I remember the first time I saw Karm. Without getting into details on what he looked like, I got instantly swoony and just felt like I really wanted to talk to him, and every time I did, I was really nervous about saying something stupid or weird. I was already crushing on him big time when someone in class told me that his pronouns were now “he” instead of “she” (which I, in all honesty, should’ve understood because he had already changed his name). I still didn’t get it though. I don’t know why. Maybe I bought into the whole “it’s a phase” thing, who knows?
It wasn’t until he told me that he was going to the gender clinic for the first time that it really hit me - and we’d been dating for a while when that happened. It finally sunk in that this wasn’t something that was gonna happen in 25 years, this was something that was happening right there and then! And what was I to do? I had to figure out if this was something I’d want to be in on or not - and given I had fallen head over heels for this one, I thought “let’s try”.
And try I did. I didn’t understand, however - why did he need to do this? What was the purpose? I tried to understand but it came out as attacking him instead, and we fought a lot. I read everything I could find about trans related topics but the more I read, the less I understood the motivation behind it - now, years later, I’ve come to the conclusion I should’ve reached much earlier: that I can’t, ever, possibly understand WHY. I will never understand (and for someone who can spend hours finding out why a ship sunk in the 1600s, or how gravity works, or how the mind-body-connection operates, this is very frustrating. I have a need to understand EVERYTHING). I was also scared shitless about the changes that were gonna take place. What if he changed his personality? What if he was gonna turn into some macho dudebro? What if I couldn’t deal with the physical changes? And the horrible, horrible thought - what if he would change so much that I couldn’t love him anymore?
I tried to find people to talk to, but there weren’t any. My friends didn’t get it cause they had never been in the same situation as me. Support groups online didn’t work, because they all supported a system of sexist gender roles that I couldn’t get behind. The hospital offered nothing. I’ve had to navigate this by myself. That’s not so reassuring, but it’s the truth.
I think that if I had had someone else to talk to, I wouldn’t have put so much of it on Karm. I felt he was the only one who would be able to explain and answer my questions, but I really think the hospital should provide more resources for partners and family.
I do, however, also think that you should be able to talk to your partner about most things but you need to take care of each other. It’s easy to start a discussion and end up in a fight, so communication skills is really, really important! I’m still a bit in my own shell, I’m far from having perfected to communicate my feelings, but it’s something I continue to work on in the hopes of becoming a lot better at it.
Me and Katla met in a university college a few years back. I changed my name a while before we got to know each other properly, so she got to know me as Karm. The whole name change thing got known in our whole class, so I thought she understood that I was trans. The first time we hooked up we were both a little drunk and Katla called me “she”. I said “It’s HE” and she replied “Whatever, it’s hard!”. I didn’t say anything and tried not to let it bother me. I started therapy to be able to begin a physical transition. We had several arguments about it; I felt attacked when Katla questioned me about why I wanted to do this and I guess she felt sad that I got so defensive and didn’t understand what she was saying. And I didn’t really understand. I felt as if she was questioning my whole being, and how could she do that at this crucial point in my life when I FINALLY started to fell like I was beginning to figure myself out? I just couldn’t see it from her side. Looking back, I understand that it was a selfish way to react. I told her she didn’t have to be there if she didn’t want to, that I would do this by myself. Secretly I considered to not go through with my transition. On the other hand, I knew I had to. All this led to me not telling Katla things and her not telling me things, which in turn lead to us having big arguments that didn’t really solve anything. Hence we went back to both being silent and keeping things to ourselves, thereby creating a pretty flipped out circle of the same shit just happening over and over again. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, that Katla wanted to be in a relationship with a girl and I just couldn’t offer her that. So I kept on telling her that she didn’t have to stay, that she could leave at anytime she wanted if I wasn’t good enough. She kept on telling me that she wanted to be with me, but I just couldn’t understand why, when obviously I couldn’t give her what she wanted. I kept everything about my transition to myself because whenever I talked about it I felt I either made her sad or that I got attacked. Katla felt left out, of course.
I offered her to come with me to one of my doctors appointments, in order to make her more a part of what was happening. Big mistake. My doctor was way too basic and just kept saying “many couples break up” and “this is what happens when you take testosterone”. As if we didn’t know both these things already. So we both kept our mouths shut and didn’t really talk about things. My therapy sessions went on. We eventually got a little better at talking to each other, but it was still not good communication. I got sad when she told me how she felt about my possible body changes, she got sad when I got sad… Sometimes it felt as if this relationship was doomed to fail. I tried talking to friends about it, but they could only see my side of things so they weren’t really any help.
We tried to set up rules on how to talk about things. That didn’t really help either, because it only lead to Katla not getting to really speak her mind. When she did, I just got really sad, even though she felt better for talking about it.
Communication is where we failed in the beginning and I am pretty sure many of you reading this might recognize this situation. And communicating is not easy when it comes to these things, but it sure is the foundation.
Sorry for not posting anything in a while, life is life, unfortunately, and that makes it busy. Hold on though, two posts are coming up!
For all my talk about being available helping people about dating when they’re trans* I thought I could compile this list.
Trans* people need support and so do many partners of trans* people for various reasons. So here is a list of blogs, youtube channels and forums that I know of that can help partners of trans* people. If you know of any other ones let me know and I’ll add it and credit you.
This is a blog for SOFFAS (Significant Others, Friends, Families and Allies) and people in transition.
It is written by a trans man, Karm, and his girlfriend, Katla. We are based in Scandinavia, where the process of transitioning is very different from the U.S.A, where most blogs like this one is based. However, the process itself will not be the main focus of this blog. The aim of this blog is to provide an alternative to what we have seen so far, which is a community where SOFFA’s are expected to be unconditionally supportive of the person in transition and push their own concerns aside. We find this problematic since it leaves very little room for constructive communication between the people involved.
"Companions" can mean many things and is why this blog will try to include perspectives of friends and families as well.
Feel free to ask us questions! If you want to be anonymous, that’s fine. You can also ask us not to post a question and we’ll respond privately. You can also submit to us as we are not trying to speak for all trans people or all SOFFA’s.