Question: Relationships

Jessica asks…

What do you do when your partner, of many years, says she is done with this genderqueer nonsense? Either you give it up, get top surgery and never mention it again, or you lose her. Choose.

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on June 28th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 23 comments »

23 Responses to “Question: Relationships”

  1. Anonymous

    Time for the broken clock Dan Savage again: DTMFA!

    Your life, your gender presentation. You call the shots.


  2. Mym

    I would try to explain to her that not only is she giving an ultimatum, it’s an ultimatum to lie to yourself, and that’s never appropriate. If she stands by it, then she goes. No other choice, really, it can’t last under those circumstances.


  3. Nicholas

    I think it depends on how “okay” you are being alone. I’ve never been in a relationship (and I’ve certainly always wanted to be), but I can’t say I could just do what someone told me. I have a very strong sense of self, and I really don’t let others weigh in on how I live my life. If your SO is not interested in a part of your life, a part of you, you have to decide if you’d rather follow suit to maintain a relationship, or risk (possible permanent) singlehood because you choose to be yourself. My reasoning for risking “normalcy” is that, even if I never felt loved, that I would live my life the way I wanted, and be happy in being the person I wanted to be. I feel such genuine happiness and acceptance by the friends I’ve kept throughout my changes/transition, that I would seek that out in a SO. I’m not one to hold myself back or pretend to be someone I’m not just to have a relationship, I’d rather feel a genuine closeness with someone who understands and appreciates me for who I am.


  4. Elijah

    If she cannot accept your gender identity or expression, if she is unwilling or unable to (try to) understand, then I would suggest that you let her go. It is unreasonable of her to try to strongarm you into something like this, and not a hallmark of a healthy relationship. So if she’s not willing to adapt, I’d say get out of the relationship.


  5. Jak

    If they don’t want to be with you for who you are then it’s time to give them the boot because that relationship will get unhappy and unfulfilling really quickly if you lie to yourself.


  6. Jessica

    In my experience, what people say may not be at the heart of the matter. There may be other underlying problems. If you face them and deal with them honestly, her objection to genderqueer nonsense may be moot.


  7. InfinitySquared

    Oh, wow… Uhm, That doesn’t sound like the kind of person I’d want to date. But this is going to be very difficult for you so all I can do is just express my hopes that this works out for you somehow.


  8. A. Karigane

    Drop Her!, some may be alone, but its better to alone and comfortable with your own body, then to be with someone who 1. will never love you as much as you love your self. and 2. only cares about thier needs. I mean if youre going to be with someone selfish. It might as well be you.

    Then again, i understand that it may be difficult for transitioning/TG/whatever you identify as, to date. So… i guess you take what you can get??

    Thats sucky tho.. i think its better to seek out the one who loves you for you. Not just your gender.


  9. ga_boy

    “either get painful surgery you don’t want and be someone you’re not, or it’s over!”
    maybe that clarifies things.
    I’ll relate my history. I was with a girl who initially acted ok with my queerness, but before long things changed. she controlled about 80% of my self-expression, especially if it was my sexuality. i gave up a lot of who i was for her, and it was never enough. finally she left me. i was devastated at first, but within a few months my friends were telling me how happy they were to have their freek back.
    it took over a year, but i found a woman who understands me much better and accepts me. she lets me be me, whether i’m in jeans or drag.
    talk with your SO, let her know how you feel and why. you don’t want to feel like i did. i sincerely hope you don’t already. if she comes around or even tries, great! but if not there are others out there who will love you without demands and ultimatums.


    Lane replied:

    This. Especially the painful permanent surgery that might result in severe loss of nipple sensation part. Top surgery is awesome for people who want or need it and a terrible idea for everyone else.


  10. Thomas

    If you try to change yourself to keep the relationship, eventually you’ll begin to resent her for it. I admit that compromise is essential in a relationship, but not compromise of who you are.

    How OK would she be with you asking her to change her gender expression for you? “Stop presenting as a female, or I’m gone.” Or even if you were to ask her to get cosmetic surgery, such as a nose job, or tummy tuck. I’m pretty certain she’d be just as hurt as you seem to be.

    If you think the relationship is worth saving due to the history together, start with talking to her. Tell her how grossly inappropriate you think it is for her to ask you to change your gender/presentation for her. Ask her why it suddenly bothers her (if up until now it’s been ok). Let her know you value her in your life, but its YOUR life, and you need to be true to you and don’t want to resent her for asking that of you. It may turn out she’s just looking for a scapegoat and wants out of the relationship, so is blaming your gender presentation.

    This is a tough one. I don’t think there’s any easy way to deal with it. I wish you the best though.


    Anonymous replied:

    What if the real problem is that she is being constantly asked to change gender presentation, and actual gender, to make a matched binary set with the new gender and presentation of her partner? Isn’t this just as grossly innapropriate? Should she not have the right to her life, and to be true to herself?


  11. Dani

    Ok, so its an ultimatum. Live your live the way I want or get out. I agree with some of the folks above, if the relationship is worth saving, you have to talk to her and set some boundaries. She is asking a lot and maybe more than she knows. While gender is something we can play with, stretch, bend, etc., once you cross the line of surgery and hormones, you are really embracing the opposite side of the gender dichotomy. Once the hormones really kick in you will change in more ways than she may realize, and SHE may not like what she gets. Love is accepting each other as you are, not as what you want the other to be. It sounds like she wants something else, but only she knows that. Maybe she’s frustrated with you sitting on the fence about your gender and wants the comfort of one gender over ambiguity. You have to decide what you want and what is best for you and then figure out the relationship problem. I wouldn’t just kick her to the curb yet, but this is really a personal choice with long term consequences. One that I had to face in the opposite direction recently (see my latest blog if you want the gory details). My spouse couldn’t handle being with me physically when I started to transition because “she isn’t lesbian”, and guess what? She’s right, she isn’t, and guess what else? I’m not transsexual it turns out. I find that after my journey I prefer the flexibility and fun of androgyny and gender play. I want it to be fun and light and not a life altering thing. My life is happier now that I let go of the expectation of having to switch sides. I can sit on my fence in the middle and play in both fields.


  12. Charlie

    Don’t change yourself to be with someone else. If she doesn’t love you as who you are and want to be, then she doesn’t really love you.


  13. Lane

    A lot of people in the trans/gender variant spectrum are afraid to be single because they are afraid they will never find another person willing to be with them. The reality is there are plenty of trans/gender variant people in loving, happy relationships, because there are plenty of people out there who accept their partners for who they are, or even find gender variance itself attractive. On the other hand there are people who date trans and genderqueer people without respecting their gender identities. These are not good people to be in a relationship with, anymore than its good for someone to be in a relationship where their racial identity is disrespected, or their religion to be disrespected. It sounds like she is pretty firmly in the second category. You can certainly try to talk to her about this and improve the relationship, but if anyone said that to me, I would take it as a major red flag. I would get out of the relationship before things get really bad.


  14. Jessica MacGilvray

    What do you do? The consensus here seems pretty much “you tell her goodbye.”

    As someone who has been in a relationship with the same person for longer than many (most) Genderfork regulars have been alive, I have to say that both people in the relationship have to be themselves, have to feel free to be who they are, have to find room in the relationship for both. You can be in a relationship for a long, long time where this is not true, but it will be a toxic co-dependence that will serve neither person and will make both unhappy.

    Many, many trans people seem to think that once they found someone to be a couple with, they’ll never find anyone else… they remind me of people who stay in jobs they hate. Staying with someone (essentially) because it pays the bills is the saddest, loneliest kind of life you can live.

    Return the favor: make her an ultimatum – either you accept me and love me for who and what I am, honestly, or frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn what your ultimatum is – I won’t do you the dishonor of living a lie with you.


  15. Anonymous

    Break up.
    Like now.


  16. Z

    Don’t be so quick to break up with her. A red flag to me is that she wants you to never mention it again. Does that mean you talk to her about your gender presentation a lot? Basically, I’m playing the devil’s advocate here. I can see how having to constantly make an issue out of your gender identity would get really hard for your partner. Maybe she thinks you WANT top surgery but just won’t get it. Communication is one of the (if not the) most important parts of a relationship. Have an honest conversation before you make a rash decision. You’ve been together for years…surely the issue can be resolved. If things still aren’t going well, by all means, get away from her.


  17. Liam

    This is a form of manipulation.

    A relationship will have compromises, but never at any point should you feel like you have to sacrifice something to show you love them. Someone should not be asking you to make yourself uncomfortable to prove you love them. That isn’t healthy.

    I’ve been in similar situations before. I would give a sad smile and say simply, “Then I guess we aren’t right for each other after all.” And leave. It isn’t easy and it is still painful, but in the end. . .it is better for both people involved.


  18. Poet

    Couple’s counseling–she probably just has some disconnect with what genderqueer actually means and who you actually are. Do not get top surgery if it doesn’t feel right. Seriously though, counseling rocks socks.


  19. Sarah-Sophia

    It depends, what have you said to her that makes her assume that it’s all nonsense and that you need top surgery? Have you talked about top surgery and said you wanted it? Why don’t you get it?

    If it is because your gender is neutral, or bounces back and forth then I understand why it wouldn’t solve anything. Her not wanting to accept you being genderqueer is probably a good reason to dump her. Sometimes it’s best to leave someone who won’t understand or accept it.

    I am sure you can find someone who is okay with it. Just don’t dump her if you have been misleading.


  20. Nick

    If your identity is ‘nonsense’ to her?
    I think you know what to do.


    Simim replied:

    This. Calling an identity or beliefs “nonsense” isn’t something you do to someone you’re in an intimate long-term relationship with.

    Hell, I’d ask for clarification in what they meant by that. Surely they wouldn’t be doing this after so long, right? If they think they’ve had to “put up” with something like that, you guys need to have a long and hard talk.


Leave a Reply

Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

For legal reasons, you must be age 13 or older to post a comment on Genderfork.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.

Back to top