Before And After

by Jessie Roberts

Kate Good shares the story of her husband’s physical transition from female to male, writing that she’s “learned that ‘transgender’ is a ridiculously large catch-all”:

There’s no such thing as gender reassignment surgery, despite what various government and news agencies seem to think. There’s a menu of therapies, medications, and surgeries, and people pick what combination works for their body, their health, their mental and emotional needs and, not least, their finances. The government as a whole doesn’t have a good grasp on what it means to be transgender, and definitions and regulations vary wildly from office to office and day to day. What it really takes to get a passport issued is anyone’s guess. Even in the time we’ve been together these things have improved, thanks to hard-working activists, but there’s still a lot of work to do both in writing new regulations and clarifying existing ones.

There’s not a line — before here he was female, after he is male.

I think he’s still deciding on how to think about the person he was before transitioning. Every once in a while I see a picture of him before he cut his hair and changed his name and how he dressed, before he was the man I married. It’s an odd feeling. It’s him but not him. I don’t dwell on it.

I don’t dwell on my own sexuality either. I’m straight. I wasn’t attracted to him when he started transitioning, when there was still a feminine curve to his cheeks and hips. If you had asked me then if we would ever date I would have said no. It took two years of being friends before I realized I liked him (liked liked him). One day he asked me out and I thought well, why not? And then we fell in love, fast. We were almost immediately talking about our future, marriage, kids. His being transgender faded to the background.

It sounds unbelievable but I still sometimes forget. He has to remind me that people he met in the past might not know who he is now. I don’t know, or care, what loving him means for my placement on the Kinsey scale, or whatever spectrum is the going standard. If I lost him I would undoubtedly date cis-men. I love him, and I love being his wife. Figuring out what that labels me as seems like a waste of time.