I’m a straight man in love with a straight woman.
When I moved to a new town in Pennsylvania a few years ago, I had no idea what a huge impact it would have on my life.
I knew a few people there, but it’s fair to say my social circle when I first moved wasn’t huge. It wasn’t until a few months later that Ty and I met, via Facebook. I’d seen some of her online videos about being a transgender woman, and while few of my friends had said some nasty things about her, I wanted to get to know the real Ty. So I reached out and sent her a message.
She was very clear about who she was from the beginning, and I thought all I wanted was to be friends – until I started to form some very real romantic feelings for her.
When we began our relationship, I didn’t have too many fears or concerns about the two of us. I always respected her as a person, regardless of her transgender status. But when it came to other people, I was definitely worried about what they might say or think about us as a couple. I knew our relationship would turn the heads of my loved ones, but over time I learned to adopt Ty’s nonchalant attitude to other people’s negativity and criticism of my life choices. After I learned to reject their comments, our relationship became real and strong.
My family always told me they’d love me no matter who I chose to be or who I chose to be with. However, they were still a little skeptical at first. In time, though, they accepted that Ty and I are very happy together, and I know it’s what they want for me now. As for my friends, most of them accept our relationship, praise how strong I’ve become since meeting Ty, and applaud how committed the two of us are to each other.
Like any couple, we have our arguments, but we always bounce back. The downs are mostly when Ty’s feeling self-conscious.I feel bad that I can’t help her, and that’s when we get frustrated with each other. Apart from that, she just gets angry at me when I let the dog come up on the couch!
Being physically intimate together is very different from what I was used to, but through everything, I see her as a woman, emotionally and physically. In time, she may have gender confirmation surgery, but it won’t affect the way I feel about her. I’ll still love her the same, no matter what her anatomy looks like.
We’ve talked about the future of our relationship – marriage, kids – but all of that is a ways down the road. We would love to adopt, because I was adopted myself. Being adopted has made me a lot more accepting of people’s differences. Everyone has their own past and everyone has their own demons. Why discriminate?
I wish more people understood that transgender men and women are people. Everyone has imperfections, whether physical or mental, and because of that we all should be treated fairly. Transgender people know exactly who they are, and nobody should be able to say anything different.
Ty has definitely changed me as a person for the better. I used to party all the time, and was very disconnected from my family. Being in this relationship has helped me see there are people out there who’ve had it a lot harder than I ever did. It honestly turned my whole life around.
Today I have a good job, stability, and a love I never thought possible, although I do feel that certain people think of me differently now. Some may want to label me as gay or bisexual, and while I have no problem with being gay or bisexual, it’s not who I am: I’m a straight man in love with a straight woman.
There are so many amazing things about our connection, I love the chemistry in our relationship. Never in my life have I felt closer to another person. Even when we were just friends on social media, I fell in love with Ty’s personality. Everything feels different with her, and I love it. I love that she’s so feminine. I love her voice, her appearance, the way she carries herself, and the person she is.
If you feel a connection with someone, you shouldn’t second-guess it simply because they’re different. Choose to value them as a person. If I’d chosen to look the other way, I never would have met Ty, and I never would have known just how much of a difference one person could make in my life.
If you’d like to know more about the transgender community, head to transawareness.org.
Comment: Would you date someone who was transgender?
Nate lives in Pennsylvania with his girlfriend, trans vlogger Ty Kowalski, and is a passionate advocate for the LGBT community.