My girlfriend and I are writing about our different perspectives on our relationship as it grows and morphs. I suppose the reason is to provide two perspectives that are evolving. One transitioning, and one cis-to something queerer. Plus, along the way it is fun to talk about sex and self-discovery and all those messy things. The first sections are merely introductory and hopefully, we maintain focus and get to the more transmundane stuff. Anyhow, I have linked the first to sections of my writing below and beyond that, is Jenny’s first section. Enjoy. And yes, my titles are way cooler.
This is the first section of the blog/ book we have started working on about our relationship:
I had feelings for Mina long before I knew about her existence. I had known her as Wil for almost four years. When she told me she identified as transgender, it was a surprise, but it didn’t change my feelings about her. To be honest, I liked her so much, she could have told me she was a space alien, and I still would have focused on one main question; why did she tell me?
Of course, I was not so egotistical in the moment. I was (I hope- we were very drunk) supportive. I remember mainly focusing on her use of the phrase ‘gender non-binary,’ because despite having probably a more than average understanding of feminist and gender theory, this was not a term I had come across, and at that point, it seemed like a vague substitute for not saying something else. In a way it was. Beyond that, apart from a memory of sitting in a park in Hongdae, most of the rest of that afternoon is lost in a fuzzy cloud of gin-based cocktails.
But as soon as we parted that evening, it was all about me. We had been friends for four years, but not really for most of the last year. For the first two years of our friendship, we had both been in relationships with other people and were closer to each other’s partners than one another. Then Mina, who I still knew as Wil at that point(cue pronoun shift), my ex-partner and I had gone on vacation to South Africa together. Over the course of three weeks, I felt we developed a bond that didn’t always seem to be purely friendship. Although we hadn’t yet broken up, I’d realised my relationship was over at that point and this only served to solidify that. However, his relationship was not, so when he realised I had feelings for him, this created a great deal of awkwardness between us.
Although on the day she chose to come out to me, her relationship had been over for a couple of months, ours was still somewhat tentative. We were definitely not in the habit of confessing our inner-most secrets to one another. So, whilst she was baring her soul, in an effort to begin to be true to her own sense of identity, all I really cared about was whether this meant she liked me.
So, the beginning of our relationship was perhaps indistinguishably intertwined with her acknowledgement of being transgender. She wanted my support-I wanted her. At first, I wasn’t sure I could give the first without the second, and I realised pretty much immediately, that I had to articulate my feelings out loud. Thus a couple of days later we had a very awkward coffee where I struggled to share my emotions, feeling pretty sure that they were not going to be reciprocated. I was right. Mina was understanding but on the defensive. I felt strongly that there had been an emotional connection between us for some time, but she wasn’t ready to acknowledge that. Just out of a breakup and being to come to terms with being trans, this was more than understandable. She knew her priority needed to be herself.
I understood that, but I was terrified of treading the murky waters of a relationship that wasn’t a relationship, of the closeness generated by shared knowledge of something so intimate, without the reciprocation. It was a situation I had been in before, and my instinct was to run for the hills; protect myself. However, the fact we also we worked together in our little international school bubble, meant that was never going to be possible. Therefore, after a day of contemplation and compulsive list -making, I agreed to try to be there for her. I decided that trying to have any kind of relationship with her, was better than the last year of being in the same office but largely ignoring one another. It was the best decision I have ever made.