Hi there. My name is Carla.
(pseudonym: Esmeralda Marie)
My wife’s not much of a talker.
Yet, the past few years had been engulfed in more silence than usual. She had shut down, even to me. She sat in front of a computer screen, her face turned to stone; her body always felt like it was holding on for dear life.
Her eyes darted to and fro, and I realized she was frightened. Of what, I could not tell.
I began to assume that perhaps it was me that frightened her. Maybe she realized that taking care of me was too much for her. (I have Cerebral Palsy, so I use a wheelchair to get around).
I had put on weight since my miscarriage and was no longer social as I usually was. We were buried beneath life. Only, we could not put our finger on where the pressure had come from.
Eventually, she started to tell me things.
She told me she felt ugly. She felt like she was disfigured. She was uncomfortable.
She would often tell me how badly she wanted to be the spouse I deserved: a spouse that was capable of giving and receiving intimacy, that wanted to be my friend, a spouse whose flesh did not turn to ash when I touched her.
I awoke on December fifth, 2018, with hope, which was unusual, to be honest.
Actually, it was the day my wife came out to me and told me that she was a transgender woman. This would explain why the ‘man’ I loved all this time was uneasy, unsettled, and absent.
This would explain a lot.
I am not unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ community. I have always been an active ally, and I understood the fear that was associated with coming out. I am supportive of her transition.
Admittedly, though it did take a while for my perception of her to adjust, after realizing she’s still the same person, the fear of losing our marriage de-escalated.
Since coming out to her family, she was told that she would not be able to visit ‘if she had titties’. She was told that she could ‘dress up’ in her room, but that she would never be accepted as a woman. It has not been safe for her to see her siblings.
She has since had to take on three jobs so that we could make ends meet, and family that we both cherish no longer has a relationship with
As her wife, it has also been painful to hear the assumptions about us. It has been assumed that she has had an affair, that she has betrayed me, that she has used me. Of course, this does little to make a tough situation easier to navigate.
I would like to make it transparent that I am not angry at anyone. It is not my objective to point fingers at or to shame anyone. There is enough of that to go around and I don’t intend to spread any more negative feelings surrounding something that has brought so much light back into my wife’s eyes.
I am not suggesting that everyone should be ashamed of themselves for not knowing the proper terminology or etiquette, for not being as loud as me in my support.
What I am saying is that we need to start treating each other as people. All of us. Stop making assumptions; stop living in fear as soon as you can, and be brave enough (and courteous enough) to ask appropriate questions.
As someone in a wheelchair, I am often faced with similar discrimination, including gatekeeping. Therefore,
It is not only about what we identify as. It is not about fighting fire with fire. It is not about the obstacles or about the questions we face, but in the questions we choose to answer and in how we choose to answer them.
God loves all of us. God loves questions because questions lead us closer to him.
Most of us, including myself, feel that there is something wrong with misunderstanding. There is nothing wrong with not knowing; none of us have all the answers.
However, choosing not to do better is our own responsibility. Choosing to remain ignorant even after a human has said,
“Please, try to understand me. Please, call me by my name. Please, love me, because I love you, please acknowledge me as a living, thinking, feeling, human being, because I accept you”,
is a choice we must live with. It is a choice. We all have the right to make them. No one can take your choices away from you, nor should they try to.
By asking you to acknowledge the existence and the validity of transgender human beings, I assure you with all sincerity that I am not trying to change your mind, or your beliefs, or your faith for that matter.
I am asking you to love them.
Love requires acknowledgment and acceptance of the entire person.
Loving the sinner, but hating the sin is an excuse. It is a poor excuse for a person to say, “I love you, but I don’t love all of you“,
or “I’m afraid of what my love for you will do to my image, but I don’t want to be seen as unloving,” so I will say this to avoid fear.
It is simply convenient.
Human existence is not convenient. Stores are.
I am asking you to step out of your comfort zone and into the love zone. I am asking you to lose your life to find it.
Again, I’m not here to change your mind. I realize that no amount of reasoning can change a set mind.
I’m here to lift your mind. If I cannot change it, I can lift it.
My wife has spent every day since 2012, bathing me, clothing me, and loving me despite her own fears, despite her internal struggles. My wife has shown me more love than I have ever been shown in my entire life.
My wife is a transgender woman who has shown me more of what Christ resembles more than anyone I have ever been around in my entire life. She did this by loving me.
She did by this clothing me when I had a bad day and took it out on her. She did this by bathing me when I was too sick to do it myself. She still does today. We have lost everything, but in losing everything we have found joy in recognizing who we really are and what we’re supposed to do with our lives.
So, when someone tells you, or someone you know that they love someone, but their opinions prevent them from doing so wholeheartedly, please tell them of my wife.
Tell them that her existence, and yours, is not and will never be an opinion.