I don’t think a week goes by in our household where one of us doesn’t bring up something related to our wedding or marriage. There is such an openness about the idea, the plans, and the inevitable, that it shouldn’t be surprising that we get congratulated for our engagement.
But this openness also leads to more questions which is how it should be, because questions lead to answers and finding answers together is the kind of stuff that marriages are built on. So, in one of these long, because the conversations are always long when they’re about this sort of thing, we talked about how what we want out of a wedding and what we want out of our marriage and completely different things. It is an ongoing conversation, but while we figure it out here are some of Steph’s thoughts to me about the whole thing…
I understand that weddings are an industrial complex.
I also understand that a wedding is not a marriage.
I’m working to untangle ‘marriage’ and ‘wedding’ and to figure out which one I actually want.
I think, at the most basic level, it comes down to this:
Wedding = $
Marriage = ❤
And here’s the reality:
We have the love for a marriage.
We do not have the money for a wedding.
At the point that we do get married, it will cost at least a small amount of money. I’d like a ring; as a symbol of our feelings and we’ll need a certificate from the courthouse. And we’ll probably buy our family dinner because they’ll come watch us tie the knot.
But I don’t think either of us wants the industrial complex wedding.
I figure, in a few years’ time, when we’re better off financially, we’ll have a celebration.
Less of a ‘kick start’ and more of a ‘great job- keep going’ party.
But that marriage? I want it to be on our time. Whether we can feed our 150 closest friends and family out of our own pocket or not.
So, at the point that you’re ready to get into specifics and logistics, you let me know.
I’m going to let it go.
I’m going to share with Pinterest and my best friends in the whole world, but I want to let you get there on your own.
I won’t want to be married to you any less, but I’m ready to stop worrying that the way we do it, whatever way that ends up being, is “okay”.
I love you, and I look forward to many more slumber parties. 🙂
As of right now, we’ve not told any of my family members. Two of my friends know and, for now, that suits us well.
I would like for my immediate family, my parents and brother, to know at some point. The number one reason being that it’s possible that they could find out from another source. A gathering of Matt’s family and mine for instance. I want them to find out from us. I want it to happen in a positive environment where they can have the opportunity to ask questions and process however they feel necessary. I don’t think that they’ll react negatively, they’re open and understanding, but it’s a topic that I don’t think they’ve ever had to confront head-on.
I don’t think it’s relevant for my extended family, or even most of my friends to know. I frame it similarly to ethnicity. There are a lot of people who are very proud of their ethnicity. They love to educate others and spread the beauty of their culture. That’s great, but there are plenty of people who identify as an ethnicity, but feel no need to advocate for it. Matt isn’t a trans-advocate (I wouldn’t mind if he was, he just isn’t). He isn’t particularly involved in the trans or LGBT community. There’s no reason to tell people his life story unless he wants to.
Until then, I guess we’ll just keep being stealth 😉
Honestly, dating Matt isn’t a whole lot different from any other dating experience I’ve had. The most unique aspect of our story is that we fell in love in a whirlwind are incredibly (ridiculously) compatible. However, a few trans-related differences:
I can’t tell, just from looking at or touching his crotch, if he’s got a boner.
There are some things that are infinitely funnier. When my period is late and a friend says, “Jeez Steph, what if you’re pregnant!” or when someone says, “Damn, I bet he has a huge cock.”
He understands my body, and how it feels pleasure, very very well.
Acquiring hormones requires therapy. Therapy leads to greater self awareness and emotional stability. Matt is more ‘whole’ than anyone else I’ve ever been with. He’s emotionally equipped to handle stress, confrontation and crisis better than anyone I’ve ever dated.
- Since soy sauce and testosterone don’t jive, I’ve had to adapt my Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry recipe to be soy-free.
Hey, internet. I’m Steph.
I’ve always been an “ally”. People are people and I believe they should be allowed to do what makes them happy (unless that’s killing babies, but you get the point). I helped organize the GSA’s Day of Silence at my high school. I’ve run Minneapolis’ Big Gay Race three years in a row.
My exposure to transfolk and trans-related issues before meeting Matt was absolutely zero. The image in my head of “trans” was incredibly vague, if not non-existent. I’d never met an openly trans person and I’d never even seen pictures of anyone, other than Chaz Bono, who was to my knowledge a transgender individual.
Matt is my boyfriend, but when he told me he was a trans guy our relationship was still quite new.
A few months ago I sent a cute guy a message through an online dating site. We messaged back and forth for a few days before setting up our first date.
Based on my interest in wine and the appeal of an intoxicated first impression we had dinner and drinks. We talked for hours over two flights of wine, two entrees, and bacon covered dessert. Having never smiled so much in my life, I talked him into walking across one of Minneapolis’ many beautiful bridges with me. At one point he snuck his hand in mine. I beamed.
I’d parked right near the restaurant and not wanting to end our date just yet I offered to drive him over to his car (two blocks, ladies and gentlemen… I was so into him). In my car, my beloved Saab, he asked me if he could kiss me. Matt was, and had been all night, unlike any of the other suitors I’d met online. I can’t remember if my response was of course or simply nodding my head, but I drove home that night with butterflies.
The next day or text message conversation was limited compared to those prior. We were both working and in hindsight I’m sure he was frightened to inform me of his “situation”. One glass of wine into the evening, I said (quite crassly, because I’d waited all day for him to ask me first) that we should go on a second date. The next few text messages are hard to recap, so here they are verbatim:
Re-reading that my response seems so calm. Honestly? I was in an absolute panic.
Let’s rewind for a minute…
Throughout my college career I only seriously dated one guy. Let’s call him Brandon. Brandon and I got engaged toward the end of our Junior year. That summer I took a trip to the West Coast to visit a close friend and his newlywed wife. My relationship with Brandon had already been rocky, but seeing the joy my friend and his wife shared created even more doubt. Over and over in my head I assured myself that I deserved to feel the spark that my Oregonian friends had. I gave Brandon back his ring the day I landed in Minnesota. Our breakup was rocky, but I learned a lot about myself and what I was looking for in a partner.
Around the beginning of the new year I opened an account on OkCupid account. I went on dates with 4 or 5 guys and exclusively saw (and broke up with) one other guy before Matt and I started talking. My online experience was similar to that of a lot of women… Meaningful conversations with a few fellas, but an overwhelming number of sexual advances from creeps.
Anyway, the story at hand…
I’m thankful that I had google at my fingertips as Matt came out to me. I immediately googled “trans guy” came across a list of 10 Things Not to Say to a Trans Person:
- “Have you had ‘the operation’?”
- “Which bathroom do you use?”
- “If you combed your hair a certain way, walked a certain way, did ____ a certain way, you would be more masculine/feminine.”
- “When did you decide to become transgender/transsexual?”
- “You pass really well.”
- “I thought you’d be a monster – but you’re just a normal person!”
- “How do you have sex?”
- “I can still see the woman (or the man) in you.”
- “Are you afraid that people will hate you or want to hurt you?”
- “What does being a man (or a woman) mean to you?”
Given the fact that we’d intended to have sex with each other eventually these rules didn’t all apply. I asked him about hormone therapy, top surgery, his transition timeline, his junk–for lack of a better word–and even sex. I asked questions that I would never feel the need to ask a cis-gender male, but I did my best to be (and having asked Matt after-the-fact I believe I succeeded in being) respectful.
A lot of questions came up, but not necessarily all at once and definitely not all that night. Transitioning is a process and so is understanding what it means to date a trans person.
So, I began that process with Matt.
More on that process in part 2…
We are Matt and Steph. Matt is a trans-guy and Steph is a cis-girl.
You may be familiar with Tiff and Dade (ElectricDade on YouTube), a couple who found each other before Dade identified as a man, married as a same-sex-couple, and then went through the transition process when Dade made the decision to become a truer version of himself. As you watch their videos you are given an intimate look into how their relationship dynamic has evolved and adjusted to their new normal, including the start of a beautiful family.
We have both found these videos to be an amazing resource but they never really captured our situation or experiences, and while there are other coupled voices in the trans community, we’ve felt that they haven’t articulation the kind of information that we would have liked to hear.
Matt is a problem solver. If he can’t find a solution, he’ll make one.
We want to expand the resources and discourse for trans folk and their partners. We want to make it easier for people to get information about what it’s like to be in a relationship with a trans person and what it’s like as a trans person in a relationship.
We want to cover everything from sex to communication, meeting the parents to style advice, advice for people new to the game to advice for people years and decades into their transition.
We know what we want to talk about, but this isn’t just about us. We want to provide content that people want to hear about. So, that’s where you come in. We need topics! Help us help you! Email us at MattAndStephShow@gmail.com
Matt and Steph
PS: This is an apology to those that have stumbled over here from Reddit. We had initially posted there asking for topic ideas for a YouTube channel, but after a little bit of procrastination and anxiety on Matt’s part, anonymity won out and thus a faceless blog was born. I will talk more on this topic in a bit, but for now, this apology will have to do. I’m sorry this isn’t a YouTube channel, but it might just be better this way.