How A Feminist Found Her Sexism

September 27, 2009

On The Issues Magazine: Summer 2009: How A Feminist Found Her Sexism by Helen Boyd seems like a very open and honest self-exploration on topics and issues that people don’t often or don’t often have to challenge… Thanks to KM for the ref to it.

It’s been a surprise to find out what a sexist I really am. I’ve been calling myself a feminist for two decades, and surely was one for the two decades before that.

I’m a woman who found myself with a female husband – the man I married is trans and currently transitioning to living as female in the world. She has been doing so socially for some time and only now has decided to make it official with a name change and all the legal ballyhoo. I’ve been surprised by a lot of aspects of this process, not least of which is our relationship surviving it.

She was always more feminine than me, even when she lived in the world as male
People can’t and don’t just change their sexual orientation because they want or need to, and partners of transgender people are no exception. I can’t magically become a lesbian, no matter how useful that would be. I am seen as one by most other people when I am holding my female spouse’s hand.

If I were categorically heterosexual I wouldn’t have managed this transition at all, which is one of many reasons I think of myself as simply queer.

I never played a heterosexual woman very convincingly, but I tried. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t expect any sexism in my own attitudes about gender in relationships. I was a tomboy growing up. As an adult, I was always a little too forthright and ungiggly for most straight guys. I preferred buying my own dinner and drinks in order to avoid any expectations later in the evening. I didn’t play along, reflecting them at twice their natural size, as Virginia Woolf once so famously put it in A Room of One’s Own. That said, as the woman in a straight relationship, you’re assumed to be the more feminine of the two of you – even if you aren’t.

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