I need your help!
I get a lot of emails from girls like me, from people like you, from crossdressers AND from partners, spouses, and significant others about relationships with a non-cis gender person.
Most of these emails are about two people trying to understand or trying to explain this side of us to their partner.
It’s not uncommon to hear about how someone came out to their partner. I don’t know if there’s a right way to come out to someone (besides being gentle and honest) but goodness I’ve heard of a lot of wrong ways to reveal this side of ourselves. Well, maybe not WRONG but it certainly didn’t go as well as intended despite someone’s best and most sincere efforts.
Helping someone understand this side of us is very very very difficult. It’s complex and simple and abstract all at the same time. I mean, I am at peace with who I am, I know who I am, I know what I want out of life. I also know who I am not and what isn’t right for myself. But could I succinctly and clearly relay this to someone else? No. I mean, I think it would take someone a long time of reading every meandering post on this site to “get” me. Not to say I am a baffling mystery but we are all very nuanced and every transperson is different from another transperson.
Someone was explaining lightyears to me the other day and how light travels and how super powerful telescopes display images of things that happened a zillion years ago and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. It seemed to contradict every law of reality, like looking into something that happened in the past. He did a very good job patiently explaining it but I just couldn’t process it.
Gender identity is probably similar. How does one explain the physics of interstellar light in a couple of sentences? How does one explain why someone with a penis wants to wear a dress?
On a side note, the last thing I expected to write about this morning was comparing crossdressing to lightyears but here we are.
I have come out to three romantic partners in my life. One didn’t understand and avoided discussing it, another was accepting, and then there’s my amazing wife. Each time I came out there was also the need to explain who I wasn’t and what this didn’t mean.
No, I am not gay. No, I am not doing drag. No, this isn’t a sex thing. No, I am not in denial. No, I don’t feel I was born in the wrong body. No, I am not going to transition.
Each of those sentences was their own conversation, often over the course of several weeks. An exhausting conversation for both of us. These conversations rarely led to them being resolved. Resolution would come in time. What I mean is that no matter how many times I told my wife I didn’t want to transition, she wasn’t convinced or at least was very skeptical. It took years until she was at peace and had moved on from that fear.
The first thing that needs to happen when it comes to our partners understanding this side of us is them going in the right direction.
What I mean is them learning what this side of us IS, and them moving away from what this side of us ISN’T.
Our partners first have to come to terms with who are are NOT before learning who are really are, what we really want.
To put it a different way (and bear with me, I am not a mechanic), if you are fixing a car that is making a weird noise, you probably start with what is the most likely reason the car is making that noise. If that is indeed the reason, then you know how to approach it. If it’s not the reason, you go to the second likely reason and so on.
This side of us isn’t that different.
And here we are comparing crossdressing to auto maintenance. I mean, we already compared crossdressing to interstellar travel so we may as well roll it with.
The moment we realize that we want to wear panties or makeup or look feminine we likely immediately wonder WHY we want this. We probably ask ourselves the same questions. Am I gay? Is this a fetish? Am I repressing something I am feeling? Was I born with the wrong genitalia? Is transitioning right for me?
Thus begins a lifetime of introspection and overthinking.
When we come out to our partners, they process who we are in a very similar manner. Is their husband gay? Is their husband wanting to do drag? Is this a fetish? Is he in denial? Does he feel he was born in the wrong body? Does he want to transition?
I mean, to be fair, these are very common reasons why someone like us are who we are. Of course, there are just as many of us where these reasons are nothing to do with who we are. Myself included.
Our partners will likely need to come to peace with each of these questions (and this usually takes a loooong time) before they can start to see for themselves who we really are and what this is all about.
Going back to the car analogy, a mechanic will look at every likely reason an automobile is making a weird noise. If the noise isn’t caused by the most likely reasons they start to look at the situation with fresh eyes and realize it’s a different scenario, one they hadn’t considered. A new thing to understand.
Once my wife came to terms with who I wasn’t, it was only them she could begin the bewildering journey of learning exactly who her husband was.
Like lightspeed, she had to understand who I am in a context that she could relate to, that she could understand.
Something had to click.
And one night, it did.
This click was like a light switch. All of a sudden she could view something with new eyes, in a new perspective. To belabor the metaphor, she was no longer in the dark. She could start to see.
Of course, not everything was easy after this. It was like seeing a very messy basement that needed to be organized. You can finally see what something is and the real work is about to begin.
This click was realizing something about myself that she could relate to.
“You just want to feel beautiful.”
She nailed it. I did want this. I will always want this.
This is an universal desire. I think we all want to feel attractive…. or handsome or beautiful.
Everyone can relate to wanting to feel attractive.. and we all have different perspectives on what this means to someone. For some, it’s a floor-length ballgown. Others feel their best in yoga pants and flipflops. For some a three piece suit is what it takes.
I think her realizing that beauty doesn’t have gender norms and we are all wired in certain ways stripped the essence of who I am down to my core. She had to ignore every societal expectations and traditions when it comes to clothes and feelings and emotions. Black and white became gray, blue and pink become purple.
It was only then she could look at who I was in an objective way. She eliminated common reasons why someone with a penis wants to wear lingerie and could see things differently and she could see me for who I was.
In a new light.
Of course, not everything was sunshine and butterflies from there. We still had difficult conversations, she still had fears, complex feelings, and doubts. Much of this was two steps forward, one step back.
My point is that it took years for she and I to be more or less on the same page with all of this. It took years of going in the right direction, if you will, in any journey that was made, whether it was mine or hers. But it took that aforementioned click for her to see the first step in the direction that took her, that took us, to arrive where we are today.
So, what was your click?
What did you say, what did your partner say that helped to put this in a new light?
I would love to hear your comments.