Transgender/Transsexual/Can love overcome?


Hi Mike-
I am writing with a sticky issue.  Just over a year ago I started to have feelings for a girl I'd met at work, who I was swiftly becoming close friends with.  I was in a couple of other relationships at the time, but it was very clear to me that this girl, we'll call her P, was the one I wanted to be with.  I got out of the other relationships, amicably though perhaps a bit quickly, and came to her ready to feel all the feelings and start something real.  Here's where it gets a bit muddy.  I am a born-female trans-identified guy.  I toy with the idea of taking hormones, but I'm not quite ready to out myself as a "he;" "she" doesn't make any sense to me, but for now I've chosen the path of least resistance.  But other than this, I always prefer the male noun, as in "prince" as opposed to "princess."  This girl, P, on the other hand, identifies as straight and never imagined herself with anyone other than a 100% hetero bio-boy.  But somewhere along the line I tripped her circuit, and we started to fall for each other.  The problem, which has been apparent for the past year but only worsens as we get closer, is that my body doesn't sexually arouse her as much or as often as hers does me.  I am so into her and when we have sex it is mutually and extremely pleasurable.  But she has reservations because she doesn't see how legitimate a relationship we could have if she can't trust that our sex could sustain us.  She maintains that she does find me very attractive, but not in the physical way she's felt with boys in the past.  We're at a point of deciding and re-deciding to break up, but can't seem to put our money where our mouths are in terms of not spending most of our time together.  We are upfront about both wanting to spend our lives together, were it not for this issue that seems at once so trivial and yet so extremely important.  I have not-so-secret hopes that something will shift in her, that love will overcome, that she'll figure it out and come around.  She's just as confused as I am, and wishes so much that her attraction to me were straightforward.  But if she hasn't reached any new understanding in a year, is it hopeless to imagine her body's feeling one day matching her mind's?  Do you have any experience with this kind of thing?  Are there resources out there for couples like us?
Thanks for answering, I hope my question was somewhat coherent.

Greetings Red:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I've not had any experiences with women who identify as straight.  A google search revealed that the matter is not uncommon.  Usually I can skim websites that arise from the search to locate 2-3 sites that are informational and are helpful.  Here, there were too many hits that were merely one person asking a generic question as a whole.

The categories or lack thereof make it hard to find someone else's story or experiences out there that provide other perspectives.  Then again you already know that otherwise you would not have written to me.

I've not been in your shoes or your partner's shoes, nor have I met this particular configuration in couples.  I'm sure that there are more folks like you and your gf out in the world, but there are so many relationship permutations that using search terms such as "straight women attracted to genderqueer" does not yield fruitful results. (Please don't be offended by the term genderqueer.  It happens to be an identity that I'm comfortable with for myself although I pass as male 100% of the time).

So here's my limited take on all of the things that you are experiencing.

First and foremost.  Do not feel pressured into transitioning.  No doubt in my mind about that one at all.  There are more than two choices.  It's challenging, but it can be done.  Your experience and identity are valid.  If it becomes uncomfortable for you then I'm sure you'll take a closer look at what's causing the discomfort.

The things that cause you to self-identify as trans-identified guy are being read on some level as masculine/male by P.  They are being read that way because before you she was into nontrans men (other folks call them cisgendered men, but I detest the term).  She's struggling a bit with the physicality. It's possible that she's concerned about being labeled as a lesbian.  For what it's worth one partner is typically more eager for sex than the other.

She does not appear to be focused on now.  She's worried about trusting "that sex could sustain" the relationship.  A significant percentage of long term relationships experience sexual infrequency with some couples having no sex at all. (See and

If you both are interested in spending your lives together, then perhaps it would be useful to help her focus on what is today versus what might be tomorrow. A year seems like a long time, but given the difficulties finding answers and data let alone the questions it really isn't.  If I were you I'd continue to be hopeful that she will find a way to make peace with this.

Normally I'd recommend therapy, but if she goes to someone close-minded then your relationship is at risk.  You gf definitely needs someone that she can confide in to help her get to the bottom of the discomfort.  While that person can be you for much of it the risk of her hurting your feelings may place a chilling effect on her ability to communicate her feelings.

I wish that I could have been more useful than just telling you to hang in there.  I'd encourage you to see if there are any straight women on AllExperts who were attracted to transmen before transition.  Not exactly your situation, but some of their experiences will cover a range/period pre-T that may be insightful.




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Mike Hernandez


I can answer questions that pertain to transition, coming out, dating, surgical options, etc., related to FTMs (female to male) and genderqueer individuals with a masculine gender expression.


I'm FTM who started transition in 1991. I have published articles and have spoken at colleges and universities on being and living as a transgendered individual. I have also presented workshops at a variety of FTM/transgendered conferences including FTM Conference of the Americas (1995-1997), Southern Comfort (late 1990s) Forward Motion (1999), Gender Odyssey (2000, 2004), and Forge (2007). I was one of several organizers of the Forward Motion conference.

Former boardmember of FTM Alliance of Los Angeles, Inc.

"Transgendered Lust " appearing in From the Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond by Morty Diamond (San Francisco: Manic Press, 2004) A contribution to Bears on Bears by Ron Suresha (San Francisco: Alyson Publications, 2002); "Redemption" appearing in Best Lesbian Erotica, ed. Tristan Taormino (San Francisco: Cleis Press 2001); Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica 2 , ed. Tristan Taormino (San Francisco: Cleis Press 2004); originally appearing in Academy: Tales of the Market Place by Laura Antoniou (New York: Mystic Rose Books, 2000); Appearance in Transmen & FTMS: Identities, Bodies, Genders & Sexualities by Jason Cromwell (University of Illinois Press, 1999); "I Am Neither Man Nor Woman" Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue, ed. Leslie Feinberg (Boston: Beacon Press, 1998); "Holding My Breath Under Water" Looking Queer , ed. Dawn Atkins (Boston: Hayworth Press, 1998); "Boundaries: Gender and Transgenderism," The Second Coming , eds. Pat(rick) Califia and Robin Sweeney (San Francisco: Alyson Publications, 1996); and # "Packing, Passing & Pissing," Dagger , eds. Lily Burana, Roxxie, and Linnea Due (San Francisco: Cleis Press, 1994).

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