Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I had a fascinating conversation with a friend a few weeks back. She was telling me a story about a lesbian woman, who had recently undergone a sex-change operation (gender reassignment) and had posed with her lesbian lover for a photo shoot. A very dignified one. The interesting part is the question my friend posed. 

"Now that she has undergone the gender reassignment, is she still a lesbian?"

It's a good question. She was with a woman before the op, when they were lesbians. So, what are they now? A straight couple? And if so, how does the lesbian in the equation feel? 

I have to admit, I think I'd feel rather cheated. Being lesbian for me is all about loving women more. It's part of my identity, and its taken a long time to feel comfortable in my womym-lovin'-womyn skin. So yes, for me, I would feel cheated if my partner became a man.

I'm not trying to make light of what is no doubt a very real, and very serious and very agonising situation: I'm just saying that for me, I don't know if I could go through everything I have; come out as a lesbian with another woman as my partner, and then have to explain to the folks that I've gone straight, and so has my partner.

I feel equally sorry for the woman who marries the guy, and identifies as a straight person, only to discover that he actually wants to be a 'she'. Does this mean the wife is a lesbian? It's complex. I am sure that the partners in these difficult cases are special people, and if they chose to stand by their partner through the gender reassignment, they are no doubt ready for the consequences.

Ultimately, it's a case of live and let live. Each to their own. 

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