Smart Sex, Smart Love with Dr Joe Kort
Sarah Scales on love, marriage, and identity with a transitioning partner.
In hopes of helping other couples publicly transition easier, Sarah Scales, a licensed master social worker with The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak, Michigan, shares her story as a pansexual woman married to a trans female.“I came into the relationship knowing my partner was gender fluid,” she begins in this Smart Sex, Smart Love podcast.At first, the relationship was uncomfortable, not because of her partner’s gender fluidity, but because they didn’t know how to identify themselves publicly. Words like “we” became common descriptors as they tried to avoid he/she pronouns. This growing discovery of gender fluidity impacted both partners.“We had a lot of long, intense conversations on how to publicly transition,” Sarah says. “We both were closeted; it was a transition for me, too.” This was a huge challenge for the couple; when do they come out, how do they come out, and when do they stand up and speak and stand down and support? They had many talks about the transitioning process as well as their relationship. Trans partners also have to be mindful there are challenges for cis partners, too, Sarah points out.What is most important, she emphasizes, is to be true to who you are. “Gender wasn’t part of it for me. It was the attraction. Focus less on gender and more on who that person is whom you love,” she believes.“The person in private I fell in love with initially wouldn’t show that side to the world. I loved that person in private, but not so much the person who masked in public. It was stressful for both of us to live the masked life. I saw who she truly was and who she truly could be, but she was afraid to unmask.“For me, it was really powerful when my partner came out. I loved her even more.”Keep your label, Sarah emphasizes. Respect what a person chooses as their label. People choose a label that fits them.“I chose pansexual; I can be attracted to someone regardless of their gender and assigned sex at birth.”And do not out your partner if your partner isn’t ready. Always defer to what the trans person wants.