I have always been what I would consider to be gender blind. I have never really fully identified with being sexually attracted to either men or women on a consistent basis. It’s more like, every so often, someone will come along that catches my actual interest, and I develop feelings for them, and when it happens, I could give a damn what they have between their legs.
I have also, probably because of my gender blindness, always been incredibly open minded and accepting of people, and who they are and want to be. I have always been a very kind and supportive human being, and I strongly feel it’s because of my religious upbringing (I know, I know, most people use religion as an excuse to be vehement and hateful, but I was raised to love and accept all).
Because of my open and accepting heart, I have found myself in relationships with both men and women, and have never had a single ounce of trepidation about either. Recently, however, I breached new territory in my life in the wild world of love that has set my life in a whole new direction.
Recently, I fell head over heels in love with one of my best guy friends, completely out of the blue. We began speaking and eventually hanging out two or three times a week after we hit it off at a party. We could talk about science fiction novels, movies, love, life, all the places we’ve been and wanted to go … I spent hours just hanging out in his presence, doing nothing of any importance but somehow feeling more alive and fulfilled than I had in years. Regardless of the fact that he was in a relationship at the time, I found myself slowly falling prey to that feeling like maybe the missing piece of the puzzle in my life had fallen from the sky into my lap in the form of this no-nonsense, blue-eyed New Yorker.
As we continued to spend time together, our friendship grew and deepened, and we developed such a sincere level of trust and intimacy with each other that I felt like I could tell him my darkest secrets, and in January, he told me his.
He pulled me into a bedroom at a house party and told me that he had always felt like he was meant to be a woman and that he could no longer stand living a lie. He informed me that he was planning on beginning the long, tedious, and scary road toward transitioning to living life as a female. He sat in silence for a few moments, awaiting what my response would be and as I listened to what he had to say, I was stunned to discover I didn’t have much of a response.
I had decided so long ago that I would openly love and accept whoever happened to cross my path that I was accustomed to making friends who down the road would privately tell me the things they had been holding inside their entire lives. I have had countless friends come out to me for the first time as homosexual, homosexual friends tell me they’d fallen in love with someone of the opposite sex, friends coming to terms with their bi- or pan-sexuality; I have mentored LGBT kids for years and really have heard everything you can think of.
So needless to say, in those initial moments of truth, it didn’t phase me at all. I want him to be happy, loved, and fulfilled with his life, however he chooses to live it because that is all of our fundamental right as human beings, and because I want the beautiful person I see to be reflected when he sees himself in the mirror. I told him that I would stick by his side and help and support him through whatever he decided to do, and that I would genuinely love him for whoever he needed to be.
I won’t lie, however, and say that over the next few days, I didn’t start to form some worries and concerns over what was to come. I felt as though I was going through a mourning phase, where I was letting go of one friend and meeting another. I felt almost lost in a sea of confused feelings, and fears that the woman he would become would no longer find a place for me in her life. I let my own insecurities take over my ability to rationally confront my feelings and emotions about his actual transition.
But after I continued to think about it (and I won’t pretend I didn’t need to put thoughts down on the matter for quite a few weeks), I discovered that at the end of the day, I still loved him regardless of his decision to transition, and figured if I fell in love with him, and he has always felt he was meant to be a woman, then I have been in love with a woman this whole time anyways.
Over the course of the following months, the relationship he had been in suffered from the sometimes unavoidable strains of modern love, and he closed that chapter in his life. Soon after, we made the decision to open up a new chapter with each other, and currently live together in a not-very-traditional but loving quasi union. We live the same regular hum-drum everyday existences as our friends and neighbors; we buy groceries, pay bills, do the laundry, watch TV, laugh, cry, fight, make up, make love, do the dishes, go to work, and wrestle over the covers when we sleep at night. Our relationship simply has an extra shade of intimacy, trust, and acceptance in our focusing on his transition.
I have taken on my role of mentor, friend, lover, support system, makeup artist, personal shopper, and sounding board very seriously and felt truly honored to have been chosen to witness this incredible journey to finding oneself. Watching, or assisting, him to take even the smallest steps in the direction of becoming more female, and the absolute joy and freedom that radiates from every ounce of his being in those moments, has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
I know I slip up some times, and say the wrong thing, or don’t know how to answer the questions from people on the outside of our relationship looking in, and I know as this train keeps rushing down the tracks, I am going to have good and bad reactions, difficult emotions, and times of confusion and struggle, but I also know I will experience overwhelming moments of pride, completion, intimacy, and love. Some of the intricacies of our lifestyle have been dealt with already, like his publicly coming out as being transgender, speaking to his family about it, and my speaking to my family about it, but I acknowledge that we will have to leap many more faceless and nameless hurdles during our journey.
I also know that I will have to stand strong and be the emotional rock in times of trouble, hold onto him when things get challenging, stand up for him in the public arena, fight for our right to love as we have chosen to, and help him when hormone therapy ravages his emotional and physically health. I will stand proudly by his side as my boyfriend becomes my girlfriend, and vow to make sure he always knows how special and loved he truly is.
After all, my wise and loving grandmother once told me that God doesn’t make mistakes and we are to love as openly and fully as we can while we are here on this earth, and count every blessing that lies in our path, because we never know when our time will come, and I fully intend to count the blessing of our love every day, no matter what shape it comes in.