A Eunuch's Love Life

The more personally intimate blog of the love life of an androgynous but not sexless eunuch in this post-modern world

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gender mismatch and "When love goes wrong."

I just found this essay, written in November 2002, shortly after I had split with my last boyfriend, when I was more optimistic about my romantic chances than I have been of late. It was inspired by the title of a forum, "When loves goes wrong."
"When loves goes wrong." Something about genderfluidity... boy meets boygirl.. transperson meets boy, girl, tranny meets anyone, love goes wrong. Or, as the directions they gave to me put it, "when gender becomes fluid, the path to true love becomes slippery."


Well, yes, that's I thought too, maybe it's a lube joke, you know, path to true love, slippery, ho, ho, ho.

Oh, obviously, there's the assumption that love will go wrong whenever the nature of the gender or gender expression of one or either partner is enough to possibly challenge the gender expectations either partner has of themselves and/ or each other... But isn't that every relationship really? Negotiating roles, splitting up tasks, and sometimes compromising one's druthers for the sake of each other? Learning that we aren't quite like what we thought we were? Maybe finding out we're more like our parents that we'd have thought humanly (or humanely) possible?

But that's the nature of a relationship; It teaches more about ourselves, and so a close domestic or romantic relationship will reveal genderfluidity to us. We learn who we are in relation to the other, and negotiate this, perhaps subtly changing to meet the other's expectations or needs, fitting in together in a dance of Yin and Yang.

Who's washing the dishes tonight? Who takes out the garbage? Who changes the sheets?

Who's turn is it to initiate sex? To get the condoms? To fetch the tissues?

In some couples these roles are set, and in some, those tasks, those roles associated with gender, are interchangeable. And they often change with age.

Two bottoms in a bed is only a disaster for the unimaginative. Like the stupid queen who said "I don't understand lesbians. How do they fuck?"

It’s not gender that stops these people experiencing love, it’s lack of imagination.

Gender is a relationship, and we are constantly renegotiating relationships, even if we are just reaffirming our expectations. If you're in a relationship with another consenting adult, then there is a Yin and a Yang, a shifting give and take, I'll take charge of this, you take care of that, I'll play mother, you play daddy, whose turn to cut the roast?

So, what is this about,"when gender turns fluid, love goes wrong". Well, maybe in the fanciful imagination of some transphobe, and but that's about it really, unless we are confusing infatuation with love, perhaps.

Love is not pfft.

It's the most powerful force imaginable to human drive and motivation, it's the glue of human society, it's why we got presents every Christmas as a child, it's why we clean the cat tray, it's why we were out till 7AM at the Taxi Club. In search of it, or in despair of it, or to drown the guilt we feel because of it.

Put your cynicism aside for a moment. Let go of your fear of being vulnerable for just a second. Feel your heart beat. Go on, take your right hand, place it over your heart, and feel it beat. Take a breath in, feeling your heart beat. Let the breath go back out, feeling your heart beat. Breath in and let a smile come, if you feel like it.

There's something wonderful, something magical, about the energy, power or force that makes your heart beat.

That's love.

It's not pfft.

It's the most powerful force in human affairs, and it's not going to "go wrong" just because one partner's pre-existing script is not exactly the same as the real life relationship. I mean, if that is what causes love to go wrong, that wasn't love. It was pfft. Infatuation. Romantic love, not true till-the-end-of-time love.

Sure, romantic love goes wrong for transmen, goes wrong if it's two butches, loves goes wrong for men and women and genderfucking angels all the time, but it's not because of anyone's gender or gender role; It's for the same reasons romantic love goes wrong for any of us.

I couldn't stand his drinking. She couldn't stand my cigarette breath. His politics are just fucked, man. She slept with my sister, dammit. He doesn't love me anymore. You keep interrupting me. He keeps interrupting the Simpsons. We've got nothing in common. I need some time to myself. She's changed too much. He blew the rent, again. I just don't think this is working. It makes her feel bad more than it makes her feel good. The things I like about him, I REALLY like, but the things I can't stand, I REALLY can't stand.

Oh sure, sometimes one partner makes out it's because of the one’s gender. One boyfriend broke up with me because he didn't want his parents working out I was a pre-op tranny girl, but it was OK for his gay flatmate to keep sucking him off because that was secret. But that wasn't about MY gender, it was about HIS expectations, sense of identity, and fear and self loathing. And it wasn't love, it was just expectations about what love should look like. Two sets of expectations that failed to meet.

And then there was the boy who saw me through my sex change, and dumped me before I was allowed to use it. So, was it because maybe the little bit extra had been that important to him? Or, was it because he realised out I had fallen in love with him only after and because he had cared for me through the medical recovery? He didn't break up with me because I'd lost my willy, he broke up with me because his feelings were hurt.

And I've lost trade because they didn't expect me to be a tranny, or affairs have ended when my trans nature became known. But these affairs weren't love. They were desperate attempts to feel love, fear of loneliness, or just the sort of horniness that wears off in twelve hours.

I mean, that can be fun, but it's not love.

Or in longer affairs I've put up with shit because who else would love a tranny like me, and then the shit got too much to put up with, or I dared to raise my expectations of what I deserved. These relationships didn't end because of my gender, they ended because my needs and expectations shifted.

I'm sure it wouldn't take too much effort for me to look back on my relationship disasters with the back of my hand plastered to my forehead, oh it was because I'm a tranny, oh it was because I wasn't a real woman, oh it was because I wasn't busty enough, because I can't have children, oh woe is me. Anyone who's been called too short or too bookish or too vivacious or too different; Well, we can all play victim, and blame our circumstances for our unhappiness. But at least in my case, it was only because I was choosing lousy partners, people who could help me recreate how I felt in my earliest dysfunctional relationships, or maybe weak people because I didn't feel safe with a strong partner. Gender may have been the excuse this love didn't last, but it was never the reason. Immaturity, or differing levels of maturity, had a lot more to do with it.

I mean, sure, when I look back, I can blame the end of some relationships on me being a tranny, but none, not one, since I totally accepted being gender diverse, without expecting to have to apologise for it, without any concession that being trans made me in any way worth less than anyone else. Since I stopped believing shit about myself, I stopped getting shit. Had I then been rejected before for gender reasons, or were my partners just faithfully reflecting back my own insecurities?

Oh look, maybe I'm just an old out-of-touch eunuch, maybe solid stable and matching gender is an important part of love for other people, but it that's not what I see reflected in loving mature relationships. I see my parents over the years shifting their roles, giving ground, finding new ground, growing around each other. I see that in any couple (or threesome, or other combination) that lasts longer than a year or so. And I'm sorry, if you only stay together long enough to pop out a baby had you been heterosexual, that's not love, it's just a breeding behaviour; Enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t think when it ends that it’s true love that you’re lost.

True love doesn't care what gender or sex I am. True love never goes wrong. If you get dumped because you're a tranny, if you were dumped because she would rather be seen with a blond, if you dump him because you're worried about what your mates would think, if he dumps you for being too assertive, or you get dumped because she's really frightened of intimacy, or because he's really frightened of commitment... Well, if it's the first time, it's a shock; You get your heart broken; You move on; You fall in love again. If it's for the umpteenth time, it's a pattern; You do it again, or you get your head fixed.

But remember, with or without a partner, you always have love. It's what makes your heart beat. It's what makes you breath when you're not thinking about breathing. It may not quite be the same as the dizzy intoxicating infatuation of having a fantasy played out when you "fall in love", but the Love that makes your heart beat is much more powerful; It sustains the really important things in life, and you can never really lose it, no more than you could the air that you breathe.

Blessed be.


  • At 10:24 pm, Anonymous Kim said…

    Thanks for posting the article link. I can agree with a lot of it having experiencd my original state as a post pubic youth and man, then as a pre-op 'transsxual' on Oestrogens for 2 years
    (and at a very higeh prescribed dose) then a period of four yars without either Testosterone or Oestrogen (due to a medical oversight which caused serious effects to my overal wellbeing and health - physical, emotional and psychological, then high levels of IVM Testosterone that brought increased mental prowess but also rage and extreme impatience which were enough to have Janet and friends agree I had undergone a personality change - finally a life back on oestrogens.

    What I disagree with are some of the assumptions he makes about differences in cognitive abilities in 'reading' emotion and beauty in people and surroundings. Our (natural) endocrinology is very very idisoyncratic and I know women who are blind to emotions and men who are empathic who have never undergone medical manipulation of their sex hormones. I also found some of the assertions about loss of all body hair to be a well known but false claim. If only it were true - electrolysis would never be needed by M to F TS's. But - nevertheless their is a lot worth thinking over.

    One odd thing is that in the UK and in America some hormone derived from both oestrogens and testosterones are prescribed after castration because they are needed to maintain a level of general health - the role the two primary hormones play whilst greatly variable in our genral psychological, emotional and psysical health is vital so I would suspect the article to be disengenuous in failing to mention what other treatment is prescribed - if only to avoid loss of bone mass with risks of multiple fractures and impaired cognitive funtions that may and often does reduce the quality of the cancer patient who has undergone castration.


  • At 4:10 pm, Anonymous Kim said…

    ON "With or without a partner you always have love ...."

    Your words made me remember the following which I wrote a while back. It seems as though I was thinking similarly.

    Who Am I?

    Is this then a touch? quivering me to a new identity, Flames and ether making a rush for my veins,

    Walt Whitman
    From: Leaves of Grass

    I am different people at different times.

    It is easier to say what I like and what I have done than say who I am now, now of writing this. Defining me is like riding a bicycle. It is easy - until I think about it. That is when accidents occur.

    I have worked in many jobs, taken a degree in English,studied human psychology and religions and I am passionate about music (though I don't play an instrument) I am the third born of an ill-starred union between my father and my mother.Each an archetype of thir sex/gender.

    I have had bouts of depression that shook and shrank me and left me uncertain of everything, except that to be conscious is to know pain, solitude, aloneness and loss. However, it is also to know love, ecstasy and wonder - but these never seem quite as real or permanent as depression, (at least, while one is depressed.)

    Defining the 'self' through consciousness, psychology or actions is only ever going to take any of us so far. Each of us can say, with Whitman

    Agonies are one of my changes of garments;
    I do not ask the wounded person how he feels—I myself become the wounded person;

    Surely this agony, which may, at other times be ecstasy, is empathic. The music that you dissapear into and become - neither music nor self but Knowing; the love which possesses you until another person has your soul and you feel no loss, but rather, gain and expansion, likewise when two hitherto split off parts of onself create love in the act of communion of individuation.

    We are as small as a grain and contain all constellations. You have felt that?

    Do not tell me you have never felt that - that you do not recognise it - it is You! But maybe you turned away out of caution and concern for propriety, or you just weren't aware but neverthless it happened. You are changed and will change again- and again and again and again Endless Becoming!

    We are called to be God - did nobody tell You?

    I tell you now, I promise you, whoever you are and wherever you are and whatever you think and know yourself to be. We are called, you and me and all creation, to be no less than our own divinity realised in the source of which we see only a dim shape and shadows. We are called - All Creation - Even that old rogue Satan sulking in his lake of fire, vainly boasting in his pride and hiding his loss with a brief reign of fraudulent and mediocre majesty. Yet even Satan, unless he is nothing, (for nothing is all that evil is) can become redeemed, can become a part of what we are all a part of. We are Ikons of God - becoming God and Self and bountiful with Bliss.

    Can you become a God a fully realised deity? Will you, man, woman, dare towards divinty and praise God in your own created self?

    For love is not what makes your heart beat but your heart is the beat of primordial beginnings thrum and hum and word sung out, the I of all ages, the everpresent God and You are the word and the word is You. Never doubt it!
    You are love.

    Kim Hatton 2003

    I hope that wasn't overindulgent. It came from a time when I was struggling betwwen genders and other delusions.

  • At 10:37 pm, Anonymous Kim said…

    I know that struggle - still have them from time to time. Overindulgent? I didn't find it so because of the quality of writing - some parts of your narrative that were So similar to mine (In my case it was the woman who had been so supportive and, contrary to my doubts, wanted us to stay together and 'be even closer' that walked out and after three months in a drunk tank, sent me her account of our life and how grotesque I had increasingly become since starting on hormones. I have never felt that sub/dom and S/M stories can come close to the reality of the lives people actually live.


  • At 6:57 pm, Anonymous Kim said…

    "I have never felt that sub/dom and S/M stories can come close to the reality of the lives people actually live." The cruelty of 'everday people' in everyday relationships ..

    What caused you to turn away from self-identifying as a transsexual?

  • At 7:22 pm, Blogger norrie mAy-welby said…

    A transsexual is defined with an assumption of polarised gender, that is, that the body is of the single sex opposite to the real single sex of the brain, therefor the body should be brought into alignment with the single-gendered brain. Whatever my own mix of brain sex is, it aint single gendered. Mentally I'm a mix of straight strong woman and effeminate queen.

    I don't see normalisation as the best route to happiness, another underlying assumption of transsexuality.

    My gender feels much more androgynous than the transsexual "woman trapped in a man's body." Besides, I don't like the idea of being trapped, and I no longer believe that God makes massive blunders like this.

    I am as androgynous now as when I was born, and this is God's divine plan for me.


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