Four years ago, as a happy lesbian couple of seven years with a young child, picking out a penis was the last thing I thought we would be doing. It all started with short conversations about gender identity that my partner casually started. "Isn't it interesting that so and so is transitioning from female to male (FTM)?" my partner would ask, or "Why are so many butches identifying now as FTM?" (FTM: female-to-male transsexual: someone who was assigned "female" at birth but who identifies as male.)
Looking back, I realize those conversations were like someone inching out on a frozen lake to see if it would hold up to the weight of what was on top.
As the conversations evolved it became clear that my partner was talking about themself. And as the universe always seems to present the most complex timing possible, we were mid-process in the foster-to-adoption of two of our children. Since adopting as a lesbian couple felt challenging enough, adding a gender transition into the mix seemed unwise. So my partner shelved action for almost a year. But as time went on, it became clear it was going to destroy my partner to have to wait any longer.
Finally, in 2014, his transition started.
I know most people are dying to ask us but are too afraid, embarrassed, or just super polite, so I thought I'd share what has been involved in my husband's FTM transition.
First, there was a full hysterectomy. Then, regular doses of injectable testosterone. Next, there was surgery on the upper part of the body. And lastly, wait for it...we are on the waiting list for a penis.
I can almost sense that everyone who knows us and has watched this all unfold is bubbling over with one question, and it goes something like this, "OMG, WTF?! Are you still a lesbian? How is this for you...how do you feel about a penis entering your life?"
Well to answer that question, I wanted to share a few things I have learned along the way on a journey not too many people get to take. I feel like a freakin' Antarctic explorer on the tundra of gender transformation, and I may as well share the experience.
First of all, we had plenty of penises in our marriage before the transition. They were just detachable and came in fun colors and variable sizes. Over a few tequila shots, most of my straight friends will confess that they actually own more than we do. Penetration is not the sole property of any specific sexual orientation.
So now the penis will just be attached. I have no idea what it will be like, but my husband is like a kid on Christmas with anticipation, and I only hope his expectations are met. I do fear many things about the penis, but none of them have anything to do with the actual phallus.
My partner will be undergoing major surgery. The recovery is grueling and can take many months. There are potential complications, including losing all ability to orgasm. That shit is scary. The penis not so much.
Here's the fun part, though. We get to actually pick out the penis of our dreams: size, girth, everything. We have looked through binders of pictures, and they are surprisingly realistic. Google it, I dare you. Most straight men I know have hang-ups about their penises. Are they big enough? Too big? Do they work the way they want them to? We get to design our ideal penis. It's a wonder what surgeons can do.
And here's something I didn't expect: the sheer number of women who now hit on my husband. Straight women are drawn to him like a moth to a flame. I mean don't get me wrong, he's always been a hottie. But I think the idea of a man who knows all about vaginas because he had one for the first 40-something years of his life makes most women a little hot and bothered at what might be possible.
And what's sexier than a hot thick rod?
A happy human partner.
My husband is happier than he has ever been. He is finally joyful in his body. Being a woman who has struggled with body image and body dysmorphia of my own, I see the level of embodiment he has achieved as enviable and wildly inspiring.
So if a penis increases that for him, I am all in.