Excerpts from “Housewife: Home-remaking in a Transgender Marriage”
This is my story, as a wife and mother, and the chronicle of my husband’s male-to-female transition is not always the centerpiece. Gender confusion exploded and reshaped our family, and this transformation took place within the context of my vital daily work as a housewife. The mundane irony of our reality juxtaposed to the archetype did not escape me.
Our family looked picture-perfect on the outside (and the outside is so important!), while on the inside my world had shattered. As I picked up the pieces, I became more open to unconventional ways of meeting my own and our family’s needs. The ensuing story, which contains the journey of three other romantic relationships, is about my own peace making with gender stereotypes and cultural norms as I sought to hold us all with compassion.
“The house looked so beautiful with all the flowers and candles,” Fred said. “I wish you could have seen it. I felt so full of gratitude and love holding our intentions as I walked through our home to bless it.”
I imagined each of the intentions on our list: to cultivate community, to learn and grow, to live in harmony with each other and the earth, to express creativity with joy . . .
“And I added one more,” he told me shyly.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I added the intention that there would be a space here for me as a woman. To dress and feel myself as one.” He paused nervously as my face fell. “I had to, Kristin. I have to be true to myself, and that means that I’ve got to make a space for this part of me, whatever it is, whatever that means. I don’t understand it. I just know I have to do it.”
SEDA AND I sat beside each other looking across a broad wooden desk at our insurance agent who kept her eyes on the form she was filling out in our stead to request a new life insurance policy. Every frank question she posed required an answer of inscrutable honesty....read more
THE SLOW-MOVING effects of synthetic hormones could not possibly satisfy my partner’s desire to live in a woman’s body now. Daily, he watched his breasts from all angles, trying to determine whether they were actually growing. He wanted to be able to go out as...read more
FRED JOINED A writers group that met once a week. In addition to working on his novel, Fred began to explore his inner feminine side in personal essays. It took courage to share his process with the group and, happily, Fred found that his companions accepted and...read more
I WORE MANY hats trying to keep our household in order through tough economic times. I spent my evenings presenting kitchen shows and my days parenting. Fred had lost his job with the design/build firm that had housed us after the fire and now helped me with Pampered...read more
IN THE AUTUMN, we flew back to Wyoming to visit Fred’s family, and none of them knew our secret. Fred’s brother had been killed in a logging accident two years before, and his sister DeeDee now lived in a care facility after weathering a car accident that left her a...read more
The absolutely charming woodcuts that grace the cover & inside pages of “Housewife: Home-remaking in a transgender marriage” were done by Katy Collier. For a look at her art please visit: http://www.katycollier.net/ Some of the beautiful art from the...read more
The boys and I return to a loving Seda, fat cats, and a very happy dog. Seda has readied the garden and, within three days, the boys and I planted tomatoes, brassicas, lettuce, winter and summer squash, garlic, and beans. I work for a second summer at the NVC Family...read more
Seda designs and gets plans approved for a bedroom, office, and bathroom addition with a private entrance. We break ground together, but it is Trinidad who cannot rest.He is digging the footing for our new foundation as if it must be done within the week. His friends...read more
I discreetly study Seda out of the corner of my eye every morning as we eat breakfast, and I try to see her as the woman she sees herself as.This is not easy. I have to imagine away the beard stubble and the face of the man I fell in love with almost fifteen years...read more
I become a bit crazy about getting a dog.I keep a journal of my experience as if the puppy were a baby in gestation. I read several books on border terriers and order a puppy from a reputable breeder. I save a thousand dollars over the course of a year and throw a...read more
Our new house is in the perfect neighborhood, but it is remarkably isolated.It faces a neighbor’s side yard across the street, and all of our adjacent neighbors’ houses face away from ours.I had not foreseen this isolation.The boys and I are in our front yard often,...read more
There is a Zen-like ornamental garden ten feet from the busy rural highway where we now live in this borrowed house. I do not relax at all when I watch my toddler play here. Two days after the fire, a friend thinks to give me underwear, for which I am grateful. I wear...read more