Coming Out to Your Partner as Transgender

If you're transgender and you're not telling your partner, you are not living a true relationship. You are lying to them. Think about this: If they don't love you for who you really are, then they don't really love you.
02/03/2016 05:57 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2017
couple argue and are not happy...
couple argue and are not happy...

"No. You're not leaving me," she said. "I've decided and that's it."

I'll never forget those words or the image in my mind of her standing there in the kitchen crying. Pleading with me. You see, I was trying to break up with her.

Why?

Because I was afraid to tell her the truth. I was afraid she wouldn't love me anymore. I thought that it would mean our whole relationship had been a lie.

But it was a lie because she didn't know the real me, and you can't have a lasting relationship without telling the truth to one another.

Coming out to anyone is hard. When it's your partner, things get really complicated.

Let me first take a moment to explain the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. Simply put, gender identity is who you are and sexual orientation is who you want to be with.

It's not just a game of girls and boys. There are neutral people as well, genderqueer and bisexual respectively. There is also the term pansexual, which means someone who can love anyone across the gender or sexual spectrum. From a transgender perspective, these people that are in the middle of the scales are some of the most important as they are the most open in their hearts and the most accepting. They are the wildcards. The ones you can win with.

When coming out to your spouse there are always two people that need to be respected.

You and them.

Their opinion is valid. Period.

When coming out as a homosexual to a heterosexual, the result is usually the breakup of the two. This puts the first in the horrible position of having to admit a lie to finally tell their truth and the second to have no choice, but to accept that truth as their new reality.

It is not easy for either one of them.

While some may remain friends, others may feel angry and betrayed. We're not even going to get into the possibility of children and how it can affect them in this piece, but it is something to think about.

When gender is involved, it adds a certain layer of complexity.

Technically, I've always been a lesbian, but since I was in a male body, that was rather convenient.

That doesn't mean that my partners were gay. To them, it was a heterosexual relationship.

It wasn't that I had to tell her that I didn't love her; it was that I had to tell her who I really was and hoped she would still accept me because I loved her.

I didn't want her to go away. I was so afraid of that; I tried to break up with her just to not have the memory of her ever looking down on me. In truth, I would rather have given up a love that was a lie than try to make it real and fail. It was a ridiculous way of thinking, but that is what fear will do to us.

And, of course, to her, it made no sense at all. So one day I finally spoke my truth.

One night when we were in bed, about to go to sleep, I told her I had something important to say.

She put her book down and sat up to listen.

"The reason I've been trying to break up with you. The thing I didn't want to tell you is that, I'm Trans and I can't take this life anymore, so I have to change it and I was afraid you wouldn't love me anymore and I don't want to lose you and I'm so scared right now," I blurted out from the corner of the bed across from her. Fearing what would come next. Shaking and crying. Holding the covers for protection.

"Is that all?" she asked. "Baby, we can deal with that. It's ok."

Fortunately for me, my wife turned out to be pansexual. I was lucky, but so many people aren't.

I have heard many stories of women in my position and they are not often happy ones to tell.

Responses can range from rejection to divorce or even death, especially for some women who come out to their partner after transition. If you fear your partner may respond violently, please don't do it alone.

Of course, there are always exceptions and those stories warm our hearts.

All anyone really ever wants is to be loved. Ultimately, that's what we all seek.

If you're transgender and you're not telling your partner, you are not living a true relationship. You are lying to them. Think about this: If they don't love you for who you really are, then they don't really love you.

Be honest with them always, but most importantly be honest with yourself.