In my second and third year at Oxford University, I kept a little diary to myself on my BBC Model B computer. It was around the start of my third year, in early October 1994, that, while writing one of my diary entries, I came up with what I called “TQL Theory” (Trans Quasi-Lesbianism) – which was the notion that, as a trans woman, it would be possible for me to have a relationship with a woman where I was able to express myself as a woman myself – and that (at least prior to a medical transition – which I wasn’t contemplating anyway at that stage), I would probably have the greatest chance of falling in love with someone who was bisexual, and should therefore be far less likely to have any issues with my gender.
In 2002, I discovered LiveJournal – an early online social network based around blogging. It was via LiveJournal that I made several friends in the bisexual community – one of whom took part in a body painting event with me in Walsall back in August 2003. She was painted blue, with a rainbow, sun, moon and stars, and I was painted as a yellow devil. After the body painting event, she invited me back to another mutual friend of ours from LiveJournal in Birmingham, where I met a lady from Shrewsbury (Sonia) who I also knew from LiveJournal. The two of us got chatting (with me still in the yellow body paint); I mentioned I was trans, and this turned out not to be a problem for her at all, as she’d had other partners who were trans in the past. We ended up falling in love and getting together.
A year or so later, we moved in together in Shrewsbury; the year after that (in August 2005), we got married. As I hadn’t transitioned by then, we had two ceremonies that day – a church wedding (at Shrewsbury Unitarian Church), where we married legally – and a Pagan handfasting ceremony in our back garden, where we married as wives. It was really important to both of us for us to have a ceremony where we married as wives, even though we weren’t able to do so legally back then – as I was still legally male – and even Civil Partnerships were still a few months away. Even so, Sonia has always seen me as her wife, rather than as her husband, though.
In the end, I didn’t begin my transition until our 7th wedding anniversary – in August 2012 – which was the day I changed my name via deed poll. I’ve now been on hormones nearly 2 years – and am hopefully only 3 or 4 months away from my gender reassignment surgery, which I’m due to have in Brighton. Once that’s out of the way, and I’ve got my Gender Recognition Certificate, we want to have a proper white wedding where we get married legally as wives.
But I just feel so lucky to have met someone who knew about me being trans pretty much from the word go – and who has always loved me for being who I am too. Sonia really is my soulmate – we just work so well together on so many levels – and we both help each other out in so many ways.
Ironically, things could have turned out so very differently though, if I hadn’t had that realisation in my 3rd year at Oxford.
By Ruth Mills (@ruthmills)
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