Life: The Not-So-Gay 20s

This is not a complete biography. It is a brief account of some of the sexual orientation, gender and feminism-related events in my life. I don’t mean to hit every event in my life, not even every significant event. It is just a starting point.

Age 21.

I did escape, but he follows me across half the country. And promising he’s changed, I believe him. Within a week, he’s broken my finger. I kick him out, but he just moves in with the girl next door and continues to make me feel unsafe from there.

Age 23.

Rape. It’s a man I’d gone on a first date with, and I invited him home. He seemed like a geeky, quiet type. Asks me if I’d ever been curious about cuffs. And when I say I had, and he has them on me, I’m powerless.

Hands at my throat, choking me. A voice barking into my face, warning me to never say no to him again. I realize that he’s angry, and that he likes being angry, and he will use any excuse to stay angry. And I know right then that I have got to do what I can to keep him calm, so I comply.

Six hours.

When he finally leaves, I take a shower and get ready for work. I tell only one person, an ex-boyfriend who had claimed to be a feminist. He says I was stupid to let it happen. And I feel stupid, but tell myself that what has happened won’t change me. I swear it won’t …

Age 25.


On our first date, my husband told me he liked to wear women’s clothes. He hurried to add that there was nothing sexual about it; it just felt comfortable. After thinking about it for a few days, I decided I could make it work. Besides, he seemed kind, and after what I’d been through a few years ago, kind seemed incredibly important.

Age 27.

I try hard to understand my transgender husband. I try to be supportive. I buy him clothes and makeup, even though I don’t know the first thing about makeup. I try to help him dress and go to the wig store with him. But there’s a problem. When he’s dressed, he is — frankly — unattractive. Worse, his personality disappears and he becomes this mousy thing that barely says a word.

I can’t relate to him like I would to another woman. So I figure I’ll try to take the other role. I do my own crossdressing . And I’m not bad. I go so far as to hang out with a group for “transmen” for a night, which leads to a one-night-stand with a lesbian friend of a group member. I realize with some shame that I’d slept with her on Valentines eve, rather than my own husband.

The experiment ends when a gas station attendant calls me “sir” as naturally as though I were a man. I’m tickled. It’s like I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. And that experiment over, I let it go.

I go on wearing men’s clothes often, but it’s not like I believe I am a man or need to take hormones or have surgery or anything. I’m always a woman dressing androgynously. That is all.

Even so, my husband and I go to some crossdresser support groups, where we cause a stir because we’re the only crossdressing couple. Good times, I guess.

Age 29.

The wheels are coming off the car. My husband has no sex drive anymore. He goes to the doctor, who performs some tests and determines it’s because he has virtually no sex drive. It’s not that hard to treat — he’s given the choice between patch, gel or injections. But he doesn’t follow up on any of them with any sincerity. Why would he, when the hormone he wants is estrogen, not testosterone?

I try to live as a eunuch, but try as I might, I can’t make the desire to be sexual with another person go away. I give in to flirting on-line and then meeting with men. I don’t hide it from my husband. I don’t do it to hurt him. I just can’t stand the loneliness.



  1. Pingback: Her Trouble with Islam | B's Room

  2. “I can’t relate to him like I would to another woman.” I can no longer relate to mine as I would to another human being. He’s no longer a man. He never was, and never will be, a woman. He’s like a Space Invader, bringing some otherworldly objective to a very militant invade and conquer exercise. I’m his target.

    • I’m so sorry :-/

      When I was in that relationship, it seemed like there was a lot of pressure on wives to accept it and to even be happy about it. Because now you have a girlfriend to go shopping with! (or whatever). It was doubly alienating. First, because I was losing the relationship I thought I had, and second, because I was then being told that because my husband wanted to be a girly girl, I should be happy to be one, too, which is the LAST thing I’ve ever wanted to be.

      So, in spite of what you might hear elsewhere, I want you to know that I think your anger and your hurt are not only understandable, but justified. You absolutely have a right to feel the way you do.

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