Transitioning within a relationship

July 24, 2019 7 min read

If you saw the two videos I did for Lustery, the first things you’ll probably notice are that I did them with the same partner, one year apart from each other and that I had genital surgery in between. Since many years it is clear to me and my surroundings that I am a woman who is trans. Getting there was the hardest part of my transition. Therefore, my Vaginoplasty is a detail in the larger process.

I did not consult my partner Snax on my decision about the surgery but she was aware I was going through this process and she was supportive without questioning my motivations (Isn’t she the best?). I have the privilege that it went in a similar way with my other partners and friends (I was selective about who I told). So the surgery has not been an issue for me regarding transitioning while in a relationship. It was rather releasing, it allows me to be more comfortable naked and to enjoy genital contact without feeling ashamed or uncomfortable in my gender identity (most of the time).

Watch Snax & Manon - A more perfect reunion 

Dating and having relationships with other trans people and inter folks is great! I am myself attracted by trans women and trans/non binary folks, if I get turned on by trans folks it means I am hot too right? When I date a trans person, I don’t need to explain but we can process deeper while sharing experiences. And third, we can develop our own sexuality, further than what cis boundaries allow.

My transition took several years, I took small steps through the gender spectrum, slowly searching for my comfort zone.

While going through several gender identities I explored sexuality with different partners (not to devalue masturbation but I focus on relationships now). My sexuality and my identity evolves in parallel. Just like puberty, one has to learn how it works, and learning goes through trying.

I believe this learning works in both directions, finding new sexual acts I enjoy helped me to realise I might be trans and accepting I am trans allows me to try new stuff and to meet the partners who are into it. Sexuality and intimacy are spaces where one can explore in a physical and genuine way, relationships can create spaces where things can shift, where everything is possible (when the relationship is healthy).

Watch Snax & Manon - Red Hot

Having partners while transitioning was so empowering for me, I felt loved, cared for and desired. As a person who is insecure about their gender, taking a step towards my genuine gender expression and feeling that it makes me even more attractive to the ones I love was amazing. My gender was unclear to me for a long time, I deeply knew that I am a woman but my judgemental brain kept telling me it was impossible and I was wrong.

This was confusing for my partners: they might have enjoyed dating a “man in a dress” and be very supportive with that, but then turn away from me when it got clearer to them that I am a woman. I had to hear stuff like “I’m tired of your skirts fantasy, I want to fuck a real man!” or “You’ll always be **deadname** to me, this Manon thing is cute but it’s just a game, I’ll never accept you as a woman”.

So the same partner who was supportive and gave me strength to do one step in transitioning can also give me a hard time when I do another step, this holds me back in the process. Cis partners might not understand what is happening, they can feel abandoned or even tricked. Their identities might have to change too when I transition. It is a process for them as well and if they are not willing to do the work, it might have repercussions on me.

Watch Snax & Manon - A more perfect reunion

Being scared of losing sex appeal is something that holds lots of trans people back. “how am I gonna look like if I start physical transition? Will I pass as a cis woman one day? Who is gonna be into me? Anyone at all?” This fear does not come out of nowhere. After I started taking hormones for example, some folks where not into me any more. But some other folks where and there I could explore a sexuality that is more genuine to me and my gender. Patience teaches me that going my true way allows for more. I think it worth daring some change when one does not feel comfortable where they are at.

Friendships are also relationships though there might be no sex involved. People often use their trans friend to process their transphobia. If you’re cis and you want to support your friends/lovers in transition you need to listen to them and educate yourself rather than over sharing your own feelings. 

When you don’t understand or disagree with what they say, don’t answer right away. Take time to think about it and try to relay on it with your own experiences of discrimination or read articles written by trans folks. If it is still unclear to you, think how you can ask it in a way that does not invalidate their feelings and experiences. Remember you are asking for support and acknowledge it is work.

Watch Snax & Manon - Red Hot

Transphobia and especially when it’s combined with misogyny is very deep and it can take time to understand and deconstruct it. Just like me, my friends and partners had to learn what it is. In a relationship where one shares almost everything with their partner, the two people have to do the work together. Structural discrimination needs to be acknowledged rather than experienced by only one of the partners.

For example: I have been dating a cis woman who constantly did not see the daily micro-aggressions I was the target of as a trans person. She did not accept my non-binary gender and assumed I benefit of male privileges and would say I’m just capricious and complaining for nothing as she is the one who suffer from sexism. While I was constantly laughed at and bullied. This made my identity and my struggle invisible. And since I loved her, I internalized a lot of her shit, undervalued myself and felt I was fake and abusive. If a cis person is not ready to see transphobia where it is, if they are not ready to listen to you and take it seriously, it’s toxic.

Watch Snax & Manon - A more perfect reunion

Flirting as a trans person is a skill. I often feel like I’m either a great curiosity on the dating market or a fake that one does not wanna get tricked by. The way people see me changed quickly and people see me in different ways. From one minute to the next I can be validated in a very sexy way and then misgendered. This is very confusing and makes it hard for me to screen people who desire me. Are they into what I represent as a trans gurl or do they just see a cute person they wanna get closer to? Do they have expectations about my body or look for sex in a way that will make me safe and comfortable?

Folks who are into me are automatically into trans woman, period. Maybe they don’t know that, maybe they are ashamed of it and try to hide it but they are into girls! The question is whether they are able to get their shit together and not put it on me.

Manon Praline
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