Crossing Boundaries

I guess I’m starting to pass more lately.  I finally got my hairdresser to tweak my cut shorter on the back and sides and I’ve seen a pretty big jump in how many times I’m sirred throughout the day.  That and more button up shirts seem to be doing the trick even without a binder.  Like it or not, this is impacting Candace too.  I needed new jeans because, thanks to a drug I’m on, I’ve lost some weight and my pants will literally fall down if I don’t wear a belt cinched up tight.  It’s not a real attractive look and she’s been commenting about my baggy butt a lot lately.  I needed her to go with me to approve of the fit because I know if I went alone I’d buy the first pair of pants that fit and then she’d still probably not be happy.  So we went together the other day to shop for jeans and I used the men’s dressing room to try them on which is directly across from the cashier’s desk in this particular store.  We settled on a couple of pairs along with some new shirts and Candace went to pay, since we were in a hurry, while I put stuff back and used the restroom.  The cashier told her that we could save 20% if we used our store card to make the purchase.  Candace told her that I had the card and referred to me as SHE.  This confused the cashier who looked at her like she was crazy and kept saying “Who?”  Plainly, she pegged me for a dude.  But I was in the bathroom so I missed all of this and heard about it in the car.  Eventually, Candace just told her not to worry about it and they worked out some coupon deal instead.

Then, yesterday the pharmacy finally had my syringes in stock and since Candace was going into town I asked her to pick them up for me.   I found out this morning that the lady at the pharmacy referred to Candace as Mrs. MyLastName and referred to me as him.  Oi!  We get mail all the time with our names all mixed together and find it kind of humorous and even save some of them for a giggle.  But this got me wondering how I’d feel if my identity was erased by some life changing stuff Candace was doing.   We’ve talked quite a bit about whether if we ever choose to get legally married we’d change our last names.  She’s pretty adamant that she wants to keep her last name for professional reasons.  Her last name is recognizable in her industry because of her mom and she doesn’t want to lose that connection.  I want to keep my last name because it connects me to my dad and I don’t want to lose that.  I’ve suggested hyphenating our names but even that she’s not really willing to do.  So, unless I take her last name we’re pretty much at a stalemate on this subject.  I’m considering it.  But, that aside, I can only imagine how it made her feel that the lady assumed she was my straight wife in our heterosexual relationship.  If I hate being called ma’am could this be the equivalent for her?  People thinking she’s crazy for calling me she and her and assuming she’s my het wife can’t make her feel good.   Not only has she lost her lesbian identity but, probably more important to her, she might feel like she’s losing her personal identity as who she has always been.  It’s really important to Candace for people to know her and respect her on her own merits.  She’s a successful business woman and a lot of people know her in our community.  For a stranger to call her Mrs. MyLastName probably really grated on her nerves.

It appears that we have crossed over a boundary or line where I’m looking male enough to pass and Candace and I have not caught up with that yet.  I won’t make a huge assumption based on a few isolated situations but it’s looking like we’re getting closer to stepping over that line very soon.  We’re going to have to have a serious talk about this soon.  I don’t know her feelings about the events of the past few days and I’m assuming some stuff here.  But I know her pretty well and can predict, based on things she’s said in the past, how this is making her feel.

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10 thoughts on “Crossing Boundaries

  1. Yes, have those conversations. I’m at the point in my relationship where I am on the verge of learning to communicate. It’s not an exaggeration. I’ve known it’s important in all areas and been at such a lack. I’m told communication is wonderful and wish I’d known it all along. Didn’t come up communicating and have floundered for decades. I’m very happy for you–you’re eons beyond me. I have you to look toward to learn how it’s done! Best wishes on your joint conclusion(s).

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    • I am not a good communicator at all either and I really hate conflict so I tend to hope things will just fix themselves. But this situation is going to have to get sorted out at some point soon and I’m dreading it. Good luck with learning to communicate better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A few days ago, we had a situation where Melissa was telling one of her online dating horror stories to a person we’d just met that had no idea I was trans. Melissa and I laughed afterwards how she’s now “that bisexual chick”…at least in that person’s mind. It doesn’t seem to bother her much, but this is something I worry about, too. I don’t want her to feel like she’s losing her identity as I’m finding mine. Good luck!

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    • Yeah, what we do does affect our partners eventually. I think a light attitude about it will go far and hopefully she will continue to be ok with everything. Good luck.

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  3. She is going to have to find some way to wrap her brain around it (i.e. is she a lesbian in a permanent relationship with a trans man?) and to figure out how to refer to you (husband, spouse, partner) that isn’t feminized.
    As a side note, when I accompanied Donna to her first day of physical therapy and was sitting in the waiting area – the receptionist asked me if I knew if Donna’s domestic partner Jamie was male or female (she was entering the form into the computer and it didn’t occur to her that I was Donna’s partner because of the age difference) and I said I’m Jamie and I have no clue how to answer the question, but for legal purposes you can put down female.

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    • I agree. I think we’re going to have to work it out together and part of why she isn’t more prepared is because I haven’t figured my side of things out better yet, i.e. pronouns and such. So far, though, it seems like she hasn’t let it bother her but she does tell me about when things happen so I know it’s affecting her. Funny that they needed to know your gender at the doctor’s office but I like how you handled it.

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  4. Are you required by law to change your last name when you marry? Here a lot of couples, especially younger ones who do not subscribe to the “obey” part of the traditional marriage vows, keep their different last names. I would not like to lose my last name either. Seems like a serious talk is on the cards, though. Candace has kept pace with you so far, I believe she won’t run away screaming this time either. Good luck! (Happy for you for the sirring and the weight loss – I’m jealous!)

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    • No, you are not required to change your last name here when you get married. A lot of people do but a growing number don’t. I know people who have joined their last names together either with a hyphen, like Smith-Jones, or created new last names that combine parts of their original last names, like Smones perhaps in the above example. I think it makes it easier in a lot of ways for people to have the same last name if they are in a dedicated family relationship but it’s so common now that it’s not an issue if they don’t match. I always vowed I would never change my last name for anyone I guess because of a feminist rationale but also because underneath I felt male and men traditionally don’t change their names. I’ve heard of some men who have taken their wives names though. I would be more amenable to changing my name if she were more flexible about it but I do understand her reasoning so I guess we’ll just deal with the issues that brings up as they appear.

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  5. I would never change my given name either, I figured if I ever got legally married that either she would take my name or we would just keep our names as they were. I think there is some pride in a name. I’ve often thought about this issue of someone being with a trans dude and losing their lesbian card…someone even asked me this question recently, as she is dating a transguy, but doesn’t wish to be seen as “straight”….very good blog, much fodder for thought here. I am interested to see what comes of your future conversations with her on this topic, please keep us posted. Peace. ~MB

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    • Thanks MB. I don’t think we have much control over how strangers perceive us. I know I hate when people assume I’m a middle aged housewife with kids because I have a mini van but I can’t change that unless I want to take the time to clarify and get into a conversation with them about it. I don’t know about Lesbian cards or straight cards for that matter. Who gets to decide who is a lesbian? We were on a lesbian cruise one time and a bunch of lesbians tried to tell Candace she wasn’t a “real” lesbian because she was a femme and with a butch. She was pretty quick to tell them they were full of shit. I don’t know. Labels are just labels but they have meaning to people and we all just need to respect that more I think.

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