction to him remains as well. We have a history together, and that persists no matter what.

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  2. cedar

    you’re not naive at all. sexual attraction is rarely so binary or so neat. if you think about it, you fell in love with your boyfriend as a person with mostly just the labels switched. that said, you (or he) may find yourselves and your desires changing over this process. you may not want to be with a guy at some point, or you may figure out you’re more queer than you thought. who knows. it’s just human to love but also to change. it’s also nothing to beat yourself up over. keep being present with yourself and with him, and that’s the best you can hope for.

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    rainbowfish replied:

    i think this is really well-expressed.

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  3. Lane

    One of my sister’s best friends is a lesbian who is dating a transman. If you can imagine him with a more male appearance and still want to be with him, I doubt you have anything to worry about.

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  4. Anonymous

    I know a guy who is trans. He came out to his lesbian girlfriend (who had previously been married to a guy and divorced him because she realized she likes girls. They both decided to stick it out and, though it has been hard sometimes, they are still in a very great relationship 5 years later.
    Life, sexuality, gender, nothing is black and white.

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  5. Anonymous

    You’re not naive. It’s a tough situation. My boyfriend and I have this conversation from time to time… “what if you’re not attracted to me after you’ve been on T for awhile? what if I’m not attracted to you?” You know, you work it out. I’ve known transguys who end up more attracted to other guys than to women after they’ve been on T for a few years as well as folks (men and women) who decide that they really are attracted to women, and their transmale partners don’t fit that bill. However, I’ve also known plenty of folks who stay with their partners through transition – and make it out the other side well adjusted, happier, and more aware of themselves and others.

    Good for you for asking these questions. Keep asking them of each other – and keep being open to the (honest) answers. You’ll both be much more happy in the long run.

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  6. kendall

    probably shouldnt call him your soon to be boyfriend, he should just be your boyfriend, especially if this has been going on long enough for him to get his letters to start t this doesnt sound like a recent thing if hes been waved through all the redtape…
    That being said, did he ever do drag or draw on a beard? that might look silly but could help you visualize.

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    Darri replied:

    I think she clearly respects her bf’s gender identity, the nature of her question itself demonstrates that. She probably just used the phrase to explain the situation in short. It’s not necessary to look for discrimination and disrespect where there is none.

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    kendall replied:

    By stating, transmen are men, and then giving an ACTUAL HELPFUL response, yes I am being disrespectful I know some lesbians who LOVE being women who still act out genderplay and do drag, and look the part, if he has some mascara beard snapshots that may help her physically visualize it, I was being utmost serious. That her soon to be former girlfriend of a future boyfriend had dragpics that would be helpful, because often kings do beard similar to what they would try to grow themselves

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  7. kira

    No, you are not naive in believing that his transition will change your feelings for him. It sounds as if you are attracted to the person inside, not the physical form they choose to take(as attractive as you may find this form), and that attraction is mature and admirable, not naive. That said, as with any major change(job changes, new living arrangements, etc.) there will be added stress on you and him, so to say that there is no chance of a break-up, etc. would be naive indeed- but I am sure you and him will find a way if that is what is meant to happen.

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  8. Blake

    My girlfriend was in the exact same position as you. She would be so upset and worried every now and then (before I was on Testosterone) and I reassured her every time.

    I have been on hormones for 5 months now and we are stronger than ever. She still happily identifies as a lesbian and I happily identify as straight.

    You fall in love with the person and either way he would still have done this transition. You will both change, evolve and grow over time. So don’t think that the person you fell in love with is taking the wrong path or the path that will lead away from you.

    It is something that will make you both stronger and you’ll have a long lasting bond :D

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  9. Ashtur

    I think you’re wise to be thinking about this in advance. I also think that there’s a complex balance of influences that will determine how things pan out for the two of you. Whether you’re physically attracted to male looks will be part of it; whether you can accept and accommodate attraction like that into a lesbian identity will be another. So will the way your lesbian friends and community react to your relationship, and the way you respond to the subtle changes testosterone creates in your partner’s personality. You may find that your own sense of identity shifts and develops as your partner changes; you’ll very probably discover more about what drew you to that person to begin with. It’s always possible that the two of you may hit something on the road that you just can’t adjust to, but short of that, if you’re open to the kind of change transition brings you have a good chance of staying together.

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  10. Sonia

    I think that’s definitely a legitimate concern. You might think about it though in terms of what you found attractive about him physically in the first place. Did you like his assumed gender as you understood it, or his gender presentation? I guess we don’t know for sure, but if he was presenting in a more masculine fashion anyway before transition, this may not change much. He’ll look more masculine, but possibly you were attracted to masculinity anyway. Just the pronouns you’re using to refer to him will change, and, personally, I’ve not found that a person’s internal sense of gender reflected through language particularly changes my attraction to them; their physical presentation does. Obviously the T and top surgery will change his physical appearance, but you may find that he remains in an area of masculine presentation that you find attractive nonetheless (presuming that he was reasonably masculine before, which is not really fair to presume, I suppose…).

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  11. Jessica

    One cannot rule the heart. What happens happens. Be honest with each other.

    I’ve hear them say the word forever
    But I don’t know if words have meaning
    When they are promised in fear of losing
    What can’t be borrowed, or lent in blindness
    Or blessed by pageantry, or sold by preachers
    While we’re still walking our separate ways

    Sometime we bind ourselves together
    And seldom know the harm in binding
    The only feeling that cries for freedom
    And needs unfolding, and understanding
    And time for holding a simple mirror
    With one reflection to call your own

    Richard & Mimi Farina

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  12. Lanthir

    No, I don’t think you’re being naive at all. Attraction as a general thing may be fairly physical and easy to define, but in terms of specific people, I have found it can have much more to do with what’s going on in their mind than anything about hormones and body parts.
    I, for instance, very much identify as a dyke, but my primary romantic and sexual partner is a cis male, and one of my lovers is a trans man. You don’t have to be at all attracted to men in general to be attracted to one man in particular and with whom you are in love.

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  13. Rich

    I’ve seen far more lesbian couples remain together after one partner transitions than gay male couples. Chances are you have nothing to worry about. Of course, every relationship is different, and you never can fully anticipate what will happen down the road.

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  14. Dan

    We don’t know you well enough to know that. You might not know yourself well enough to know how things will play out either. Your partner should do what your partner needs to do. You should both accept that sometimes people doing what they need to do does change their relationship with their partners.

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  15. Meike

    I don’t think it’s naive of you. But I also think it’s very smart of you both to have these concerns; if you didn’t I’d be more worried for you two. Questions are a natural part of any relationship, and since transition is a pretty big thing I would definitely expect lots of questions to crop up. I constantly agonize over whether or not me getting top surgery or T, if that’s the direction I need to head in, would hurt my relationship with my girlfriend. And surprisingly (for me, at least) when talking with my girlfriend about my concerns I feel like it’s only drawn us closer together, and I think we’ve both come to understand better why we were attracted to each other in the first place. It seems like the more we talk about things, the more everything about our relationship seems to fall into place.

    It’s smart to be concerned and asking each other these questions. But ultimately the only people who can decide on the answers are you and your boyfriend. I wish you both the best of luck, and I hope the transition goes well!

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    Jessica replied:

    I agree 1000%. As a person with trust issues, who did not share everything with my partner, I recommend talking about everything, for as long as it takes. Just talking about things, even if you don’t come to and decisions, you will be together, working on finding a joint solution. This is always better.

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