With Mr. E. letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak, there are ways in which we wish to gently integrate a bit of LGBTQA+ awareness into some of our posts.
We were dating for almost four years before we tied the knot, and although I had no previous boyfriend with which to compare Mr. E, there are some distinct differences that I notice in how Mr. E. and myself organize our household, as opposed to how some of our friends organize theirs.
Obviously, this is my personal experience with one trans man, my husband. There will be differences between people, so don’t expect to find all or some of these things I consider benefits in all or even some other trans men. Your mileage may vary, and different countries’ socialization will have a big impact as well.
So ye be warned. This is written from a privileged Norwegian perspective, where both paternal and maternal leave is mandatory, and no one looks at you funny for leaving the office at four to pick up your child at the kindergarten, be you a man or woman.
As a child, Mr. E. was socialized as a woman. He is also the oldest sibling, and was raised with that background. His mother taught him to be considerate of his siblings, to cook and take care of them, and also how to clean and take care of the house.
Now this will vary greatly from family to family, as I was also raised and socialized as a woman, but did not receive half the cleaning-focused upbringing Mr. E. did. We were told to occasionally dust and vacuum our rooms, but beyond that, my upbringing mostly focused on the countless hours I spent in the kitchen with my father, cooking, cleaning and prepping food. We also spent a lot of time outside, mowing the lawn, painting the house and picking the bounty.
As a consequence of this, my dear Mr. E. is very conscientious of housework and the traditionally female “invisible” labour. We try to split the housework 50/50, but do have tasks we would rather do. Mr. E. vacuums, I clean the floors. He prefers cleaning the bathroom, I go to town on the kitchen. Mr. E. does most of the cooking at the moment, as I am often tired after a long day at work, but I do try to help when I have the energy.
It works for us, and it works particularly well because we try to give each thing its own spot and clean up after ourselves as we go along. As such, trying to keep a reasonably tidy home makes cleaning sooo much easier!
Comparing it to some of our friends where the male partner doesn’t really see what needs to be done in the house, I’d call that a win. As this post that made its rounds on twitter last week points out, some men just go from being cared for by their mother, to stumbling around and waiting to be taken care of by a girlfriend or wife.
I do think and hope this is a trend which is slowly shifting towards more labour sharing, but women still do a disproportionate amount of housework in heterosexual relationships in addition to full time work, on average. Depressingly, a large proportion of queer couples follow similar entrenched gender roles.
This is both a factor of Mr. E’s upbringing, but also a remnant of his last relationship. There were some communication challenges in Mr. E’s previous serious relationship, which has made him hyper-focused on solving any hiccup when it shows up.
I have to admit, I am not as good at this as he is. But practice, persistence and attempting to bring up issues with a neutral voice has gifted us a relationship where we feel comfortable bringing up what is on our mind. I would never venture to assume all queer relationships are like this, it does take a lot of work. But I do believe that Mr. E’s past has made it easier for him to see both sides of the issue.
Obviously, we are not without fault in communication, and we are not immune to having a bad day. I am particularly bad at receiving criticism, and will often regress into myself for a bit before I am able to come out and talk about it. But knowing that a healthy relationship takes a conscious effort and continuous work does help on staying aware.
I am putting this last because it is going to be a sore point to a lot of people who might struggle with getting children.
But for the two of us who has made a conscious choice about not wanting to put more children into this world, it is a mental relief that we cannot have an accident or have to face an impossible choice. We simply cannot have biological children together, and if we feel the need to take care of young ones, we are going to adopt or foster children who are already here.
And ours is no exception. This is simply an attempt to shed some light on how our relationship works, and to share awareness about queer lives in general.
Lastly, just because everyone seems to want to know when they learn my partner is trans: The sex is great. No, I’m not going to give you the details unless we’re real close and speak openly about sex to begin with (and I have Mr. E’s consent to share those details with you). Why are you so curious about my husband’s genitalia? Do you want to have sex with him?
If you wouldn’t ask your straight friends, or want to be asked the question you are about to ask, why do you think it is ok? No one is obliged to be your teachable moment.