As a pre-op trans woman struggling with life in the US Armed Forces (while “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is now gone, transgender people are still forced to live in the dark) who had just arrived at a new command with no friends, no idea what I was in for, and no clue who I could trust. A dream of a woman — who was also fairly new to the command — entered into my life. At the time I assumed I had no chance with her. Even if I did, all the heartbreak I had experienced over the years had left me believing that the women I’m attracted to never understand my journey as a transgender woman, and are never willing to help me through the issues I deal with on a daily basis.
Fast forward a few months. The dream woman and I begin dating. It turned out that she was actually a woman I had met and forgotten about from my hometown. I tell her about my secret, “I’m transgender.” She asked questions, I answered. She didn’t understand, but tried to empathize, and — the best part — she cared about me, not about who or what I am.
We hit it off this time around and eventually get engaged. Our relationship is anything but normal as could be expected from our odd pairing, but she is more than willing to assist me when I need it. I, of course, am more than willing to assist her when she needs help, too. We have our odd problems, have our odd talks, and come up with our odd solutions. Life is wonderful.
Then, the question, “Do you want children?”
Both of us answer in the affirmative. We do want children, but how is it going to work? I’m more than happy to be a father for the child, but will I regret that in the future? Will we try to conceive while still in the Navy or after we get out? Should we adopt? And a thousand more questions come to mind. The questions are on her mind too.
We decide upon one child (whether by natural conception or by adoption), possibly a second by adoption, after we are discharged from the military. But what about me: who am I going to be? I wonder. She asks. I was determined to take the position that I thought was needed, that of a male.
It took awhile of self-reflection to realize that “male” is not how I view myself or what I think I need to be — it’s about how my wife and children view me. I’m no longer afraid of raising a family, I know whoever I am: Mom, Dad, or other, that as long as I love them and support them, they will love and support me.
After all the heartbreak and fear in my life, I have my place, next to my future wife and child/children. I know that whether I begin on my path to surgery or forego it for any number of reasons, that I will have no regrets, because I will always have the love and support of my family.
Comments on A US military pre-op trans woman and fiancée ponder parenthood
I love this exploration of your identity, not just as an individual, but how it will relate to your wife and child/ren someday! I would love to hear follow up as you continue on your journey! While not quite the same, I definitely notice that I prefer being called ‘mama’ than ‘mommy,’ and hope that my son someday doesn’t decide that mommy is the preferential word to use for me!
I grew up in a military family. It was challenging being in a military family because I knew that there was only so much that my parents directly controlled such as where we lived. As I grew older and more aware of gender issues, I had to rethink about the messaging about gender to men and women. To me, the men were more “on” and invested a part of their gender expression as cis men as being directly related to being in the military. The cis women seemed to be able to turn it “off” and relax more with their families. As a transgendered person in the military, how has your perception of that “toughness” changed? If you are open at work, have your officers and co-workers responded differently to you in their expectations of “toughness”?
I LOVE that you two once knew each other in the past, and reconnected so many years later.
I also love that “the best part — she cared about me, not about who or what I am.”
Now that’s romance!
I’m so happy for you both. Even though there are tough times ahead (and now), you have each other. Exploring so many aspects of your identity at once can be so incredibly difficult, and it’s important to have loved ones around you during times like that. I hope everything works out for you two! Good luck!