Transgender (sometimes) boyfriend is considering MTF surgery

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 2
595 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I would also be concerned about him going back and forth – surgery would result in a fairly permanent/concrete change. I don’t know if this actually applies, but I have heard that some places require evaluations and an indication that the person is consistently living as a specific gender for a period of time before surgery will be approved. (I saw this on a documentary about Canada, and it was a few years ago, so as I say, I don’t know how current it is or how it would apply to non-public health care systems). 

It sounds like you really do care about his well being (though it’s also fine to be concerned about your own future. I think it’s honest of you to recognize that your feeling might change after. As long as you aren’t putting that on him as a threat). And I think it makes sense to have serious discussions about what he intends to do and make sure he is definitely serious before going through with something like this. 

Post # 5
8520 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I would encourage him to seek out a therapist that specializes in nonbinary and transgendered issues. He needs to get HIS feelings sorted (without influence from friends) before he makes a permanent body alteration. I can’t imagine any reputable surgeon would operate without a psych sign off anyways. Perhaps you could go together for a couple sessions? I agree with above that it’s best to be honest that you are fearful you wouldn’t be physically attracted to their new body. 


Post # 6
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

I don’t think it is insensitive to remind your SO that they frequently feels comfortable as the sex they were born and that gender does not need to be either or. Perhaps they are not “trans” so much as they are gender fluid and that is OK. Remind them that you love them and support them and want them to be happy but that you would be a bad girlfriend if you did not advise them to consider a life altering decision. I would also perhaps suggest counseling with a KNOWN LBGTQ+ FRIENDLY counselor to work through things. Maybe for the both of you.

Post # 7
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

No doctor (reputable) will perform this surgery without required counseling beforehand. 

It’s a big decision, and he should know that you support him but that you need him to be certain. Maybe offer to go to a counseling session together. 

Post # 8
2568 posts
Sugar bee

It’s very unlikely that your partner (not sure what their preferred pronoun is?) would be approved for surgery without going through extensive evaluations, as well as being on hormones and other nonsurgical interventions for an extended period of time prior to the surgery.

Expressing concern that they carefully consider the implications before going through with anything permanent is fine. But I certainly would not come at this from the standpoint of “I won’t be attracted to you if you have surgery.” I’d also be very careful about assuming that these are “phases” that they are having. It’s possible that they are conforming to wearing male clothes sometimes because they know you prefer that and they don’t want to lose you, and/or because they are exhausted of the transphobia they experience when presenting as MTF. You do seem a bit dismissive about this as a “phase” and something that is “not a big thing for me.” It sounds like it IS a “big thing” for your partner, to the point that they are considering surgery. That might end your relationship if that’s not something you’re comfortable with (and that is okay). But if that’s the case, it’s important that you let them go rather than trying to change them.

Ultimately, gender identity is a very complicated thing and as someone who loves and wants to support this person, you need to respect whatever decision they come to. I think individual therapy for both of you would be helpful in working through what I’m sure are very complex feelings. 

Post # 9
6674 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Perhaps he doesn’t recognize that there are plenty of people who are gender-fluid, and that’s as legitimate an identity as trans. GenderGender-fluid people are less recognized, but probably more common than trans.

But I agree that he needs to see an LGBTQ friendly counselor in order to get his own feelings sorted. He needs to know, outside of influence from others (even you), who he is and what he wants. 

As for you, you sound amazingly supportive. But he needs to figure out what he needs and wants. It is also absolutely okay if he decides to transition that you can no longer be his/her partner. You have needs and wants, too.

[Note: I’ve used male pronouns because the OP did.]

Post # 10
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2020


Post # 11
1301 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2020

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Janae Kroc (a transgender/gender fluid body builder who’s documentary Transformer is available on Netflix) but she is very open and authentic on IG about how she navigates the world as someone who is gender non-conforming. Her partner is a woman who is exceptionally supportive of her gender expressions.

With that said, if he wants surgery it’s essentially his body, his choice. It’s also your choice as to whether or not you stay with him as a romantic partner if he were to make a full transition. I would suggest going to therapy to process your own feelings about your boyfriends gender fluidity, but you should not attempt to discourage his transition because you would feel less attracted to him. 

Post # 13
8520 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

rainingteadrops :  I would definitely go with your partner again and if they ultimately decide to transition make an appointment by yourself as well. I know I would have a lot of feelings to work through if my husband came out and told me he wanted to transition into a female body. It’s a big change! With complicated feelings you can love and support someone on their journey even if it means you don’t feel comfortable with a romantic or physical relationship anymore. 

Post # 14
342 posts
Helper bee

I would be mainly concerned about your partner’s lack of dysphoria. In general, trans men and women express a deep, deep discomfort in their birth gender. However, you mention that your partner goes through periods of time where he feels like a guy and has no desire to transition. I wonder if his confusion is rooted in him maybe not feeling neither male nor female. He might see his trans friends who have affirmed who they are through their transition and wants to feel the same certainty. It’s also possible that your partner loves you very much and is trying to be the person he thinks you want him to be (a man) and therefore is struggling between staying the same for you and becoming who he or she is meant to be. 

Post # 15
94 posts
Worker bee

So, as other people have mentioned, periods of wearing dresses aren’t necessarily “phases” and your partner could very well be genderfluid or nonbinary in some other way. And that doesn’t necessarily mean surgery will be a complete no-go! One of extended family members has a nonbinary partner whose style is fairly androgynous, but leans towards masculine. They got top surgery to reduce their chest. IDK about any other surgeries they’ve undergone or have planned and it’s none of my business.

I think if you have a conversation with your partner, it should focus on you trying to understand the reasons behind any potential surgeries and how you might be able to help affirm your partner’s gender, whatever that turns out to be.

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