In one form or another, I've gotten the following question from three different readers in the last week:
Help, my girlfriend says she's trans! What do I do?
From the tone of the questions I've received, I'm going to assume that: (1) this is somewhat of a surprise, and that (2) at least at first blink, you are unsure how you feel about it, and/or what her transition means for your relationship. (BTW, I'm going to use female pronouns because this is what the question-askers used.) Here are some tips to help you navigate:
IN THE SHORTER TERM
IN THE LONGER TERM
For those of you who have been through this, what worked? What didn't?
I'm going through this right now with my wife. I think it helps being gender queer myself, but I'm not going to change my birth gender or body (breast reduction for health issues, but not top surgery). But that also makes it complicated. In the end, it's critical for her to accept herself to heal.
I appreciate you addressing this issue! I am currently engaged to my transgender boyfriend and though I knew he was going to transition when we first got together, we have definitely been through a lot in the last two years of our relationship/his transition.
1/8/2012 02:04:47 pm
I have been through this, and it didn't work out. I wasn't willing or able to adjust to being a visible dyke couple to looking like a straight couple, and it wasn't right for me to hold my partner back, so we split up after 4 years. some people make it work, some don't. the best advice I can give is that you be honest with yourself and each other.
1/8/2012 02:39:45 pm
About 3 months into my relationship with my now EX (as of last night :/), I was told that the personal I considered a woman - my GF, that he considers himself as transgendered. I already had an inkling that something was up before he told me. He hated his breasts (they weren't mosquito bites - they were Ds), and then the facial hair. But he was a non-op (can't because of health reasons), and actually non-T (facial hair was naturally there hormonally - that he didn't care was there). So him telling me that he was trans, didn't really phase me at all, nor did it really bother me. Although, for a couple weeks after he told me, I did have a bit of personal questioning for me - like was I considered myself lesbian, or was a straight (I'm a femme lesbian - previously married for 11 years to a man)? Then I just left it as, that I didn't need a label for myself - I was just me. My ex, is considering going on T - but not for hormone replacement, per se, but for medical reasons - he has pancreatitis, and everytime, he manages to have a period, the shot of estrogen running through his system, makes his pancreas flares up and causes a lot of pain. He's waiting to get the go ahead from his gastro Dr to give him the referral to an endo to start T (wont be a regular dose of T like a transman will have, but enough to add to his system, to more or less stop the rise in estrogen to keep his pancreas from flaring).
I came out to my girlfriend (at the time) as genderqueer, and she responded in the ways that you have instructed here and it made the whole situation much much easier on me. I know she had a hard time because she didn't know what it meant in regards to her identity and our relationship, but in the end because we both listened to each other and respected each other enough to think and talk about it, it didn't change our relationship. Had she made comments like, but I love your breasts, I wouldn't have been able to continue talking to her about it because I would have felt guilty. I thought for a while about getting top surgery but ultimately decided I liked my female body but if anything would just like for my chest to be smaller, which when I expressed to her, she was completely in support of. The moral of this is that you're exactly right. Just listen and wait and see because you can't know before your partner does, and often, that is always changing. At least, it was for me.
1/22/2012 07:01:15 am
I think this is excellent advice! I am genderqueer and although I've never come out as such *during* a relationship, I have, obviously, had to deal with it in an actual relationship. This is why I can't (usually) date straight men--they can only see me as a woman, while I sometimes identify as male. Hopefully going on T will change that? And direct the entirely-too-straight guys away from me. Not that there's anything wrong with being entirely straight. It just obviously wouldn't work with me. Plus, and this may be TMI? I'm more into lady-type-people these days anyway.
7/21/2015 09:55:36 am
I'm in the same boat you are. I refuse to be treated as a female (chivalry crap) but using female pronouns, while not my favourite thing, is tolerable. I pass as male and have transitioned to wearing only men's clothing, even a fake dick and binding. I am going one step at a time but I think T will eventually happen. I'm also trying to send a clear message to people that I'm transgender. I came out at work already. I have a hetero cis male friend who I like but whom still thinks of me solely as female. And I too feel more attracted to women these days. I figure that as long as we're honest, it's good.
10/11/2012 06:53:52 am
Hi there! I'm a queer-identified female-bodied gender-fucker. Right now I'm having a really rough time with my significant other and some of the questions they've been having about their gender. I know it's not easy for them at all and it does take a huge amount of courage to talk about. I've tried doing all of the above and keep reminding myself that it's not about me and it's not fair for me to keep them confined because I don't ever see myself dating a male-identified person again. They've expressed to me that they feel androgynous but when it comes to others and articulating their gender they would rather be seen as male. They are experimenting and questioning right now and I really want to be supportive. I'm not trans-phobic and I'm very active in my community in ending fear and myths about the trans community and I'm ashamed that I feel discomfort when they talk about wanting to be seen as male. I've tried to be as honest as possible with them about what's going on for me and allow them a space to talk with me about what's going on with them because that's honestly the most important thing, but when they ask me if I could see myself with them in the long run if they do transition or start going by male pronouns I clam up and get nauseous even though when they identify as a non-gendered person I find them to be my ultimate (what is going on with me???). We've decided to talk about it with just me in a listening position instead of talking or expressing how I feel...which I don't know if that is quite fair but I understand this is really big for them and, because we are in a long distance relationship, right now feeling validated is better than worrying about what's gonna happen with 'us'. I'm just really scared about my reactions and I want to be with them, but I don't know where the breaking point between honoring their identity or respecting mine is and how to negotiate dealing with these emotions. I don't think it's fair for me to put my emotions and confusion on them but I don't have anyone else to talk to that has been through anything remotely similar. Help??
8/14/2015 07:10:00 pm
me and my girlfriend have been dating for a year and a half. she was my first girlfriend and i have felt a lot free-er and happier since i came out. the idea of being with a man is not something i'm comfortable with even though i have dated men in the past. she has mentioned feelings of dysphoria over the course of our relationship and has many times said she needs to transition (FTM) in order to feel happy. i have been experiencing very similar feelings to those you have described, and am feeling pretty helpless as to how i can support her as i love her very much and want her to be happy, but often get nauseous when we discuss it. i am supportive of the trans community but feel as though her identity is so sporadic that maybe she should do more research before she makes any decisions, there is such a huge gender-queer spectrum and it doesnt have to be black and white and i feel like she doesnt talk about this as an option. i know that at the end of the day this is her journey, i am just trying to support her as best i can without my feelings getting in the way. i feel like gentle honesty is important, but dont know how to approach it. i wish you luck with your communication.
11/24/2013 02:04:11 pm
Hey! I'm lex, I'm 20 and my girlfriend is 31.
5/28/2014 07:38:43 am
My GF of almost 4 years just came to me and said she wanted to transgend. I'm very shocked and dont know what to say or think! Shes very emotional about the situation and I just dont understand the situation. I would of never thought that she didnt feel comfortable in her own skin. :-/ please help me!!!!
6/3/2014 06:15:15 am
Hi, I am Chris. I am an outwardly very femme bi woman but am going through a lot of questioning of that. I have been packing daily under dresses and feeling incredibly masculine. Sexually w women I have been topping. I feel like me for the first time. Not sure f I am trans but something is happening to me.
12/11/2014 01:27:53 pm
Since I was thirteen years old I dreamed of a butch girlfriend. Now, at 24, I have found the masculine woman of my dreams. But every now and then she drops hints: "If I had the money, I would get this done" or "I saw my friend for the first time since he took testosterone, and he looks great!" I feel like a shallow prick, but the deep voice, the flat chest, the facial hair, I just do not find any of that attractive. I have already made the huge mistake of telling her that I love her body the way it is. I am worried that my partner will leave me for a straight woman if and when the transition takes place. So much anxiety, so much pain, so much guilt.
6/28/2015 02:24:45 pm
I am going through this right now with my fiancé. She just told me a few days ago that she identifies as male. I am a bisexual woman and gender is not an issue for me at all, but she is really struggling with this. She wants to (at least for now) keep using female pronouns. She is very very concerned with how other people in her life will react and has not come out as trans to any of her family or friends. I tell her every chance I get that I will always love her, wether male or female, but she still doubts that...mostly because when she revealed her gender issues to her last partner, that person was very cruel to her and made her more insecure about her gender identity than she already was.
10/9/2015 09:07:09 am
My girlfriend has recently told me that she wants to be a guy and that she always has been wanting too. I already did the horrible thing of saying "but I don't guys that's why I'm with you" and "I love you as you" and now I feel like a huge dick. I want us to be together and I'm willing to try my hardest to help make sure she feels comfortable and fix the big mistake I've just made. I just don't know what to do or how I'm suppose to deal with this. I'd like to get some help if possible like some good websites that i could look into and educate myself to help her out.
10/15/2015 01:04:00 pm
Seriously, try not to beat yourself up too terribly much about this. Although your response wasn't ideal from a relationship standpoint, you did the best you could at the time. Make sure your partner knows that you now understand that this was not how you should have reacted, and that you feel bad about it. If your relationship is strong, it will weather these kinds of mistakes.
5/22/2017 08:24:06 pm
My partner just came out female to somewhere in the non binary realm but wanting to present more masculine. I'm going to try to do better at not mentioning how much I like her body the way it is. It will be hard, but I've also seen how much it is hurting her. Thank you for all the tips and resources!
5/4/2016 12:06:47 pm
My girlfriend just came out as trans* last week. I stupidly said all the wrong things. It's reassuring to know that I am not alone right now. So many of you are going through the exact same thing. Right now, I can't help but feel incredibly ANGRY. Not angry at her, but angry at the world I guess. Every time we talk about it I begin to cry. I try so hard to be strong and supportive, but it always ends in tears. I feel like such a selfish fool. I am so so so in love with her and I love everything about her. I have not been attracted to the male form in a very long time. I hope so badly that things will get better between us. I hope there are some kind of support groups in my city that we can turn to so we can get through this together.
1/14/2017 08:50:05 pm
My gf of 5 months just told me that she is trans, and I accept it, I'm just not sure how to respond, I mean, I'm staying with her no matter what she decides to do, I just need help, cuz I don't want to say the wrong things to her.. btw, I'm a girl and genderfluid and identified as lesbian, but ehhh, I don't think it matters what I am. But I need help in what I should do to support her and stuff...
5/9/2017 09:46:31 pm
my non-binary partner has recently been thinking that they might actually be a guy and want to eventually transition and its been tearing me apart for the last few days. its taken me a long time to come to terms with my own lesbian identity and i love being a lesbian i love what it means to me and i love being visibly queer and ive never felt entirely comfortable around guys and im scared that i wont feel comfortable around my partner. i hate myself for feeling this way but i almost feel betrayed, not by them but by life, like "oh you really dont like men do you? well surprise! you might have actually been in love with one for 2 years!" and i know thats not fair, and they didnt know and they still dont know for sure if thats what they want to do. but we cant even talk about it without me breaking down and crying, we're taking a few days apart to think everything over on our own and im so scared. and we're long distance too which makes this even harder. i love them so much and i want them to be happy and comfortable with their body and who they are. im scared that if they go on T the way their attraction to me will change and their temperament will change. im just so scared i dont know what i would do without them but right now i honestly dont know what to do. i dont know whats more important to me, my identity or theirs and their comfort. if anyone has any words for me i would appreciate it greatly, even though this thread doesnt seem
9/22/2017 06:48:22 pm
I'm a straight male and my girlfriend told me she is trans. I'm the second person she opened up to about this and I don't know what to do. I love her and I want to see her live her life to the fullest above anything (sorry for the wrong pronouns this is very hard for me). I was molested by a transgender man late at night on an overnight bus. I know it was my fault because I thought it was a woman and I should've stopped it anyways because it was a stranger. I feel like all this is out of my control and I find myself having hateful and violent thoughts even though I always prided myself on being open minded. How can I help my girlfriend through this, she's afraid to tell her parents she feels like a man, but all I want is to believe she's making everything up.
9/29/2017 03:04:53 pm
I actually just got out of a relationship where my partner realized that they wanted to be a man. Well I'm a lesbian so it felt liked I'd just taken a wrecking ball to the chest. We were together for three years, to be frank I still love them just as much but I just couldn't do it. Now that honestly wasn't the only factor as to why I ultimately terminated the relationship. It ended up coming to light that I was the last person to know. Quite literally nobody (never mind my now ex) told me because they all thought I knew. What it boiled down to was that I had to be honest not just with my partner but with myself. And I could only see the relationship crashing an burning if I stayed.
5/12/2019 01:44:59 am
So I’m 16 looking for advice I guess also comfort too. My girlfriend said she feels like a boy wants to be one wants me to call her my bf. it was a shock that happened last night. I stayed up researching the best I can. My feelings on it are muddled I label as a bisexual fem/questioning lesbian so a man isn’t on my mind rn. I want to support her because I love her (sorry for the pronouns it’s so hard) and everything but I’m finding it so hard. Not the fact that she could be trans gender fluid or gender queer I’m an accepting person. It’s the fact she wants to change things that I love about her.its a big step one I don’t think I’m ready to handle myself. My past with men boys in my life is horrific I’m scared of them so it hurts to think I’ll be scared of the person I love. I’m unsure if I can continue this relationship or not but I want to try I love her it hurts to think of leaving her. I’m so stuck I have GCSEs in a days time and this is the only thing I think about atm is what can I do what is the right thing to do here is it gonna hurt me more to stay or leave
As a fellow 17 year old trans boy, I'm still exploring whether I'm actually trans or not. Almost 8 months with my girlfriend, and she tells me she likes wearing feminine clothing but also likes wearing suits, rather than dresses (which all clothing if gender neutral, but still). I support her so so very much, and will love her if she decides she wants to be a he. She currently goes by she/they, so a demi-girl. The only thing is, is that even though I am an identifying male, my last boyfriend, before her, opened a new perspective of cis men and scared me. My fear truly is: is she a young teen confused on body comfort and messing around with who she is, or does she truly want to have a different name and use he/him? I've been out as trans for 4 years, so I've offered support and help, and even told her if she has questions (since I was non-binary for a while), she can talk or ask for anything during this confusion. And as I said, I'll love her no matter if she's a he, she, or they... but it will be hard for a while if we become an official gay couple. But... if she's just running through a phase, I'll support her through that as well. Hopefully this doesn't sound stupid, and someone can help me not sound so rude...
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