I've been with my wife for 10 years (married 2). I am a CIS male, and have suspected my partner (female sex, but agender) may be trans for a while now. They share a lot of similarities I've heard people who have come out have. Due to this, I played with the idea of if my partner was male, but confidently do not feel I'll be attracted to being with a guy. My suspicions have now evolved to the likelihood of talking to them about it after they sent me a text, right before their shift, asking if it'll be weird if they used he/him pronouns.

My partner is my best friend and can't imagine life without them. We've talked about our sexual orientation before and I've expressed to them that I am just not attracted to males. If my partner is trans, I'm worried I'll mishandle this. They have a history of depression (it's managed now to where they no longer need therapy and medication), and worry that my reluctance of being with a male may prevent them from coming out and worsen their mental health.

I am supportive of the trans-community, and resources on this subject I felt have not been relevant for a heterosexual male with a possible trans-partner. So how can I talk about this with my wife?

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to IPS! I edited your question to make it more on-topic for IPS. As it is, when can't tell you what you should do over, we can help you talk about this with your partner. In order to improve your question and get better answers, could you tell us what is it exactly you want to say or ask to your partner? We will then be able to tell you how to communicate those things in a tactfully way (as it seems to be what you want)
    – Ael
    Sep 19 '20 at 17:35
  • 5
    When you say your partner might be trans, what do you exactly mean? You seem to already indicate your partner wants to use different pronouns that are different from their birth sex gender, which qualifies them as transgender. Is your concern only about physical transition?
    – Arthur Hv
    Sep 19 '20 at 19:36

When you express they might be closet trans, I actually read, through your partner's behavior, that they certainly would already label themselves so:

  • They claim to be agender
  • They asked you for gendered pronouns different from assigned sex

This alone is enough to claim oneself transgender. But the trans label is vague and regroup actually a lot of movements having in common claiming a different gender than the one assigned at birth.

Similarly, just because your partner asked you to use male pronouns, doesn't mean they will automatically apply for sex reassignment surgery.This survey among self-identified transgender people show that surgery concerns a minority of transgender people. I'm also assuming your partner in all likelihood would certainly not do that without prior discussion.

You're maybe thinking about extremes but at this point your partner is only enquiring about what's acceptable for you, socially speaking. It seems you already made clear you wouldn't like being the sexual partner of somebody male, and I take for granted your partner already knows that, but this doesn't cover verbal interaction. It's possible your partner asks for a role play to determine how confident they would feel in another gender. It's also possible they have plans for transitioning and this is a step for it.

If we're past the point you feel comfortable simply answering the question for what it is, you could simply postpone your answer to a time you are disposed to have this kind of conversation. We had similar problems with my current boyfriend trying to work on a sexual compromise, and the key here was to have a conversation where we would both be honest about our limits.

We could imagine a conversation where you'd be asking how far do they want to go (if they already have plans) and you would answer by how far you would consider accommodating: how far you could go composing with their transgender identity, and when you would prefer the relationship to stop.

If both of you are happy with the picture, then you could go on. Otherwise, you mention not wanting to lose your partner, but never forget that it's possible for you to remain best friends and find someone else for a sexual partner. A relationship shouldn't be a prison. A genuine offer for support even if you can't be inside the couple could also be a valuable asset to someone going through a difficult time.

  • I'm assuming that "would consider supporting" refers to the sexual part, but perhaps make it more explicit? "Supporting" feels like something you could more easily keep doing throughout whatever your partner wants/needs to be happy, but having sex with them and/or keeping the romantic relationship might not. It reads a bit ambiguous now. (The rest of the answer is excellent.)
    – Erik
    Sep 21 '20 at 5:40
  • 1
    @Erik Sometimes my English vocabulary isn't perfect, i think "accomodating" was closer to what I really meant so I edited that way. Thanks for pointing out
    – Arthur Hv
    Sep 21 '20 at 7:07
  • 2
    I added a bit of clarification also, but there must be some ambiguity left because I consider it's to OP to set his own limits obviously.
    – Arthur Hv
    Sep 21 '20 at 7:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.