The Silent Partner

Life story by Sy H

I am the partner of a female-to-male transgender individual. When my partner first came out about wanting to be male, I was not surprised. I had spent the early part of our relationship asking on many occasions if they wanted to be a boy. As time went on I encouraged them to try out different names, have what I call “manperience” which are nights that entailed trying out presenting as a man in a public setting. That said it was still a shock to the system when my partner told me.

When I say shock, it wasn’t unexpected, it wasn’t a foreign concept, it didn’t upset me, but rather it was about “how do I define myself”? It had taken sometime to accept that the world around me labelled me lesbian. So was I now an in-the-closet heterosexual? I think labels are repressive and restrictive but also can be empowering. I started to wonder if people were experiencing the identity-doubt I was.

I decided to find support online, to speak to others who were in similar positions as me. What I found was anything but supportive. There were many bitter ex partners, horror stories of what testosterone will do and how the person you love will turn into someone else. This terrified me. MORE change.

But what did happen was something very different. The person I love began to transform. Evolve. He became more comfortable with himself, he smiled more than I ever knew possible, he made new friends, and he felt complete. There is nothing more spectacular than seeing someone you love spread his wings and fly. Of course there are changes and you get to see new parts of that person… but to be fair you get to see new aspects of yourself as well.

I chose to call my piece “The Silent Partner” because, what I found when entering the transgender and gender queer community was that there was a great emphasis put on the lack of support and understanding from the members outside of their community. Of course this is true, there is prejudice, discrimination and gender-based violence. However there are many “partners” (family, friends, partners and human beings in general) that are working hard to change this perception. Like the stigmas that family and friends will be unsupportive and that a partnership with a person who is transitioning will come to an end due to the partner not supporting the change.

What I hope will happen in the future is that there will be more resources and support available, not only for the transgender and gender queer community but for those that want to walk alongside them as they become complete.