It's been an eventful week in the here on the western fringes of Europe; cold, wet, icy, miserable and in the House of Commons, 400 MP's voted in favor of allowing Gay marriage in the UK. For weeks there has been excitement and discussion among my friends about this. Here is one of the last big equality issues for Gay rights and it has attracted a lot of media attention. The news of a successful vote has been greeted with both relief and pride from the Gay community. Most of my friends are really pleased, many of them are gay. One refrain is a very familiar one: 'I'm really really pleased, now all I have to do is find a boyfriend/girlfriend'....What surprised me was hearing these comments, not from those in their late forties/early fifties (my own generation) but from much younger friends. Pause for thought.
Unless you're very cynical, marriage requires commitment, an urge to name someone as your life partner not just a brief fling or a casual affair. Many of the friends who add the tag about the boyfriend seem to have no problem attracting partners, but not long term ones. I see friends who have been through successions of dates but never made it past the starry eyed phase. I've started to wonder these last few weeks whether this is just a Gay Guy problem; no commitment or even a second date, or does it go beyond that?
I'm Trans, I spent my teens and twenties longing for guys I could never have, invariably straight and not likely to be interested in someone who felt like a woman inside but didn't look like one on the outside (or under her clothes). I realize that I came across as an effeminate teen, dreamy, pretty, long wavy brown hair and well chosen stylish clothes. I didn't do sports, I played guitar and sang sweet songs, I loved attention and got it. Friendly adults persuaded me to sing or perform in local clubs and I did, loving the attention and the acceptance. For once people looked past me to the voice, the song, the message and the music. Well, some did. Aged 15 or 16 it's difficult to tell the difference between those who admire you for your art and those who want something else. My Mom was a busy local politician, my father a full time engineer. I got left alone a lot. I also got introduced to all their friends. That's when I found that some guys just want sex. It shouldn't have done, but it came as a shock. There shouldn't really have been any sex either but there was. Being groped and felt up by some guy who wants to take advantage of you isn't nice. It wasn't the best introduction to sex but the worst thing was it centered around you being an exotic toy, not someone to love.
All in all, not a great start for a wannabe girl whose ambition was to be a nurse or a teacher (or even just a Mom) when her friends had decided on careers in science and technology. I began to wonder whether relationships were mainly exotic sex and fun and whether all that romantic stuff was all a myth. My parents stayed together, but I also saw that they played around with others too. I hated that because it shattered my ideal of romantic love. On the other hand all of that unwanted testosterone and sexual feeling within me meant I couldn't help physically responding to sexual advances, even if the guys were older. I hated that too, but usually afterwards. I just felt incredibly used; you don't need to look far before you find it in my songs. In time you end up thinking of love and sex as totally, utterly separate entities.
When I finally came to love, or what I believed was love, it almost took me unawares. It started with a friendship. Someone I'd known for some time and admired; wanted to be her. Envy and admiration turned to respect; a liking for similar things, a parallel attitude to life. Surprisingly it lead to marriage and commitment.... I commit to friends well; I stand by them, look out for them, enjoy their company. It's easy to convince yourself that this is love; the real thing, especially when the alternative is to come out. Sex was awkward but then maybe it is in so many marriages. Ask any woman how she copes in a long term relationship and you'll get a multitude of answers. For me it was faking it.
I say 'what I believed was love'. I have to admit that I never really found it. Not sexual love; love and lovemaking combined; a total package; a synthesis of longing, caring, pleasuring and deep regard. Now, on the verge of completing my transition as a woman I'd like to set out and find it. 'It's a little late isn't it?' One of my friends quipped. 'I mean you've rather missed the boat. The chance of you finding that dream guy at our age is remarkably slim...' After a little reflection I thought about the dream guy. There are quite a few of those around, they're just completely out of reach. But love as I've described it: Is it like a Unicorn?....you'd be extremely lucky to find one.....if it exists....maybe in dreams or for a brief while, probably hopeless...but I'll carry on looking whether or not. Let me know if you find it too :)
Hugs, Robyn-Jane xox