How does transitioning affect a romantic relationship?
“The Anatomy of Break Up” is an article in the New York Times written by a woman that dated a trans man before, during, and after his transition from female bodied to male. She describes her how her own feelings of identity were transformed and questioned during this transformation, not to mention the ways in which their relationship changed. I think this relates strongly to the ways in which transgender understandings and issues of gender identity have an effect and importance for everyone, not only those who identify as trans.
Gili Warsett, the author of the article, always felt a strong identification with the queer community and was in love with a female-bodied trans man who had changed his name but had taken any surgical measures. When he decided to have his breasts removed she felt she would love him no matter what he looked like, especially since she had dated both men and women.
Because her partner had limited contact with his parents, Warsett soon feel into the role of caretaker for him during is surgery. She had to be strong for him even though she too had worries and began to wish she had someone there to comfort her as well. The pressure of the situation seemed to build on her as she waited for him to be out of surgery. She said she even almost felt like leaving him there and worried she was pulling away with feelings of betrayal.
Warsett was desiring to escape into another world, a world of simpler sexuality, and so she began watching Sex in the City. Before, she felt, she and her partner had “bonded as fellow misfits,” but he was now a part of a trans man gang and belonged, leaving her feeling more alone. Warsett describes feeling mixtures of relief and guilt passing as a straight couple in a straight world. She said she even began “dressing straight,” unprepared to come out again.
Eventually the two of them split. Warsett was left feeling unsure about her own identities as a queer woman asking herself, “What gender was attractive to me? Who would I date? Was I still a lesbian, as I had once decided? Was I attracted strictly to preoperative transgender men? Could I ultimately be straight?”
Today, Warsett says she still considers herself to be queer but is currently dating a non-trans man. Her story and personal reflection demonstrates the way in which her own identities as a woman, a lesbian, a lover, and a caretaker were challenged and explored through her relationship with a trans man who transitioned during their relationship.
This article shows the complexities involved in transitioning and even in gender and sexual identification in general. Warsett not only questioned her sexuality but the community she belonged in and her role as the caretaking woman and partner. She finds herself craving queerness and simplicity at the same time and notices her own transformation during her partner’s transformation.