Transgender, True Love, And Honesty

By Sarahjane Paynter

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“I don’t want to have children because I’m transgender and I think I need to focus on my transition.”  At that moment my heart disappeared deep inside of me, trying to hide away from the reality I was about to face.

The relationship I had with my partner had never been a typical one. First, there was a twenty-five year age gap. We had an open relationship. We also met and became engaged after only a few months, and then a year later we were married.

I had never been a typical person either. I identified my sexuality as a polyamorous bisexual. In my eyes love has no gender or limits. I believe for me it is possible to love more than one person equally and more than one gender.

After I met my partner, none of that was important to me. I was loved by a bright shining light, bringing joy into my life and into my soul. I felt complete and I knew from the moment I met them that we were going to be in each other's lives forever.

The relationship was extremely energetic. We had an exciting sex life, with lots of experimentation. It was some of the best sex I’ve ever had. It would often involve elements of dressing up. I was in tight sexy underwear, they were in feminine outfits, with sparkly heels. We giggled joyfully together whilst taking the time to apply makeup and nail varnish.

We both found a mutual acceptance in each other, creating a safe space where we could explore who we were as people. We both grew and developed because of this.

There were so many things I hadn’t yet experienced in my life. I wanted to travel and see new parts of the world. I wanted to have children. I wanted to build my own business.

My partner, however, was at a different stage. They had four children as well as an established career. Our age gap, which had never been an issue before now, was starting to reveal cracks in our harmony. I also became lost in possibilities and stopped being able to look at what was achievable.

We decided to compromise. We would begin the adoption training. I would focus on building my business and becoming more commercially viable. Then instead of an extended traveling trip, we would spend a month every year visiting somewhere new. We made plans and started our new path.

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I was miserable after a few months.  We had taken a trip to Thailand which had involved us volunteering at a children's home. For the first time I experienced a culture so different from my own. I was humbled by my own privilege and amazed at the Thai ingenuity and joyfulness.

Returning home we immediately went into months of intense adoption training. This was too overwhelming, for both of us. The training revealed elements that were missing for us in our own childhood, invoking deep self-reflection.

For me, life had become an illusion. All my priorities had shifted. Everything that seemed important before felt pointless. It’s hard to talk about someone else's experiences in any situation, but I felt my partner was going through something similar. We were no longer communicating honestly. I lived in denial and pushed forward on with our plans.

Their confession was the shock back into reality I needed. I stopped seeing them and failed to notice their own internal struggle. It was one that had been with them their whole lives. I was angry at first, but that didn’t last long. I had so much respect for their strength and the battles they were about to face. All I wanted was them to find peace.

In turn, they gave me the freedom to be brave and to take on my dreams. To me, that is what love is. Love means sacrificing for one another in the pursuit of what life has planned.

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