I’m extremely lucky – to have a partner who has been my girlfriend, my almost-boyfriend, and my butch rock, throughout transition.
We met about a year before I started to transition socially and two years before I began to transition medically. There was instant chemistry, although we tried to take things slowly, I fell pretty quickly for her as she did for me. As I transitioned we have grown closer together and throughout the process, she has been a significant source of strength and support.
Chemistry, compatibility, and communication, those are the things that have really made this relationship work and we have all of those. In addition to other important relationship cornerstones like shared interests, views, and values.
Why relationships sometimes fail through transition
It’s pretty simple when someone’s gender identify changes that changes a relationship dynamic, in some cases it makes people incompatible. For example, if two apparently straight people get together then it turns out one of them is trans, unless both partners turn out to be gay or bi, attraction can fade.
You can’t force hetero people into gay relationships and you can’t force gay people into hetero relationships. As a result, it’s not uncommon for transition-related breakups to occur.
Because of this, when I was last single, I tried to mostly date bisexual or pansexual people. If I went out with a gay guy or a straight woman I felt there was no chance they would stay with me through transition. As a result, I tended to favour messaging bisexual people on dating apps, it seemed safer, which is how I met my current partner via OK Cupid.
Why our relationship has not failed through transition
Transition improved attraction for both of us. She’s a butch lesbian who likes femme girls. I’m a bisexual femme girl, who likes butch/masculine people. The things we’re looking for, the other person has, it’s a strong foundation.
She’s almost six feet tall with broad shoulders and short buzzed hair who frequently wears men’s clothing. When we first got together I thought for a while that she might be a trans boy waiting to come out, which is why I sometimes joke that she is my ‘almost-boyfriend.’ The reason she’s my ‘almost-boyfriend’ and not my ‘boyfriend’ is that she’s a woman, a very butch woman but a woman. All of that works for me because I am deeply attracted to masculinity. However, you don’t have to be a dude to be masculine.
She’s also given me the space I needed to come out, without pressure, and I can’t understate the importance of that.
When we met I was presenting as neither female, nor male, I was actively trying to be androgynous. I was in a pretty confused headspace, I wanted to transition badly but I thought I couldn’t. That resulted in some powerful cognitive dissonance exemplified through the text below.
Although I was scared of the word trans my partner wasn’t. I think she took a gamble on me, guessing (correctly) that I was a girl and it was only a matter of time before I transitioned. When I did come out I think it helped her solidify her own identity as a lesbian. When we first met she was identifying as bisexual, however, after we started going out, she began using the word gay to describe herself. My transition as a girl, a pretty feminine one, was great for her in a lot of ways.
How I came out to her
It was almost by accident really.
About a year and a half after we started dating, in the summer of 2016 we drove across the prairies to Southern Ontario to visit my family. The trip was about four days of solid driving each way, and we did some camping along the way. On the way back as we were drifting off to sleep at a campground in Saskatoon I told her, “I love being your girlfriend.”
Not long after that when we were back in Peace River I started a new game of Skyrim under the name Autumn. I had been using girl’s names on video games and programs for a while but the names changed with some frequency. Autumn stuck, and I also switched my Instagram and Twitter to Autumn, although I told no one of the change nor its significance. My partner noticed these things happening and eventually asked me, “Is Autumn what you would like to be called?”
Funny thing about my name is that during the first two years we were together she barely said it. That changed after I started going by Autumn. When I asked if this had been intentional she told me she had suspected I would be changing my name at some point. Since my previous name had also started with an ‘A,’ I was saved in her contact list only as ‘A.’ That changed after I started going by Autumn.
As I said in the intro, I am extremely lucky. The odds of us meeting, in the small town that we met in, were astronomical. Having someone like her and the stability of a loving partner through transition has been indescribably valuable. She’s my big spoon and she always has my back.
*All photos courtesy of Rebel Hearts Photo + Film, from London, Ontario.