The great Andrew Klavan directs our attention to this old story at EverydayFeminism, which we’ll pick up in the middle after this headline:
. . . Imagine the seismic shift in my identity then when Amy sat down one night after a therapy session and told me that she was transgender.
To be fair, this wasn’t a complete shock to me. She had struggled for years being uncomfortable in her own skin. She constantly got called “sir” in public, which didn’t faze her at all. What bothered her was when people corrected themselves, when they broke the illusion. She much preferred people read her as male.
I knew all this, but I had hoped there was some sort of work-around for her gender dysphoria. After all, I am a lesbian. I’m attracted to other women. Women. Not men. But the truth was simple and plain: Amy, in her heart, her mind, her psyche, was male.
No amount of pretending, avoiding or denying (mostly in an effort on her part to save our relationship) was going to change that. Instead, for her efforts, she was spiraling deeper and deeper into depression. And I was living with a shadow of the person I loved.
It turns out that I was the only one here with a decision to make. For Amy, living out the truth had become a life or death matter. I could stay or I could go. But, either way, Amy had begun to transition.
Simon is his name.
What does an almost forty-year-old, out and proud lesbian do when her partner comes out as a transgender male? I don’t really know. I can only tell you what this lesbian chose to do: I chose to stay. I chose to stay because, when I really got honest, if Simon was a boy, he’d always been a boy, whether I’d acknowledged it or not.
I chose to stay because Simon is brave, kind, honest and loving ways in ways that Amy could never quite muster up the openness, the transparency, to be. I chose to stay to honor the family that we created together. I chose to stay because I can’t imagine my life without him.
When I begin to overanalyze what staying with Simon means for my lesbian identity, I get a little panicked. Losing the lesbian label feels a bit like losing part of myself.
Okay, Simon it is. But isn’t using the old name (“Amy”) and former gender identity something called “deadnaming,” and prohibited by the PC Code? Just try referring to a man formerly known as “Bruce Jenner” and see what happens.
Meanwhile, from Claremont McKenna College Dean of Faculty Peter Uvin (who still hasn’t announced any punishments for the students who blocked Heather Mac Donald’s appearance there in April), this note:
Dear Members of the CMC Community,
I write to inform you of some important news in the life of a wonderful colleague in my office. As of yesterday, Amy Peterson, Assistant to the Dean of Faculty, returned to work as Aithan Peterson and is proud to be the first person in the County of Los Angeles (of whom we are aware) to be legally recognized by the Superior Court of California as nonbinary (neither male nor female).
Aithan’s name is pronounced AY-thun (with the ‘th’ like the ‘th’ in ‘brother’), and the appropriate pronouns for referring to Aithan are they, them, and their. Their email address will remain ———–.
My colleagues and I in the Dean of the Faculty’s Office want to express our support for Aithan, and look forward to continuing to work with them on the business of our Faculty and College.
Excuse me, but I’m going to start drinking heavily now.