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.