It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything in this space. There has been a lot going on – life is hardly recognisable from what it was a year ago. I have a three year old, I have a new job and I also have a new husband…
No, Amy and I didn’t break up. Amy became Aiden and has been so for the last six months at least. It’s something he had spoken about for a long time, but it finally came to a point where he decided who he was on the outside needed to match the inside. It’s been a whirlwind. I can’t speak for him, but it’s definitely been a whirlwind for me. You can be as cool as you like with trans issues, but it still takes some getting used to when your wife becomes your husband.
At first, getting pronouns right was hard. I dropped the old name every so often, which caused arguments of course. Nowadays it is easier as I think of him as male. Even in my head, he’s male. But it took a long time to get there and sometimes I do still have to correct myself. Thankfully, Aiden coming out timed perfectly with my new job, so I essentially left my old job as someone with a wife and started my new job as somebody with a husband. It saved a lot of awkwardness with having to correct those around me as well as myself.
I’ve definitely had a lot to figure out. As much as I have always identified as bisexual on some level, it was weird to me to be looked on as part of a “straight” couple. It almost felt a little like erasure of my identity. I’d grown so comfortable with my identity as a woman married to a woman, that suddenly being married to a man was difficult to swallow at first. The first few times I said “husband” I had a little laugh in my head, because it makes me sound like an old married lady. I’ve been astounded by how many people feel that they can blurt their homophobic or transphobic opinions to me just because they think I’m straight. It’s a bit of a baptism by fire on that one. I didn’t realise how little people said to me because they assumed I was a lesbian.
It’s also been quite difficult in that there doesn’t really seem to be any support groups as such. There are a few on Facebook for partners of trans people. I’m in a specific one for those who are in a relationship with someone who is a trans man. But it’s difficult because a lot of the people in them met their partner in their true form. Aiden and I were together for eleven years before he came out, and although it wasn’t altogether unexpected, it has taken some getting used to. It’s very hard to find people who say “yep! I’ve been there!” because the situation is so specific. Even the media only sensationalises stories like mine – usually in the form of “My Tom Became Brenda and Ruined My Life!” when really it’s nothing like that in the majority of cases.
Even when we were first off the starting blocks, Aiden was faced with an unsupportive GP who was just not interested. Thankfully that has been rectified by seeing a different GP, but the wait list for NHS first consultation is something like two years at the moment. For consultation! We’ve had the good fortune to be able to go private for hormones, but it’s thoroughly depressing to think of how many don’t have that avenue. I had to go to the (original unsupportive) doctor with Aiden on his second visit as he felt unable to do it alone. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who don’t have someone in their corner who is willing to stand up for their right to be appropriately referred.
And Eden? Eden has had her ups and downs with it all. She often still calls Aiden Mama, although we are encouraging “Papa” instead. She will often tell people that Mama is a boy. At first, when we explained to her that Mama was Papa now, she was upset. I think she thought it meant Aiden was leaving, but once we reassured her that he was the same person, just a different name, she understood a little better and wasn’t as upset. It really helped that around the same time she met a little girl at childcare who changes her name almost daily! It helped give her a little context about calling people the name that they wish to be called by. We’ve had people suggest that it must all be terribly confusing for her, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. I don’t doubt that there is some level of confusion for her – there certainly was at first – but what she understands of the situation is that she has two parents who love her very much. I have no doubt that there will come a time when she doesn’t remember anything before papa.
So, with that I welcome you to our new chapter. Welcome to Papa, Eden & Me.