A story of two lovers where the cisgender one needs to get over herself.
* Trigger warning for Transphobia
Illustration by Jaden Tsan (Graphic Design Director, The Continuist) IG: @jadundun
By Leila Kazeminejad (she/her, IG: @kazemoneyjad)
Co-Editor-in-Chief, The Continuist
when my partner told me they wanted to transition, i weeped like a stupid bitch.
why didn’t you tell me? why does everything have to change?
why was this happening to me?
i was frantic, with pity-tears scalding down from my hot, beady eyes, and wet snot rimming my nostrils, ready to weep. my cruel accusations were whispered to them under the thin fleece blanket. she was lying on my bed, staring at the popcorn ceiling with such an intensity that i knew that she wasn't letting herself cry. every time i punctuated the silence, opened my tear-soaked mouth, sticky with venomous things to say: it was all about me.
and i hate myself for that.
it’s easy to call yourself a member of the lgbt+ and to preach unconditional acceptance of others for their genders or sexualities when you don’t need to actively practice that unconditional acceptance. i found myself ugly, pretending i had always been tolerant, yet i had a problem with my partner for trusting me so completely that they could talk to me about their true gender identity. she laid herself bare in the most intimate way and i sputtered and tried to make her feel guilty for it.
why was it ok to accept other people as trans? what does this change for me beyond the superficial, the surface? stop being transphobic, stop being disgusting.
the more i tried to force acceptance, the more miserable i was with myself. could i lie it into existence? despite all the non-existent problems i conjured up for myself, i wanted to accept them; i needed to. and maybe that was selfish of me.
my individual experience with gender was simply lukewarm; it was given to me and i accepted it without a dysphoric feeling in my female-aligned childhood. even my experience now is only secondhand. i can only support from the sidelines as my partner navigates what it is like to have an unconditional acceptance of herself.
it was never about me, but i made it about me.
the problems were only problems because:
i was the problem.
in my dichotomous mind, i assigned her a version of femininity, one that was set in place as if she would completely change into someone i didn’t know. when you’re complacently cisgender, dealing with dysphoria feels incredibly uncomfortable. i pushed her into female-aligning things while disregarding the person i knew she was; i would go awkwardly silent when i accidentally called her “he/him.” she didn’t ask me for an apology and i never gave her one, but the mistake hung heavy in the air, unaddressed.
it took me a long time to just leave her alone about it all. she’s my girlfriend even when her voice or appearance starts to skew differently.
this isn’t about me, this is about you.
and i love you all the same.
and i’m sorry you had to love me when i didn’t deserve it.
and i’m sorry for misunderstanding every step of the way.
so this is for you.