Marco and Sadie met and started dating two and half years ago. However, at the time, Marco was Erica, a woman. I know, I just blew your mind. Luckily, reporter Lilly O'Donnell at VICE talked to the couple about what it's like to welcome a new person into their relationship, and to say goodbye to another.
Erica was angry and tough as a woman, but Marco is a relaxed, calm man. Sadie believes it's because Marco is, "more at peace, and became a more peaceful person." However, the transition has been a little harder on Sadie.
Sadie and Marco both recall occasions when they were out together and a stranger would wonder aloud whether Marco was a man or a woman. That kind of gawking could ruin an evening.
"It was weird," Sadie describes. "I had gotten comfortable being out in public as a lesbian couple, but I wasn't comfortable being out in a visibly trans couple. People stared."
But Sadie got over it, hopefully realizing that some folks don't know how to behave around transgender people, and that other folks don't know how to behave around any people, fucking period. And as Marco progressed with treatments and became more and more in tune with his true gender, he was exhilarated and relieved. However, Sadie, who'd been his emotional rock throughout, started to become anxious.
"As he leveled out, I started acting out." Now that Marco is more comfortable and confident that he's done the right thing, Sadie is confronting her own emotions, seeing a therapist, and acknowledging that the experience has been trying for her too.
Sadie tried visiting support groups, but didn't find they fit her needs.
"I tried to remain open minded, but the conversation was so focused on the financial costs of surgery and the burden felt by our partners. Very little attention was placed on the burden felt by us as partners. The likeminded people I had been looking for were honestly nowhere to be found in this crowd."
Why aren't the therapy support groups focusing on the partner actually focusing on the partner? This is a big change for them, too, and if they've identified as gay or straight their entire lives, it can be even more difficult. It's cool to see a relationship so strong and committed that it can survive something as huge as a gender reassignment. But it is huge, and it's something that needs to be fully explored. Sex is a big part of a relationship, and sexuality is a big part of our lives — to ignore the implications that it has on the other person seems like not attending to a potentially very problematic situation.
Thankfully, Sadie said nuts (ha?) (heh?) (sorry) to the organized support groups and just starting talking to friends and friends of friends who were in similar situations.
"It was nice to hear that people had made it to the other side of what seemed at the time to be this impossible and endless journey."
Support seems super key to long-term success — that, and a strong base of respect, trust, and love in the relationship. It's pretty fucking cool that a person can so be themselves with you that they're able to open up about something so difficult to address in our culture. I hope that if my partner wanted gender reassignment surgery, that I'd be 100% on board, but I'm not sure I would be. Although, who fucking knows, you don't know what you'll do in a situation until you're in it, and I hope I'd be awesome and happy and in love enough to be like, "fuck it, let's do the damn thing." Props to Marco and Sadie, and so much good luck with your rooftop vegetable garden, you g-d adorable hipsters. (Also, Sadie, I want that dress, kthxbye.)
Lesbians No Longer [Vice]