By Dawn Celeste McGregor
Being with a transgender man has changed me in some important ways. First of all, I now love Brussels sprouts. I crave them…better call the conversion therapist, or conversion nutritionist, you know, one or the other…’cause obviously there’s been some damage done here.
Being with a trans man has made me care intimately about social justice. My husband is an activist and, honestly, I was always an advocate for human rights, particularly LGBTQAI and racial rights and equity. But I personally rejected the systematic construct and called it a day. I used the excuse that I treated everyone with respect and dignity and that was good enough.
Since Mac came in to my life, I have realized that I need to move beyond my personal responsibility. I have woken up to the importance of fighting the lack of equity and representation for all the marginalized communities in our country and the world. By being with a trans man, I have stopped being an advocate for human equality and equity and become an activist.
I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who taught me that my gender had nothing to do my potential. I grew up thinking that being a woman did not hold me back at all. I embraced independence and empowerment, not really thinking too much about the extremity of our patriarchal society. Being with a trans man helped me become more aware of the prevalence of toxic masculinity in our social structure. My man brought out the feminist in me.
Mac has changed the way in which I classify gender and sexuality. I have always been open and unencumbered by hang ups around my sexuality or those I’m attracted to, so ending up with a man who was born with a vagina wasn’t odd or strange to me. Although, I had always referred to myself as bisexual. I now call myself pansexual. I can honestly say that I no longer accept the binary gender or sexuality structure as reality whatsoever. I have discovered that I can get turned on by all types of genitalia, and that gender (or gender expression) is of no consequence to my sexual identity. Being with a trans dude didn’t change my level of openness – I was born this way. But it sure has expanded the way I classify myself to the world and how I see the importance of embracing the true self.
I have learned a few things about honoring individual expression. Such as the reasons it’s critical to call people by the pronouns they identify with and use the terms they feel good about regarding their body. The primary reason it’s important is that it honors that person’s dignity. Verbally recognizing a person’s true self shows them that we value them and their identity. And really, it’s not that difficult to use the terms that people prefer for any part of themselves. Any person is going to have certain verbiage that makes them feel more comfortable and be seen for who they are, not just the folks who are trans. Adapting to my partner’s verbiage was a simple means of showing him respect and honoring him as a human being.
As a cis-woman, I am lucky to have a partner who thoroughly understands the ways in which gender affects the way people are treated socially. He lived it. His perspective has changed the way I think and feel about how differently men and woman are stereotyped all the time. For example, when Mac was socially identified as a woman, he could stop and talk to kids on the street, being friendly and simply enjoying being around kids. When he transitioned, he couldn’t do that anymore. Society is afraid of men, who are not with their own kids, talking to children. The fact is, most molestation has been caused by white men and people don’t know he was born with a vagina. He also notices that his perceived gender incites a fear response – for instance, when he’s walking behind women on the street. When he was considered female, these things never happened.
On the other side of things, Mac gets treated with more respect by other men since his transition. He is listened to over women. People offer to seat him before women or people of color in restaurants, making it obvious that as a well-dressed white guy, society will go out of its way to put him first.
These are only a few examples of the ways in which being with a trans man has helped me to understand privilege. And the need for representation of all the marginalized communities at the table, all the tables. Mac’s purpose in this life has been to bring awareness of these things. That it is not okay to have such a majority of rich white guys in power over the people that he is treated better simply because he looks like he’s one of them.
Being in love with a trans guy has opened my mind, heart, and my taste buds, apparently. It has been a wild ride at times, especially while we raise a cis-straight son alongside the breaking down of the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, the binary gender structure, and all while fighting for equity and equality for all people. And it has been the best ride of my life!
Dawn Celeste McGregor is a Writer and Expansion Coach. Contact Dawn Celeste at her website, expansiveconnections.com or Expansive Living on Facebook.