by Joshua D. Lambert
In a world where there seems to be a label to define every aspect of a person, my wife and I are breaking down the barriers.
I’m a 23-year-old transgender man who identifies as demi-gay/pan romantic. She’s a 23-year-old cisgender woman who identifies as a lesbian. This is usually when everyone starts jumping on us saying “whoa, no way! It’s wrong for you to be together because she’s invalidating your identity as a man,” blah, blah, blah. Here’s why I am entirely sick and tired of hearing that.
My wife and I met five years ago on our first day of college. At the time, I had identified as a straight woman (having been born female and being attracted exclusively to men.) Over the course of our first few months knowing each other, she developed a pretty decently sized crush on me, to say the least. When she had come out to me as bisexual and told me she had feelings for me, I didn’t care one bit. Our friendship remained intact and virtually unchanged, at least it had up until I started developing feelings for her in return.
I eventually told her how I felt, and the rest was history. We’ve had our ups and downs over the course of our relationship, but that hadn’t stopped me from proposing during the summer of 2013. It was absolutely perfect! It was the summer before our senior year, so we knew we had some time to go before actually getting married. We weren’t in any rush which ended up being great since we both dropped some bombs on our relationship the following November; I had come out as transgender, and the same night, she had come out as a lesbian. Our world was turned upside down, but then we realized that it hadn’t changed one thing.
Many transgender men will tell you they feel invalidated as men when in a relationship with a lesbian-identified woman. I’ll tell you truthfully that I haven’t felt invalidated once. Why? Well it’s simple; I love this woman more than life itself, as she does me. I will never tell her she can’t identify as a lesbian because I came out as transgender, nor does she need to. She knows who she is, and I know who I am. Had she left after I came out, I would have felt like she never truly loved me. If you feel so invalidated by a lesbian partner, just remember they’re probably feeling the same way. If you knew your partner was a lesbian, came out to them as transgender, and then demanded they change their identity to please you, what’s stopping them from telling you not to identify as transgender to please them? If you know you’re a man, and your partner loves you no matter what, why worry so much about how she identifies? You’re still the same people at the end of the day.
Labels are simply that; labels. They can be broken by the strongest of love just like ours were, and we couldn’t be any happier.