After quite a few conversations with trans / queer friends, I've begun to realise something we all deal with to varying degrees which in some ways I can define as a privilege: that there's no socially-defined plan for our lives and our relationships.
If you're a cis het person, whether or not you choose to challenge/ignore it, you will probably be told by media and society generally that your life path looks something like this:
- Get partner of opposite sex
- Date for a while
- Have sexual intercourse with each other
- Move in together
- Get married
- Have children
The specifics may vary, but give or take some details, there's a blueprint for our lives which is more or less mapped out for us, to follow or ignore at our discretion.
Unless you're some combination of trans, non-het & in a relationship with someone of the same gender... or any number of other things.
It depends entirely on the person, of course, but as a trans woman whose dysphoria is bad enough to all but prohibit anything resembling "conventional" sexual intercourse, I find a combination of both elation at suddenly finding no social pressures to conform to this plan exist... and a sense of utter loneliness and decision fatigue considering how little idea I have about what form the relationships in my life will take.
I try to focus on the positives - not everyone is built (physically or emotionally) for monogamous, marriage or child-focused relationships, and if you are in the category capable of such you may go your whole life without second-guessing this assumption.
Which means any category of queer people may find that without that assumption thrust upon is, we're forced to think outside the box and may actually find it easier to develop our own way of functioning.
On a good day... that's my focus. That I get to explore a lot of these ideas - from alternate ways of sexual interaction to polygamy, without feeling I'm breaking any social rules... because the normal rules literally cannot apply to me.
I think of all my friends who're cis/het, but found those assumptions - kids, marriage, traditional sexuality, monogamy - not emotionally useful or possible for them, and consider that in some level it must actually be harder to break from those if you're constantly told "You Must Do Life This Way".
But some days, I can't focus on the positive.
I can think only in terms of numbers, and how I feel in the moment.
Which, sometimes, is bad.
I am a woman who can't bear children.
I am a woman who is exclusively attracted to other women.
I am a woman who has difficulty with her sexuality.
I am a woman who has parts which make people assume things about her which aren't true.
I think of the people I've had feelings for who might have been partners of mine before, but who aren't interested in me now.
I think of the fact that somewhere around (if I'm unlucky and somehow the census stats are true) 97% of Australian women are highly unlikely to be interested in me - more if you discount lesbians who are simply not interested in me sexually because of my genitals.
I think of the fact that I could legally get married to a subset of women - as long I suffered the indignity of being legally referred to as a 'man' at my own wedding, because of the accident of my state of birth and my inability to afford lower surgery.
I think of my hormones and a thousand ads constantly telling me to have kids, even if I can't have them and don't even really want them.
I think of this and it's hard not to find myself crying alone, making the problem worse as I do so.
Some days, I love the feeling of exploring things I never considered before - of not being beholden to any societal relationship strictures... but today isn't that day.