I told her I was looking for a wife on our second date. On our third date, I shared that I was a cross dresser-transgender person.
Their story has been about honesty since the beginning. Read and listen to their incredible story to understand their passion for creating a gospel choir. The story was told over brunch at a DC restaurant. The woman on the left is cisgender, and the woman on the right is transgender. They are a vibrant, lovely married couple who want to do right for others through their LGBT gospel choir.
This is not a journey for everyone.
There are not a lot of couples like us...where the cisgen woman knew going into the relationship. Usually, the spouse tends to kind of spring it on them, and the woman leaves once she finds out. We found that we are kind of unique in that respect. We also have not been able to find a lot of other black couples like us.
Whoever she is on the outside does not change the person that I love on the inside.
You love who you love. When we got married and she hadn’t transitioned yet, that man I married never lied to me, never hurt me, and never cheated me. The woman I am married to now would never lie to me, never hurt me, never cheat on me, and is open to fun. She is a better version of the person. The dude I married was a solid bro, he was a good dude. The woman I am married to is just as phenomenal, she is great. She is more comfortable now than she ever was. I hope I had something to do with it. Her coming out has a lot to do with it, so we don’t mind sharing, as that is part of our story. The gospel choir is a part of her happiness too.
I transitioned earlier this year, and within 60 days I wanted to start a gospel choir because voices were being silenced by my church.
I’ve been a musician all my life. My church was asking people to bring their talents, gifts, and money, but not to bring themselves. The thing that still bothers me is that this church prides itself on bring socially just. They work for social justice issues, and a lot of big names belong to that church. I presented in a suit every Sunday, but I started letting my nails grow. My church fired me, and they said that I was not welcomed when I told them I was transitioning.
We started a gospel choir for anybody who feels like they have been told to stay in the closet. If you are an ally, or if you have children or family members who are struggling, you are welcomed.
You don’t even have to be a singer. We want to make sure you can hold a tune, and then you can join! We have gay men, lesbian women, allies, and transgender women and transmen in the choir. We are working to have resources available at every event. We will provide resources for housing, education, mental health, and medical. We understand that music is just part of a person. We understand the some people may come and sing, but not have a place to sleep at night. We want to be able to provide resources for that. There is a large group of welcoming and affirming churches in the greater DC, Maryland, Virgina area. We started partnering with them to work together!
We’ve been married two and half years.
We met in 1998 when she came here to help her mom found a church. I was one of the founding members. She came here as a spry 23 year old country boy from Omaha. We dated for a little while, and it fizzled out. We don’t know why we stopped dating, but there was no animosity there. We would see each other occasionally at the church. She got married and divorced at that time, and I was single living la vida loca. Then, that same church had its 15 year anniversary, and that is where we reconnected. We were married about a year later.
I told her I was looking for a wife on our second date. On the third date, I shared that I was a cross dresser-transgender person, and I was still figuring it out.
So many women have had the story where they found out afterwards, and then they built trust with the other person on a foundation of lies. I got to that place where I just shared my story on my dates. I had a peace in my spirit. Whoever was good with it, that was fine. Whoever was not good with it, that was fine too.
She told me she liked to dress in women clothes in the beginning.
She would wear women clothes in the house. I thought it was our little thing. She said she wanted to go out dressed, so we started going out at midnight. She was a High School teacher at the time, so she was nervous about seeing students and parents. We started venturing out little by little. Then, I suggested going to a movie. That was our first time going out in the day. That theater has a very special place in our hearts. When she retired from teaching, she had transitioned at home full time. Because it was a journey of discovery for both of us, it never felt like one was ahead of the other in a power position. We literally are on this journey together. She has been amazing, because from day one, she had me try clothes on. She got actively involved, and helped me dress. She told me if I was going to do this, I needed to look right because I was representing her.
In a lot of ways, she is the face of a transgender woman.
If she is going to represent like that, she has to be on point every time she steps out of the house. I would never want her to feel embarrassed about how she looks, and I don’t want to be with someone who wasn’t looking right. If I married a man, I wouldn’t want him to look shabby either.
I started dressing in my mom's clothes when I was 9 years old.
I grew up in the church, so I always thought I was a demon who was going to hell. It was hard. My mom never said anything, but I would think she knew what I was doing. She might have thought my sisters were taking her clothes, too. Who knows. When I was 19, I dressed as a woman for Halloween. My family was laughing and thought it was funny. If they only knew…
I would never want her to be in any situation where she is going to be purposefully disrespected, dehumanized, or treated in a way that is not cordial.
As a married couple, we have the same issues that ever other married couple goes through. What we don’t argue about, is the fact that she is transgender. The choir has us focused on something we are working on together that is bigger than us.
As a transperson, it is always important to start out with being honest about where you are in your journey as early as possible.
Even if you can’t say the word “transgender,” at least share where you are on that continuum, Give the other person a chance to make an honest decision, and not feel tricked later on.
I posted on Facebook that I was married to a transgender woman. Later that afternoon, she came out as a transgender woman on Facebook.
It is not how we necessarily would have done it if we had been thoughtful and planned it. In the end, ripping the band-aid off was much better. We had reached to the point where some people knew and some people didn’t. I was using "he" and "him" around some people, and my "wife," and "spouse" around other people. The differences in how we were presenting externally was starting to cause problems with how we were relating internally. It was stressful.
Some of my friends and family became very nosy and intrusive. People asked me if we were still having sex. People asked me if she was going to have surgery. I was amazed at the level of intrusiveness into our personal lives. Ive learned that it doesn’t have anything to do with us. Since we changed how we present ourselves, I understand it is upon us to help people understand who we are. Just because we are willing to answer questions to help people understand, people need to know there is a limit to how far you can go with questions.
The only way to help people learn and grow, is for them to see me.
I’m 6’4, and over 300 lbs. When I put on my stilettos, there is no sneaking into a room. I felt like God gave me all of this size because he knew I can handle it. Most people only understand the traditional definitions of male and female. How can we expect them to open their mind to something that they have never seen or experienced before?
The Black community is not supportive of the trans community.
They are a conservative community. I have experienced gay black men who discriminate against me. Aren’t they supposed to look out for me? Even while we sit in this restaurant, people have been staring at me. They are trying to figure out what they see. When one of us steps out to be different, will my own community be oppressive?
We have been embraced by a community of people that love and support us unconditionally, and that has been amazing. That truly has touched both of our hearts in a very real way.
The thing is, you do what you know. We both grew up in traditional conservative backgrounds, so we learned to operate in certain ways. Where we are at now, would not be considered mainstream, normal, or traditional. We are just normal people. I am not a superhero, I don’t have special powers. I can’t see through doors. I have bad days, and I have arthritis in my knees sometimes. We are normal, everyday people. You can see transgender, you can see a gay couple, but it doesn’t make you any different. If you take the time to get to know me, all of the transgender stuff goes away. Get beyond your preconceived ideas, and just talk to someone like me.