Waking up every morning in the wrong body is a hard road to find oneself on, and your transexual partner has likely been experiencing identity dysphoria for years. Never being comfortable in one’s skin is very damaging. A Transgender Discrimination Survey, compiled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found that 45% of transgender/non-gender conforming 18-24 year-olds had attempted suicide at least once. Clearly there is a lot of pain associated with gender dysphoria, beyond the travails associated with social acceptance. Everyone is unique, but there are simple ways to make your partner feel more at ease with themselves.
Refer to your partner by the appropriate and chosen pronoun. If she is a she (regardless of what’s between her legs), always refer to her as “she”. Consider any reference to her sex at birth strictly off-limits. Just as it would be the most horrible thing to call someone suffering from anorexia “fat”, you would be preying on their deepest darkest internal suffering. A transgender woman is a woman, and calling her a man is truly a low blow.
Many transgender women, whether they have been through gender reassignment surgery or not, may be able to “pass,” or they might not. You don’t need to inform her of your assessment of her femininity. Reassure her that she is beautiful to you, and that is all that matters in your relationship. You wouldn’t critique a cisgender woman’s feminity with whom you are in a relationship with.
Most transgender women who haven’t had surgery do not want attention paid to their penises during sex. Everyone is an individual, but it is the desire to be a woman that is the defining characteristic of trans women. Most have been through significant struggles to come to their present state, and their male genitalia is often viewed with disdain.
Transgender women come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and races. There is no “normal.” Due to personal preference or financial concerns, transexual woman may have had anything from full gender reassignment surgery to hormone therapy, or nothing at all. Trans identity is about the internal identity of the individual, not one’s outward appearance. Being in a relationship with a transexual woman requires you to love the woman within, regardless of her outward appearance.
Just as with a woman with body dysmorphia believing she is fat when she isn’t, many transgender women can become fixated on aspects of herself that she finds wanting, justified or not. As a partner in the relationship, you need to provide grounding, support, and an injection of reality when necessary. Let your partner know that she is loved just the way she is, and your love will triumph over everything else.
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