Drum roll please…..I have never invited a guest blogger to share a story on www.relationshipinsurance.guru before, but I was so moved by the sheer bold honesty of this writer that I had to ask her to contribute. As our communities come out of the dark ages and closer to the land of equality for all people, few people are as misunderstood as our transgender friends. I met The Amazing Juli (as I call her) at a One Community luncheon and was delighted to discover that she is not only one of the most intelligent people I know, but she is bold and brave and honest and here to help others understand the experience and reality of being trans. Relationship Insurance is a place of love and holds the firm belief in equality of all people; all races, ages, abilities and sexual orientations. I hope you will enjoy this post from The Amazing Juli and let light in where there was only the darkness of not knowing.
Love In the Age of Trans...written by guest blogger, Juli
Her name was Marci, and we had been dating for five months. As much as one can be at 17, I was in love. I am transgender (the phenomenon where the gender identity which is programmed into the brain of a developing fetus does not correspond with the physical sex into which that fetus develops), and I suppose that there are as many ways to experience being transgender as there are transgender people. For me, a central part of that experience was falling in love with girls I wanted to be like. Marci was strong and seemingly fearless, but that bravado was largely an act. She was an ample girl with a bosom that was free from want, and, sadly, this led to guys assuming she was easy. She received unwanted attention and harassment because of it, and that made her build walls, but I could see behind her walls, and I loved her all the more for it. (Although, I guess the reality was that, in a depressing way, I was using her, too.)
That was the summer between my junior and senior years, and, with my parents away for the week, my sister was having a party. The day was lush, perfect for 17-year-old romance, and, when I knew that my sister was more concerned with her guests than with me, Marci and I stole away to my bedroom and locked the door. I truly wish I could remember all the details, but two feelings stand out after all this time: she was beautiful, sweet, tender, and I was overwhelmed by the fact that she let me in (I mean that metaphorically, not literally); and also, my skin still tingles with the memory of how, for just a moment, it felt as if we were as one.
It’s another summer night a few years later, and the camera moves slowly past the branches of a maple tree whose gnarled roots poke through a crumbling sidewalk, and we zoom slowly through the moonlit porch window of a clapboard house to see me cradled on the floor in the arms of a girl whose shirt is soaked with my tears and snot. My body shudders, and I can’t even speak. Marci’s body had been found in her car near a remote dam, a needle sticking out of her arm. We had only spoken a handful of times since our summer together, at the end of which I made the strategic mistake of telling her who I really was. Many times in the intervening years we tried to fall back into each other’s orbit, but it never seemed to be the right time.
The girl in whose arms I lay that evening, Maureen, was the best friend of my then girlfriend, Maria (an older, stronger version of Marci, a girl about whom one friend would say, “You know, Junior, tits aren’t everything”). Maureen had introduced me to Maria four months earlier, and, at almost the same time, Maureen and I began sleeping together. She was luscious and lonely, and, like every other girl I had ever fallen in love with, I wanted to be her. I wanted to live my life in their bodies, but I didn’t know how to do that, so all I could do was seduce and punish them emotionally for being the women I couldn’t be.
I never knew if Maria and Maureen ever repaired the friendship I destroyed by using both of them, as neither would speak to me again. The spring after our breakup, I met Kate. We both worked in group homes that met every Saturday morning to take our clients bowling. She sat down next to me one morning and told me I smoked too much, which I did, and we shared a birch beer that she bought. By the time she rubbed her hand across my back and said goodbye, I was in love again.
She couldn’t accept that I was really a woman, and that actually made me feel relieved, as I wanted someone to make me stop feeling this way. We married a few months after we met, me having fallen in love with her daughter and wanting to prove I could be the man I struggled to be and her wanting to move out of her mother’s house. Within two years, we had bought a house and had a child; within six, another house, another child, and it was time for the hammer to fall. She caught me cheating with a plain, lonely woman from work, and so I switched jobs; but she caught me cheating with another co-worker there, too. As difficult as it was, though, we were beginning to get past all that happened, and, in the middle of our tenth December, she accompanied me to a therapy group for trans women. It seemed as if I was going to have the support I needed to face the fact that I wasn’t going to stop feeling this way, and whether Kate and I stayed together or not, she was going to stand by my transitioning. It will never be possible to know for sure, but I believe, had she not been diagnosed with brain cancer one month later, I would have begun the transition process then.
That would have to wait thirteen years, through Cindy (whom I seduced, married, punished, and discarded with a shameful efficiency) and then Melissa. Melissa and I met on the 25th of September 2006 and eloped to Niagara Falls a year and three days later. She was everything I always looked for in a woman – jaded, curvy, horny – and when it appeared we might make love, I outed myself to her (I was always good with the caveat emptors). She didn’t care. I fell particularly hard for Melissa, fifteen years my junior and my perfect complement: level headed, grounded, goal oriented, and responsible. She loved me despite my identity, and, more importantly, she gave me a greater freedom to express who I was than anyone ever had. That wasn’t enough, though, and, when it became apparent I would have to transition, she took one hand in mine and raised the other into a fist for anyone who dared stand in my way. It didn’t matter that she was a -2 on the Kinsey scale or didn’t even like women as friends: she was going to support the birth of her partner.
So here I finally am, Juli, the woman whose life I was willing to sacrifice so many other women for. Today, I am everything I ever wanted to be: a beautiful, confident, strong, fierce, woman, a lesbian, and it scares the hell out of me that I’m not finally finished with hurting the women who love me.
High maintenance doesn’t even begin to explain me. For 43 years, Jimmy was a shy, withdrawn, dickish misanthrope, content to sit in his darkened room and hate the world and all around him; but Juli is a force of nature, never still, never quiet, as up as she is down, as here as she is there, full of life and, most important to this tale, an as-yet untapped libido that promises to be epic. But Melissa is straight…painfully, irredeemably, unrepentantly straight, and she has not made love to Juli. She loves me with a quiet ferocity and a sureness that stuns me every time I notice it, but we are celibate.
And I don’t know where to go from here.