Image by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/
So…There’s an old cowboy sitting in a bar when a nice looking woman sits down beside him and says, “Wow! Are you a REAL cowboy?”
He says, “Well ma’am, I ride a horse, I herd cattle, I rope cattle… I reckon I’m a real cowboy.” Then he gives her the once over, in only the most not-#MeToo way, and says, “So you like cowboys, do ya?”
She says, “Oh don’t get the wrong idea, I’m a lesbian.”
This joke gets mangled a bit in the telling by the New York Times. In their piece, it is a lesbian shacked up with a pre-surgical trans-woman and they decide they want to have a kid. But they have trouble with the biology. I swear I’m not making this up.
But unlike all young people, young trans people are often making choices that have long-term consequences for their fertility. Which is part of how I, a 32-year-old cisgender lesbian, and Lara, my 33-year-old trans fiancée, came to be in the situation we’re in today: trying to conceive a child, even though Lara transitioned nearly four years ago.
Not long after we met, Lara, who transitioned at the wise old age of 30, told me that with each year she takes estrogen injections, her fertility declines. Like many trans people, Lara wasn’t interested in having children when she transitioned. We got together in May 2015; last fall, she told me it was, essentially, now or never, as she wanted her transition to continue moving forward. By then, the thought of not being able to have my own biological child could make me tear up in front of my happily childless friends, who encouraged me to try if it was something I really wanted.
Here we are, over seven months later: she’s off her hormones; I’m off the pill; we’re engaged and enraged from our respective hormonal shifts. The early stages of this process make me wish for more time; we didn’t realize we wanted children together until we fell in love. If we’d been clairvoyant on our first date, we would’ve decided this over that plate of lukewarm pimento cheese. But we didn’t, and after almost three years together, this is probably our last chance.
And what does that look like:
Over the last several months, I’ve spent evenings watching my fiancée, Lara, inject herself with smaller and smaller doses of estrogen. I’ve watched her stand in front of a mirror, singeing each hair out of her face with a secondhand electrolysis machine.
The return of her testosterone hasn’t resulted in just the resurgence of facial hair; her pants now fit differently, too. My own skin has been plagued by acne since I got off the pill six months ago, and my default states are angry, hungry or sleeping. Such are the perils of trying to have a child the way Lara and I are trying, without in vitro fertilization, or cryogenically frozen sperm. The way fertile cisgender people do: They simply couple up, and boom — a child is born.
Serious question. Absent some medical condition is there a reason a lesbian would be on birth control pills?
This is a free country and people have great leeway to live their lives as they wish so long as they agree to bake the correct cake. But this is nuts. By definition, a woman that wants to have sex with a man is more bisexual than she is homosexual. A guy who pretends he’s a woman but still finds he wants to have conventional (I know that’s a leap of logic, but stay with me) sex with an actual woman isn’t so much a transwoman as he is a guy trying to get laid.
All of this sort of makes you long for the good old days when lesbians trying to have kids didn’t get just freakin weird.
Back to our regularly scheduled entertainment.
He says, “What’s that?”
She says, “It means I like women. In fact, all day long I think about nothing but gorgeous naked women. Kissing them, touching them, having sex with them… anyway, nice meeting you.” And away she goes.
A couple minutes later another woman comes in, sits down next to the old cowboy and says, “Hey, are you a REAL cowboy?”
He says, “Well, ma’am, I used to think I was, but I just found out I’m a Lesbian.”