Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

Gender Bender

on October 31, 2012

Have you ever pondered this question — “If my spouse had gender reassignment surgery, would I stay with them?”  My guess is that you haven’t.

Here at Calm, Cool and Committed, we have.  Mamma Fratelli and I decided to post our answers.  And, for good measure, we invited (well, I invited) a dissenting guest opinion.

Mamma Fratelli

“L-O-L-A Lola”

Could you stay with your spouse if he had a sex change?

Yes. Wait, no. OK yes. I would love to say, “Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt” because the sexual orientation component of the issue does not bother me. I’d love Bug whether or not I was sexually attracted to him. However, gender reassignment is not just a nip, a tuck, and a new wardrobe; there is a complete identity change. Not to mention, the impact that the hormones and the psychological stress would have on our marriage. Not only is there no easy answer to this question, there is more than one question to this question. Do I care if Doodle Bug and Sunny have two mommies? No. Do I care if our neighbors assume I’m a lesbian? No. Would I mind if my husband wore heels and went by the name Nancy? I don’t think so. Could I grow to enjoy a sexual relationship with a female husband? I’m not sure. Probably not. Could I stay with a spouse with whom I have an asexual relationship? Yes. Many people do it after their spouse suffers an illness, injury or simply old age.When we took our vows, we promised to stay together for better or for worse, through sickness and through health. If you look at these words like a legal contract, you can sway them in both directions. You could say that Gender Identity Disorder is a sickness and it would be my responsibility to care for and support Bug *through* it. Does that mean through as in he will get better and stay male? Or, does that mean throughout as in I am with him for the long haul? What about the argument that I vowed to stay with the man that I married as he stood before me at the altar that day? Would that mean that a major change such as a religious conversion, a new penchant for violence, or a change in sex would nullify that promise? Or, am I bound to stay with that new person because he is the same physical self? I just don’t know but as I understand it, the vow means that I will stay with him through better or worse *situations* not better or worse *character* or *actions*. Therefore, if he lost his job, I couldn’t leave him but if he decided to become a serial killer, I could. I guess the point is moot, though, because I do not believe that gender reassignment is wrong. There are many people who feel that they were born into situations that do not fit them and they take steps to change that. This just happens to be, arguably, the most extreme step. Is it wrong to drag your spouse and children through it with you? Probably. However, if society were more tolerant, people with GID would not feel so obliged to repress their true selves and they would not have to wait until they snap to get their surgery. Then, potential fiancés would have all of the facts before they made a commitment. For example, I took a graduate class with a young man who was born female. He was going through the hormone portion of the therapy and was very proud of his peach fuzz on his cheeks! He had a girlfriend at home that knew from the beginning of the relationship that her girlfriend would one day sprout a penis and become her boyfriend. I have to say that I admire and even envy their love a bit. To know that you love someone’s soul so much that you don’t care about the packaging is touching and beautiful. I don’t know if I am that strong. I fell in love with a man and I like that he is a man. Sure, it would be nice if he started to shave his armpits and embrace chick flicks but I like his masculinity. I like his callused hands, strong (flat) chest, big arms and scratchy chin. I am not attracted to lady bits and I’d rather not have it sprung on me that I have to become a lesbian by no choice of my own. BUT, I owe it to the *person* I love (man or woman) to at least give him a shot. So, my answer is “yes, I could, but I don’t know if I would.” That said, I’m very grateful that this was a hypothetical question.

Molar Mother

“Hubwife”

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116  is an amazing piece of work.  It’s the perfect definition of love.  It’s so perfect that it was read at Hubby’s and my wedding.  The poem says, “Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds…”

The issue of staying married to a spouse who switches genders is really a question of what love is.  Is love contingent on one person being a certain gender?  I say no.

Sure, a big part of what initially attracted me to Hubby was his masculinity – his big muscles, his strong body, heck, even his hairy chest!  Yet, these aren’t the things that made me fall in love with him.

I know that hubby prefers being married to me over being married to an 80 year old woman.  But guess what.  One day I will be an 80-year-old woman (knock on wood), and I expect him to stay married to me.  I won’t be the 26 year old to whome he initially made his vows.  Inside, however, where it counts, I’ll be the same person.

If we were only to marry people who were physically attractive and appealing to us, I’d be married to Daniel Craig and Hubby would be married Emily Blunt.  Fortunately for Hubby and me (and maybe Daniel Craig and Emily Blunt), love looks past the body.

Sure, there are some things that MIGHT make me leave Hubby – cheating on me, joining a cult, becoming a Republican… but those are all things that would hurt me.  Hubby changing gender isn’t a hazard to me as a person.  And if identifying as a girl stops him from being hurt, then go for it!  I’ll stick with him.

Really Cranky Dad

“Why I Wouldn’t Stay Married to Molar Father”

When my wife first asked me if I’d stay married to her if she had gender reassignment surgery, I thought about it a minute and then said, “No.”
She was upset with me, which surprised me, especially given the purely hypothetical (as far as I know) nature of the question. I considered the question a bit more, but my answer was still no. Would I be friends with her? Sure. Would I hang out with her? Sure. But I wouldn’t stay married to her.

Of course because it’s changing sex organs we’re talking about, everybody’s first thought is that it’s about the physical act of sex. For me, that did factor into my answer, but not as much as you’d think. I mean, if my wife had a dehabilitating injury and we couldn’t have sex, I wouldn’t divorce her over it. (And yes, I understand two men can have sex, but that’s not really my thing.)

To me, the issue is one of honesty. I cannot fathom my wife wanting to be a man. If that happened, it would mean I didn’t know her at all. Not at all. Our lives together would have been a lie. Because, honestly, if she wanted to be a man then she wouldn’t have married me–or at least wouldn’t have married me without discussing this with me. Our physical sex is a big part of our identity. Why do you think they make people go through years of therapy before doing a sex change operation? So why would I be expected to stay married to a person who was fundamentally changed, not through some random act (like a chimpanzee attack that completely altered her body) or natural process (like aging, which wreaks its own havoc on our minds and bodies), but through a deliberate intention to become someone different?

Oh, and while my wife was berating me for my lack of fidelity to her fictional self who had a sex change, she told me she almost broke up with me when she found out I’d once voted Republican. I guess we all have our sticking points.

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4 responses to “Gender Bender

  1. Mea says:

    For the record, I have never and refuse to ponder this question. My husband would never have a sex change. And, if in some pretend world he did, he wouldn’t be my husband. Yep, that’s all I have to say. Oh wait, one more thing…Mama Fratelli…living in an asexual relationships sounds like torture and misery to me!!

    • Molar Mother says:

      Are you saying that our husbands might have sex changes???

      If your hubby became a quadriplegic, would you stay with him? That would be an asexual relationship, wouldn’t it?

      • Mea says:

        No.

        I don’t even want to think about it. If it happened, it would be really hard. But, he wouldn’t be a liar, so I would accept and deal with it.

  2. Mea says:

    …and I agree with the really cranky dad!

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