Brett and Trey teach us a bit about what real love is after Trey comes out.
It was the first week of holidays and it was 6:30 in the morning. I was sitting on the edge of my bed getting ready for my shower. I’d be heading over to my boyfriend’s in less than an hour. I never thought this day would ever arrive and neither did he. I was so happy for him. When I called his mom as soon as I woke up, she said he was nervous, and anxious, and worried, but he couldn’t be happier. It seemed so crazy to finally say it, but in just a couple of hours, the love of my life would be going in for top surgery.
I met Trey almost seven years ago during my first week of high school. Being a five foot nothing little gay boy wasn’t making me the most confident kid walking to school that first morning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m out and proud, and don’t give a rat’s ass who likes it or doesn’t like it, but still. It was high school you know, the big kids school. The one where the losers always hang out around the front doors looking all tough and, ‘yeah, uh huh’ cool. Needless to say walking past them was just a bit intimidating. When one of them laughed and pointed out the faggot dwarf … that being me … I instantly went from intimidated to pissed off, and decided, ‘fuck you’. I stood tall, well sorta, stared him down, and strolled into the school like I owned it. I found my locker, got my stuff, and strutted off to my first class.
On the way to my second class I saw a big poster for the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. My first thought was, ‘yeah, how cool is that?’ They were having their first meeting of the term on Wednesday at 3:40 right after last class. After the incident on the front steps, I obviously felt that having some allies wouldn’t hurt, so there was no way I was going to miss this. I couldn’t wait for Wednesday’s classes to end, and when they finally did I almost ran to the meeting room.
There were already like twenty people there when I opened the door. As I glanced around, one of the guys really stood out to me. First, he was short, like maybe 5’3, second, he had dark curly hair, third, he was pretty darn cute, and fourth, he looked a little bit vulnerable. He was kinda standing off to the side by himself, and when he sat down, he sat in the last row of chairs, away from everyone else.
Now being the shy quiet person I am, I walked straight over to where he was sitting, sat down beside him, and said, “Hi, I’m Brett, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Trey,” he responded quietly.
Yeah, I know, as hard as it was to believe, he seemed shyer and quieter than me. Apparently it was up to me to start a conversation, and keep it going, and I did just that. By the time the meeting started, I knew he was fifteen, a freshman like me, liked English, hated Math, lived five blocks from me, left for school at 8:15 every morning, had a golden retriever, loved chocolate, and spent most of his time alone. That last one I was of course immediately planning on changing.
After the meeting, it only made sense that we walk home together, and since we passed his house first, it only made sense that I should get to meet his dog Niki. His mom seemed quite pleased to meet me, and offered us a glass of milk and a plate full of still warm chocolate chip cookies. We had a nice little visit. Trey stayed pretty quiet and was hard to read, but I’m pretty sure his mom liked me and Niki thought I was totally cool.
I’m not sure why, but Thursday morning I left for school fifteen minutes early, and surprise, surprise, Trey was just coming down his front walk as I was approaching his house. When he saw me he just shook his head. Unfortunately the walk to school was pretty quiet. He didn’t volunteer anything and all he did was respond to my questions, so apparently this whole ‘getting to know him’ was going to take some effort.
In time though, and in spite of his slightly standoffish quietness, I was able to get him to talk, voluntarily even. I even got him to come over and meet my folks and I got him to come up to my room and play some of my video games. He destroyed me every time. Along with Niki, we went for walks and spent loads of time together. We actually spent a lot of time just chatting about everything and nothing. Of course, chase the stick, was quite often in order. Niki wasn’t always the one who would run and fetch it either. Quite often we got the ‘you threw it, you go get it look’. We hit every ice cream and burger joint in town and I’m surprised we didn’t both gain twenty pounds. And just so you know, Niki has no particular preference when it comes to ice cream flavours. The only thing I couldn’t persuade Trey to do was go swimming, not even on the hottest days. I had no trouble persuading Niki though.
As time passed we seemed to be becoming good friends, maybe, as I was hoping, even close friends. And neither one of us had to do the whole coming out, I hope you’ll want me as a friend, thing either. That is until I leaned in and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek one afternoon when we were sitting on the bridge in the park. He pulled away and immediately said he had to get home to help his mom, and as he turned to leave, I swear I saw a tear.
For several days he avoided me. He actually missed two days of school. When I stopped by, his mom said he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t see anyone. And even though he was at school, he even missed the GSA meeting. Finally by the end of the week, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood and waited outside the school after last class where he couldn’t see me. I gave him half a block start before I caught up to him.
“Trey, please talk to me,” I pleaded, “Look, I’m sorry I kissed you.”
“Trey please,” I begged, “If you don’t feel the same way, that’s cool. But can’t we still be friends?”
He just stopped and looked at me, tears running down his face.
“That’s the problem,” he said, “I do feel the same way. But it can’t be. If you knew, you’d wouldn’t want anything to do with me.”
“Whoa, wait a minute,” I said, “Nothing is going to make me think any less of you. I love you Trey.”
He just stared at me.
“Did you hear me? I’m in love with you Trey … and I’ll always be in love with you.”
And that’s when the tears started big time. I immediately pulled him into a hug and just held him.
After a couple of assholes honked their horns as they drove by I said, “Look we can’t do this here. Please … can we go somewhere and just talk this out? … Please.”
We broke the hug and just walked quietly to his place. When his mom saw us and the state he was in, she gave me a questioning look and pulled him into her arms.
“It’s okay Mom,” he said, “Brett and I gotta talk. Okay?”
There were tears in her eyes too as she let him go and quietly said, “Yes you do honey,” and he led me to his room.
Once there, he sat on the edge of his bed. I sat right beside him and put my arm around him. Surprisingly, he actually leaned into me.
After a few minutes, he leaned back, turned his head towards me, looked me in the eyes for a few seconds, and barely whispered, “Brett, I’m trans.”
I looked at him for a few seconds as the tears started to flow again. Then I smiled, leaned in and kissed him … on the lips this time.
“I love you,” I said quietly as I pulled back, “I’ll always love you.”
At that he leaned into me again and I hugged him so tight I think he was having trouble breathing.
When he pushed back after a few minutes, he looked me in the eyes again and very tentatively asked, “You know what that means, right?”
And yes, I did know what that meant as I leaned in, kissed him again, gave him a big smile, and said, “It means I’m head over heels in love with a trans guy.”
It took a second or two before I got a smile and some more tears as he leaned into me again.
The door for him to talk was now open, and talk he did. We talked for half the night. Between the tears and the hugs, I learned that, without question, he knew he was a boy his whole life. I learned how he came to hate his body as he got older and realized he wasn’t like the other boys. I learned about the horrors of starting puberty resulting in his coming out to his mom. I learned about her total unquestioning acceptance. I learned about his therapy sessions and having to be declared to have gender identity disorder to start his transition. I learned about his starting T or testosterone a year and a half ago, and the joy of watching his Adam’s apple gradually get bigger and hearing his voice deepen, growing a treasure trail and a bit of a wispy beard, well sorta. I learned about many of his fears. I learned about him feeling heartbroken when he realized he was falling in love with me, especially when my kiss let him know the feeling was mutual.
Why heartbroken? Because he felt it could never happen. Why not? Because he felt I wouldn’t accept his ‘down there,’ despite the changes.
We didn’t come close to covering everything of course, but enough that he knew I knew … and he knew I wasn’t in love with his ‘down there.’ I was in love with him, wanted to be with him, and would always love and want to be with him.
We got seriously hungry at like about 2:30 in the morning and finally came out of his room. Not surprisingly his mom was still up and we got the biggest smile, hugs, and yeah, a few more tears. We got sandwiches, a glass of milk each, cold chocolate chip cookies this time, and then sat and talked as she expressed her undying love for him, and expressed her fears and worries for his safety and happiness.
As we were finally going to bed … and yea, I’d called my mom at like midnight and said I’d be sleeping over … his mom gave him a little nudge and said, “I told you Brett would understand and nothing would change between you two.”
All I can say to that is, it felt like a lot had changed. Maybe it was just cause we both now knew how the other felt, I don’t know, but it felt like we had come to love each other even more, and now, finally, we weren’t going to be afraid to show it.
Trey’s surgery lasted for about three hours. Since he was not particularly big and his surgeon said he had good skin elasticity, the process he had was called periareolar. A circular incision is made around the edge of the areola and a slightly larger ring incision is made around that. The breast tissue is removed and then the skin is pulled tight toward the centre and reattached to the areola.
Of course, I needed to be there and I needed to see him after, even if he was a bit groggy. He stayed in hospital until the next day and after he got out he was a bit tender and sore. The worst part was, in spite of being seriously impatient, having to wait to see the results. We had to wait several days, and when the time came, I will never forget sitting there as he tentatively stood in front of his new bedroom mirror and slowly … very slowly … removed the bandages.
Nor will I forget the look on his face when he saw his chest … the grin … the tears … and the “Holy fuck, it’s flat! It’s flat Brett! Look at it, it’s flat! Holy fuck!”
That look and those words will be the most amazing happenings I will ever witness, and they’ll be embedded in my memory for life. And yes it was flat.
So no more binder, no more avoiding the mirror after a shower, no more self-consciousness when we wanted to get close, and yes … shirt off at the beach … and swimming … but that would have to wait for a bit. We did make it to the beach though, and the grin on his face as he pulled his shirt off and he and Niki charged into the water was almost as big as his reveal grin … almost.
Summer sadly had to end and we moved on to our senior year. I didn’t know it then, but it would be the best. Remember I said he looked vulnerable the first time I saw him? I’m not sure where it went, but he wasn’t anymore. His confidence level was way up. He was elected president of the GSA, and was becoming quite the little activist. He even came out early in the year. I don’t know if it was surprising or not, but it seems no one cared. Well maybe shit-for-brains and a couple of his buddies who didn’t like the faggot dwarf from day one, never mind a trans one, but that’s it. Even the administration and staff were cool. In fact to this day I can hardly believe how supportive they were.
When one of the losers complained to the principal about Trey using the guys washroom to spy on guys, he simply remarked that, since he’d been peeing and pooing in there for nearly three years, it was a ‘whatever’ … so learn to live with it, or grit your teeth and wait till you get home to pee. Actually I think he was worried Trey might actually get a peek and laugh cause he had such a wee willy.
One of Trey’s biggest accomplishments during senior year though was a general assembly in which, with the administration’s help, he brought in a number of expert speakers on being transgender. They talked about all sorts of things including us being supportive, like using the correct pronouns and their chosen name, don’t ask stupid personal questions. They talked about their vulnerability, especially when unsupported and discriminated against, the subsequent high number of suicide attempts and successes, and so on.
Not that the first speakers didn’t all make a big impression on everyone, but the last speaker, a medical researcher from the university, really made an impression. He told us that transgender people appear to be born with brains more similar to the gender they identify as than the one they were assigned physically. He explained how researchers examined a region of the brain that I can’t really remember the name of anymore. I think it was like the BSTc or something. He said on average it’s twice as large and twice as densely populated with cells in men than women and appears to be a good marker of a ‘male’ vs ‘female’ brain. They discovered that male-to-female transgender women had a BSTc resembling that of cisgender women, and that female-to-male transgender men had a BSTc resembling cisgender men. They also said these findings had been corroborated in other studies and studies of other regions of the brain.
By the way, if you’re wondering what cisgender means, it means your brain matches your body parts, and you feel like everything fits … so I’m cis and Trey is trans.
To say that assembly got people thinking would be an understatement. It didn’t end there either as Trey found himself talking to tons of kids and answering tons of questions. For the most part, none of them were stupid or too personal. For a while he had trouble making it to class on time, but he felt like he was making a difference and he loved it. Actually because they knew I was his boyfriend, I was the one who most often got asked questions that were stupid or too personal.
The year did finally end, and I don’t know if I should say, ‘that was it for high school’ or not, because IT was pretty awesome. Trey was even elected prom king and was voted the guy most likely to succeed in life after high school. Yep, my little activist cuddle bunny had made quite an impression.
Actually, he’s still quite impressive, even in university. He’s taking Information Technology and Journalism, so need I say more? Okay I’ll just mention that he’s written some very interesting articles for the university paper. Oh yeah, and he’s even written some articles for the local newspaper and a nationwide magazine. And the good thing … he’s received much more support than criticism, and if nothing else, he’s got people thinking.
Speaking of university, well sort of, along with his mom and doctor he decided to have a hysterectomy and oophorectomy to remove his uterus and ovaries. A lot of things were discussed. Most of the things he never even thought of until his doctor brought them up, but he felt better to be safe than sorry. He was laughing one evening when he mentioned that doctors can be very scary people when they start explaining things to you you’re not sure you ever wanted to know.
One of the things that did make sense though was his testosterone doses could be decreased if he was no longer producing estrogen. Another one the doctor mentioned was failure to practice safe sex, risking accidental pregnancy. That was not an issue for us. Anything vaginal was and is out of the question. And yes we did and do make love … but two-way communication has been a very big part of that. Knowing what he’s comfortable doing, and not comfortable doing is absolutely vital. Without it, the trust he’s given me to physically show my love for him would be irreversibly damaged and that’s not ever gonna happen.
Okay, moving right along, after almost a month of rest, relaxation, and recovery, we were ready for some fun. The big question was what to do.
Did I mention I love that boy? Well I do … I love him beyond words, so after giving it some thought, I decided that a wedding and a honeymoon might be in order.
Remember the tears and grin during his reveal? Well … almost.
Oh yeah, I should mention he said yes.
So we’ll be celebrating the seventh anniversary of the words, “Hi, I’m Brett, it’s nice to meet you,” on the afternoon of our wedding.
Thanks to Colin for editing, prepping, and posting this story for me.
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