Most straight people have it easy. It's not too hard to go up and introduce your better half to Mom and Pop when they're the opposite gender. If your parents are queer-friendly, it's usually not that difficult to introduce them to the person you're dating, either. Basically, as long as the person you're dating isn't some hardcore junkie in a biker gang with KISS tattoos, your family isn't going to care much. Even, they'll definitely care about that. The junkie part. Junkies aren't good role models.

I mean, a supportive romantic partner is a good thing for everyone, no matter what combination of genders it consists of, but...what do people like ME do about describing ourselves in reference to our significant others? I'm FAAB. I'm trans masculine. I'm dating a heterosexual cis man. How will we ever accurately describe our relationship to other people? Am I his "girlfriend"? Certainly not. But I'm not his boyfriend, either.

Seriously, can somebody explain this to me? Like, give me advice? 'Cause I'm seriously at a loss here.

I use feminine pronouns for the most part because I'm not really out to most people yet, and the people I'm out to are reluctant to switch to something else unless they're trans savvy. I don't know what else to have them switch it to anyway! I'm not a "he" and "they" is usually incredibly awkward to say out loud. I don't like "ze/hir" because, quite honestly, I don't know how to pronounce them and neither does anyone else. You're on the internet. You can use "they" for me. I prefer it. And it sounds just fine. If you know me in "real life" call me whatever the hell you want, as long as it isn't "it." But most people don't "get" the whole pronoun thing in the first place, so applying it to someone they only know in reference to the relationship they're in can be difficult. I'm my boyfriend's "girlfriend." There's really not a lot I can do about it.

I REALLY don't pass. Actually, when I'm alone, strangers with their magical "OMGQUEERDAR" ask me if I'm a lesbian. I had FOUR PEOPLE, a lesbian couple and a gay couple, ask me if I was queer at a show I went to a few weeks ago (it was The Faint, so assuming I was queer wasn't too far out). One of the women said I "look like a lesbian but am read straight when accompanied by a man." Sigh. And when I was alone on the floor one of the men asked if I was a lesbian. Double sigh. People get the idea that I want to look masculine, but I'm just not manly enough to pass. I "look like a lesbian." Damn these double-Ds.

So, to get back on track and push away my whining about how I don't pass, we'll get back to the original question: how does me boyfriend refer to me in regards to himself? "Girlfriend?" I don't exactly object to it, it's just inaccurate, and "boyfriend" is inaccurate, too. "Significant other" is a weird thing to use in conversation and sounds kind of pretentious. So what the hell does he call me? How can my gender ever be validated by those outside, looking in?

Well, there are a few options, but none of them validate my gender. I've just kind of resigned myself to the thought that that's just not going to happen. Well, at least I'm not smart enough to come up with something that will truly work and resolve this whole dilemma. My boyfriend and I have discussed "companion." It works. Kind of. I'd prefer it to anything else I can think of right now, but it doesn't really represent the depth and seriousness of our relationship. Companion is someone who is with you. That's the basic definition. A "companion" can be transient. So yeah, not a real we're-in-this-for-the-long-haul kind of word.

There's the option of "partner," but I don't really like it. Not for myself, anyway. I think it's because some people believe it should be reserved for same-gender couples, and, well, we're not exactly the same gender. But we're not opposite genders, either. I just don't want people throwing shit at me for using "partner," even though it's probably the best descriptor, because I've certainly heard shit being thrown in online communities at penis-plus-vagina pairs for using that word to describe their relationship. It's really sad that happens, but it does, and I want to avoid it.

Soon-ish I'll be "fiance" and that will be easy. There's no gender connotation when you're saying it aloud. "Hi, this is A.C., my fiance." "Oh such a pleasure to meet you!" they'll say. But when we get married it will all be messed up again.

"Wife" is unacceptable to me. I have serious problems with "wife." "Wife" is just too inaccurate. I can't stand it. And I know everyone is going to call me his wife FOR ALL ETERNITY. Even after I die I'll be his "late wife." There's no escaping it, man. Please, someone throw me a life preserver. I'm drowning in my own tears for the future. And I'm not going to be a "Mrs.," either. I'm going to be a "Mx.," just like I am now...on all forms that don't have check boxes. My boyfriend has suggested we use "spouse." That I can deal with. BUT GODDAMNIT PEOPLE ARE STILL GOING TO CALL ME HIS WIFE NO MATTER WHAT HE PERSONALLY CALLS ME.

So unfortunately, for the time being, I will just try to put "girlfriend" in a compartment in my mind where it doesn't mean "girl." It's just a descriptor. Or at least that's how I've chosen I'm going to have to deal with it. I started dating him before I came out, and he's so accommodating in other trans issues I have, I'm just going to let him have this one. I'll be his "girlfriend."

*Clenches teeth*

Kirk out.

Creative Commons License