“Dear Miss Andi...” for the week of 12 January 2020
Hello again! Still sticking to those new year's resolutions? You can do it! You're two whole weeks in already! Or maybe you're doing a vegan or dry January? Lots of respect if you are; personally, I'm quitting smoking this year and figured doing that while stone sober might've been a bridge too far!
This week, our readers ask for suggestions navigating a straight monogamous relationship when one of the members has decided to transition, and another about navigating the minefield that is trans relationships when you're a cisgender person.
Staying together through transition
I'm a nonbinary trans woman who just came out this year and is about to start hrt. I'm still with the same partner I had before I started transitioning, we started out as a cis-het couple but now that I've started transitioning my partners sexuality is thrown into question. She says she's not sure that she can stay with me once I start to show signs of hrt, but that she might be able to wrap her head around the idea of being a bisexual woman.
Regardless of whether we stay together as a romantic couple she loves and supports me and I feel the same about her.
Do we have a shot of this actually working out or am I just kidding myself?
Oh darling, my heart goes out to you. 💚
I went through something rather similar to that — I realised I was pretty queer and that I could either keep living my life in what was at the time the single happiest and most loving relationship I'd ever been in, or leave her and try to become the person I always thought I needed to be. In hindsight I probably didn't need to envision it in such stark terms; the woman I was dating at the time is now an incredibly good friend who I am ever so grateful to still be in such close contact with, and if anyone could have made it work, she likely could have.
On the other hand, I sort of also felt part of what made that relationship not work was widely different preferences to the outcome. I've never wanted children, but she did; that alone sort of sealed it. Listen to what your partner needs — is being with you that, or are the changes so profound that the underlying thesis of the relationship is called into question?
My personal experience aside, people do make it work. The club I do photo at has a lot of people who were or are in this situation, cisgender partners of people who are on the trans spectrum; I have no idea what their home lives are like, but I have to at least give them a lot of respect for even trying. I'm not going to put it lightly; for a lot of people, in terms of “things happening to a relationship,” one partner changing gender is often a pretty big thing.
With this all said — if she loves you, and she knows you, this might not be as big of a shock as it seems.
After we broke up, I had a lot of moments with the previous partner I mentioned earlier, where she would recall some memory in which the ultimate conclusion was: “Huh... In hindsight — Andi, you're pretty femme, lol 🤷🏼♀️” I think on some level, she knew even before I did. It's really both affirming and healing to be able to talk through these moments in your lives with each other, and be able to understand them from a more enlightened standpoint.
Finally — you mentioned she's willing to consider being bisexual. To me this feels like she wants to be flexible enough to keep you in her life, while also expressing a need for someone masculine. I'm not sure polyamory works well in this situation, especially as everything's changing for you both and are both in a really sensitive emotional state, but once stuff settles down it might be worth having an open and honest talk about what your sexual and practical desires are, and how you can work together to make that a reality.
Regardless, I wish you all the best. 💚
Dear Miss Andi,
I'm a straight dude. Serve on a carrier group in the Pacific. Always felt comfortable in my masculinity, and my attraction to women. Lately, though, I've started to question all that, and I need some advice.
I had some shore leave recently in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I met this person who... well, they say they're “non-binary”. I hadn't met anyone like that before! And all their friends are like that too. They live in this... sorta warehouse/art community near the docks, and they dress different, and they've got all these pronouns I've never heard of before. This is all kinda new to me, but I'm doing my best to learn and understand as best I can. And—I'm SUPER into this person. They're into me too. We've been spending a lot of time together during leave.
Their friends, well... they aren't too enthusiastic about us hanging out. I guess... me being what they call cisgender, and a kinda traditional guy, well... most of them are polite, but cold around me. And when they're around, well... my friend freezes up. Drives me nuts.
Anyway, there was this whole deal with this boat they were working on and it half-capsizing in the bay, and after we managed to tow it back to the dock, my friend and I well... we kissed.
Since then they've said that... they've actually felt more femme of late, and that... maybe they're more of a woman after all. But one of their friends found out, and now they're accusing her of some kind of complicated gender thing, and they think I'm all to blame.
I only have a few weeks before my leave is up. I want to pursue this relationship, but I'm worried about what their—her—friends might do if I don't leave her be.
Lost at Shore
I've been informed by the person who wrote this that it's not a serious question and was cribbed from some media or other, but I don't give a damn, it's a good question and they used a cute goddamn pseudonym. Halle-fuckin-lujah. 🙌
My, that's quite the pickle. Okay, let's unpick a few things:
(Andi's note: pronouns are used somewhat interchangeably in the question so instead of making assumptions I'm going to very woodenly just say “this person” the entire time. Apologies for this. Please include preferred pronouns in your questions; thank you!)
It sounds like you're really into this person, and that's so cute, and I dig it. 💚
Forget about all the gender and pronoun stuff for a minute and just think about why you like this person and that fluttery feeling you get in your chest. That's the nice bit; that's the part you want to hold onto.
Speaking as a non-binary person, gender can be a very fluid thing! Some days you're a masculine femme, other days you're a feminine masc. “Wibbly-wobbly, gender-blendery stuff,” to quote Meg-John Barker. On some level, it sounds like this person's friends are kinda being jerks by trapping this person into a specific interpretation of “non-binary,” though I wouldn't suggest challenging them on this (please believe me when I say that it will not end well).
At the same time, it's always challenging to watch a friend change due to a romantic interest. This happens to everyone; it's not just a queer thing. Particularly in groups formed due to commonalities in gender, it can be disheartening to lose that shared thread. It's worth understanding this person's friends from that perspective, and being empathetic of that. But people do change; in many ways for a lot of us, that's kind of the point.
Whatever you do though, don't even think about suggesting to this person how this person's gender identity should evolve. Maybe this person (Andi's note: Argh! So bad! Supply pronouns!!) will end up more femme... Or not. Who knows? If you genuinely love this person, you'll still be into them as you watch them grow into who that person ultimately becomes.
My advice is to take it on the chin and take your romantic interest's friends with a grain of salt; be respectful, but don't let any shade they throw at you cut too deeply. And don't take their friend away from them by becoming obsessive and codependent — learn to give them all space when needed. Hopefully they'll see the changes in their friend not as something brought about by dating a rolls-eyes cisman rolls eyes even harder, but rather as a positive maturing of somebody they care for.
Best of luck, Mr. Shore.
Gosh, sorry it's so late this week! I had another question I was going to run this week but it has a lot of medical research I need to do so I don't sound like an utter twat and as a result I had to pivot a bit. 😅
~ The Reverend Miss Andi N. Fiziks