Throughout the month of July, we at Just Love want to celebrate and highlight books by trans authors and about trans characters! We’ve had some amazing posts throughout the month, and hope you’ll check them out. Today, one of the Just Love team writes about a very personal trans book:
Caissa reflects on a book written by fellow trans partners
I remember it well: the day that a book changed my life.
I know, I know, everyone says that. But I mean it.
I had some time to kill after work one day last year, so I visited my favorite feminist bookstore to browse for a bit. Amidst all the rainbow items and erotica novels in the LGBTQ section, a book with a bright orange and yellow cover caught my eye.
“Love Always,” it read. “Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge, and Resilience.”
The bookstore may have gotten dusty.
I immediately grabbed it, paid for it, and rushed home to start reading.
You see, I too am a partner of a trans person – at the time for just over six months. I spent time searching for resources/tips/what-have-you on the internet but with no luck, so to see a book like this be a real thing thrilled me. I think of it as my own kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul – but more like a big bowl of mac & cheese.
Inside the book is a collection of poems, essays, and other forms of written work broken into three chapters – Intimacy, Challenge, and Resistance. In the introduction, the editors recognize that more white authors submitted pieces than authors of color, but they also write about how they want that to change. And I hope they make it happen.
Despite that, the book is very diverse in the types of relationships represented in the pieces. Partners all across the sexuality and gender spectrums have their voices heard, including trans partners of trans people. That was nice to see. Much like with cis people, relationships with trans people have many different forms. They also have many different challenges, some of which made me sad. But no matter what a relationship looks like or what happens, everyone with a trans partner has a common story – and they’re all valid.
LOVE ALWAYS helped me realize that mine is, too.
I saw myself in quite a few of the authors’ stories in a variety of different ways. I also felt unique, in a sense, compared to those who wrote about mourning the loss of their partners who began transitioning years after their relationships began. I met my partner, A., when she was in the middle of her own transition – out to some, but not all. So while I knew about her past, I fell for her in the present while hoping she’d be a part of my future.
So far, it’s working. We’ve been together for almost two years after starting out long-distance. It only took us a few weeks to realize we wanted to be in the same city, and we quickly decided I would be the one to make the move. Not only did I want to leave my home state of Wisconsin after being there all my life, but our current state of Minnesota has more rights in place for trans people. I’ll always miss home, but making sure A. is safe is important.
A few of the authors talk about how they’ve become better supporters of the trans community after being with their partners. I happily feel the same. I’ve even taught some of my coworkers how to write about trans people correctly. We both work in places where people accept us for who we are, no questions asked, and I’m so grateful. Our immediate families are especially supportive. The book made me realize how lucky we are in this situation, because some of the authors wrote about how their families disowned them because of their relationship. That made me sad and angry all at the same time. It’s my hope that every LGBTQ+ person, but specifically trans people, finds acceptance.
One of the authors, Helen Boyd, wrote the epilogue. It hit home. She basically explains that as partners of trans people, we mess up. Sometimes quite a bit. We work too hard and not enough. We do things or say things or touch things we shouldn’t. But nothing beats the love we have for our partners. I couldn’t agree more.
Being with A. has been the greatest joy of my life, one I’m so thankful to have. She rocks the femme look better than I do, but she’s gorgeous in everything. I can’t lie when I say I hope we turn out like other couples in the book and get married – but when we’re ready.
Right now, we’re just writing a new chapter of our story, and I can’t wait to see what happens.