I Have a “Girl” Friend Who Used to be a Dude…and Her Husband Doesn’t Know
Growing Up Transgender
So this is a uniquely weird situation...
One of my oldest friends…someone I’ve known since high school (I’m 40 now, people) was born as a biological male, but has since had sex change surgery to become a female.
Interestingly enough, this alone is not very sensational in today’s society…heck maybe lots of you know people who have gone through this or maybe you yourself are a person undergoing gender reassignment. It is a process…my friend (let's call her “Laura”) went through a stage that she herself describes as “looking like a monster”. Facial hair and masculine features but with long blond hair and breasts…having to ride the bus in Atlanta looking like that…scaring little kids on the street, to hear her tell it.
We have always been close
When we were kids in high school and Laura was still a he (let’s call him “Chuck”), he used to come pick me up in the middle of the night. I would sneak out to meet him and we would drive downtown and drink beer and laugh and chase people around in what I realized later was a type of cruising game that many guys in small towns do with each other. With no real place to meet and a socially ingrained nervousness to meet in person anyway, guys follow each other around in their cars basically flirting and acting silly…it sounds so dumb now, but I guess if that’s all you’ve got…
I didn’t realize any of this at the time, of course and I doubt Chuck did either…we were too busy laughing, drinking and having fun.
So, fast forward about 20 years (to about 10 years ago…)
When Laura finally had the surgery, I was so proud of her. It may not be everyone’s goal in life to change their physical gender, but it was hers and she did it, in spite of incredible odds (no money, no support from family). I admire that kind of commitment.
When she was in the hospital I sent her flowers with a card saying “Congratulations! Welcome to the club!”
By the way, modern science is rocking out of control in this area. She showed me the “finished product” and I can assure you, no man will ever know the difference. Hell, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was a "store bought P***y" (her term) if I hadn’t known.
But I digress. Now we get to the “weird part…
Laura still lives in the same town, which is not small per se but is not a metropolis either. It’s just the right size to run into people you have known for years about once every month or so. No one who meets Laura now would ever guess that it was “Chuck from high school”. Trust me on this. She turned out to be a beautiful woman and I have been there when people from high school years were around. No one even begins to recognizes her…which is kind of sad, really.
She can’t go up to people she knows and just say “hi” without first explaining a whole lot…who would ever go through that? It’s easier just to walk the other way. It’s like a big part of her life was just erased from existence.
And to top it off…even if she was inclined to go into that 30 minute explanation mode with every minor acquaintance, she can’t anyway because she is married to a man who has no idea that his wife was born a biological male!
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Her husband is a really nice guy. He owns his own business and works hard. He is not dumb by any means…Laura’s close friends have speculated variously that either he really does know but doesn’t care or is into it…or he has no idea and would potentially lose his mind and kill everyone involved if he found out.
Somehow over the 7 years that they have been together, he has come to accept things like the fact that there are no childhood pictures of his wife anywhere, they can’t conceive children and Laura’s shoe size is probably a good bit bigger than his.
By the way, Laura’s “close friends” consist of me and one other friend (let’s call her Tammy) that have known her long enough to know her whole story. Tammy and I just play along in front of Laura’s hubby…my girlfriend and Tammy’s husband both know the deal as well.
Sometimes when we are all hanging out, I feel really bad for Laura’s husband as he is the only guy at the party who doesn’t know and perhaps he’s the only person who should. Then I think “what difference does it make, as long as everyone’s happy”? Obviously my loyalties are to my friend and there’s no way I would ever tell…but sometimes I am sad for her because it’s like the whole framework of her life is built on a deception…though I understand her motives and I sympathize with her situation.
It’s just a weird position to be in. I want the best for my friend and I feel that the way her life is now, finally, she is living her dream but with one huge, ironic caveat.
Doesn’t it make you wonder, though, what’s behind this thin veil we all agree is “normalcy”? It sure makes me consider the possibility that there is some huge secret or deception woven into the fabric of MY everyday life.
…and maybe I’m the only one in the room who isn’t in on it.
- Intersexuality Resources for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities
Intersexuality Resources for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersexed communities at QueerTheory.com -- annotated links, book reviews, academic articles on intersexuality and more.
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How to Show Support to a Transgender Family Member. Transgender people feel as though their bodies were born the wrong sex. They feel out of place, awkward and sometimes find their bodies so abhorrent that gender reassignment surgery seems like the..
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