Romance may make for great novels but I never considered myself the romantic type. Cory changed that. After an unexpected sea plane ride, he surprised me with a breathtaking proposal on the San Juan Islands. Cory gave me an assembly of individually wrapped presents gathered underneath a tree. Opening each gift, I saw a different piece of a personally handcrafted ceramic set – plates, bowls, and cups. Each one wrapped with a small note of love and appreciation. When we reached for the final one, he asked if I would marry him.
It was an easy yes. I already knew he was my person.
Our romance began before we met. We were each looking for the somebody who would be our forever partner. We had both written a list of traits that were important to us while vetting this match. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that we each had a list and that they overlapped quite a bit. Items ranged from practical to playful. Some examples include:
I had thought it would take a while to find this soul. Then I met Cory. Not only is he exceedingly gorgeous, but we clicked immediately and talked many nights away- getting to know one another, and falling in love.
My husband Cory is a transgender man which means he was raised as a girl but always knew he was a boy. His gender identity is important because his journey is what helped him become the person he is today— someone I am grateful to know and love. Yet, his transgender identity is simply one piece of a larger tapestry.
The reasons I love him have only expanded over the four years we’ve been married. His service to others inspires me. He makes time daily, no matter what, to play with our two year old daughter. His eyes sparkle as he thinks through a new woodworking, home, or gardening project. Professionally, he is a motivating leader – ensuring that patients get the best care from the rehabilitation team that he manages. Cory and I have built a strong and loving partnership that, we are often told, sets a new gold standard for others.
Cory’s journey as a transgender man has had its challenges though. He has told me that transitioning never ends. Not everyone understands his beginnings or path. Being transgender is a piece of himself that regularly needs to be explained or defended. There are cruel and uneducated people in this world. Strangers have persistently asked inappropriate questions, he has received poor care from incompetent physicians, and he has lost relationships with friends and family as a result of who he is.
Regardless of the difficult times, we are both thankful to have support from much of our family, neighbors, and friends. Our community gives us strength to speak up and stamina to make change. Not everyone has the backing needed to deal with these public and personal confrontations. As a result, we both feel a duty to share our story, to educate the general public, and to fight for equal rights for transgender individuals and families. After all, finding a “social justice advocate” was on both of our lists.