Getting the pronouns right when talking about any other transwoman is easy, peasy lemon squeezy but when it comes to Mr Kimlin I have deep entrenched habits and emotions involved. I’m not ready to have a wife yet. At home it’s easy when Mr Kimlin is Mr Kimlin I call him he and when Amanda is in a dress I call her she. It gets more complicated when he has chosen a halfway house and he’s neither one nor the other.
Today when writing Best Possible Taste: The Grand Reveal I had a dilemma. Steph isn’t ready to call Nick she any more than I was at that stage. She settled for the gender neutral they. All went well until I got to this sentence: At the corners of Nick’s mouth a smile was ghosting and they was fighting a desire to join in. After what felt like a long time she pulled herself together enough to ask, “For goodness sake, Nick, help me up.”
My first natural reaction was to write they were. It sounds right doesn’t it? But that’s because I had never really used they as a singular pronoun for a known and named person or character before. It caused me to pause. After talking to Banana Bug who is entirely comfortable with they as an alternative gender neutral pronoun and reading up online it appears to be a language issue in flux. As a result grammar rules appear to be changing in some quarters. They was vs they were became a
serious issue and it is why Best Possible Taste was late going up tonight.
I have a family member who is intersexed and I know that around one in fifteen hundred babies is born neither entirely male nor female and I know that children have been maimed in the past when they’ve been altered so we can tick a legal gender box. This is as common as people with red hair yet we rarely talk about it.
We need a singular and gender neutral pronoun. The choices in English are it, they or hir (and other similar propositions). Hir and its associates are not yet well known and I’m not yet comfortable with using them plus I struggle to pronounce them. At the stage in the journey Steph is at it's unlikely she is o fay with them yet. The use of it as the pronoun is rude and impersonal. Neither Mr Kimlin nor Nick are objects. I’m left with they.
In Best Possible Taste and Kidology I have taken the decision to use they as a singular pronoun, but also to use it as he/she. Yes they was sounds horrible but the more I’ve written and thought about it they was has become less horrible and I’m warming to it.
I've included a YouTube link to a wonderful documentary about intersexed people that the BBC did called Me, My Sex and I. It's a good starting place.
“You are so strong” are words I have heard several times since telling people that Mr Kimlin is also Amanda.
I am not a strong woman.
It doesn’t feel strong to let someone I love be themselves.
It's far harder to have watched Mr Kimlin go through years of severe depression and not know why.
Closets are cramped. Closets are dark. There is no way I would want any of my loved ones to be stuck in one for even a moment let alone a lifetime. It hurts that Mr Kimlin couldn't have told me years ago. My daughter never experienced one it was a case of “Mum, I like girls more than boys” one day whilst we were out. And now I tease her about girls rather than boys. Seriously, the lovely doctor and nurse that dealt with her broken leg were totally wasted on her.
Mr Kimlin and I have been married nearly fourteen years. He’s a kind, loving husband and dad.
I was first attracted by the long hair, beard and motorcycle...
...then I was I attracted to his ability to bake a cinnamon roll (a man should, in my opinion, be fantastic in the kitchen and better in the bedroom)...
...and then he hit me between the eyes with a gentle personality and reasonable sense of humour. (have I mentioned he has a sexy voice) I've never had to walk on egg shells around him and the only lies he's told me are the ones he told himself.
Many, many times I’ve watched him put himself aside to be my rock or the rock to someone who needed it. When I had my first miscarriage he was there with big strong arms and loving words. I did not go through that alone and every other hump in the road (of which our marriage has faced many of) he’s been there. Right now he’s downstairs whizzing up the soup because I was too tired to finish it. The Kimlin family have experienced laughter, tears and quite a bit of fear over the years but we come through each trial because we’re together. Our children know when they’re in trouble they have a superman to look after them - although Banana Bug is hitting them pesky teenage years where she's less sure about that. (Parents are idiots - right?)
He came out to me because he knows I love him and he trusts me. He trusted me enough to tell me the deepest darkest of his secrets that he’d never been able to tell anyone else. Even now whilst everyone in my world knows about Amanda there are many Mr Kimlin has been unable to tell. To walk away would throw that trust back in his face. I want to be his rock.
Don’t get me wrong our marriage has its issues., not least Mr Kimlin’s allergy to washing dishes (yeah his kitchen action needs some serious work), and there are issues surrounding Mr Kimlin becoming Amanda. Our wise Banana-Bug says what we really need is a week away together as a family to get to know Amanda. She’s almost certainly right, it’s just hard to make it a priority when the finances are so tight.
It’s not strong to want my marriage to work, it’s not strong to want my children to have their dad living with them and it’s not strong to stay. Things will change and we will have to work out the issues we have but that’s a marriage and it’s what husband and wives do.
He has loved me throughout no matter how hard my fibromyalgia has made life and we do have a rather nuts but secure little enclave in our home for our children to grow up. Strong would be to throw that all up in the air and live with the uncertainty that a marriage break up brings to all parties. Mr Kimlin becoming Amanda is just a minor speed bump in an otherwise happy marriage.
This quote is a little cheesy but I found it on Pinterest and it fits here.
I was listening to a wonderful guided meditation in the bath yesterday and was heading off into a peaceful trance when he used the phrase “trance is not an everyday occurrence” only I misheard it as “trans is not an every day occurrence” the phrase made sure I didn’t go any further with the meditation but instead my mind turned its attention to my blog post. Amanda maybe the person transitioning but the whole family is going with her.
I’ve never had an issue with Amanda being a woman. My husband is a great man (woman) and I am very much in love. When I told him not to wear my tights I wasn’t upset but I was unprepared for the consequences of that decision to be completely accepting. It messes with my own head and heart that I can’t completely accept the other woman in our relationship.
When Amanda first started as a woman she was a bimbo and not the kind of woman I would hang out with let alone consider a relationship with. I’ve since learned it was a process she was going through and is still going through. Because I’m not with Amanda full time yet it’s hard to get to know her. She has a habit of avoiding me and only really coming out when I’m away. In my head I know Amanda is Mr Kimlin and they’re the same person but they don’t talk the same way or act the same way and it’s hard to get used to the changes. She’s not the man I married – she’s Amanda and we’re having to get to know each other.
Earlier in the morning I’d woken up and enjoyed a moment of holding my husband. These days every time feels like the last. Those intimate moments with a man that I enjoy. To me then he’s he and I can’t even begin to think of him as she. I’m not gay. In my forty years I’ve only ever found Joan Armatrading attractive in a sexual way. It takes one helluva a woman to want me to take my socks off. I’m going to miss Mr Kimlin if/ when he becomes Amanda full time. And can I ever call her my wife? The children still call her dad no matter what she’s wearing. My use of pronouns is still unreliable even though I know the right thing is she.
When Steph Newlove is trying to work out how to be a lesbian when she’s not that’s how I feel. I rather fancy my husband in a silky nightie but in my head in those moments he’s still a man.
In my teen years my mother was hating men and had a relationship with another woman. I loved that woman and still have a lot of affection for her even though I haven’t seen her in over twenty years. But it meant I had to “come out” as straight. There’s a reason the only man I ever took back to meet my mother in those years was obviously gay ;). I’ve had to think about sexuality a lot more than a lot of straight people do and I know I’m not a lesbian.
In the evening I wrote my father’s day card. How will we be impacted that way? Will I have to buy a wife card early during mother’s day? That bit I struggle with because I never wanted a wife. I am a wife and mother and when I married it was to a husband I wanted to father my babies. I ended up addressing the card to Honey Bunch and putting an x-rated message in it but it took me hours to write it and decide how to write it. Normally I'd write a bad poem but I didn't have time to come up with one.
I love Mr Kimlin and will learn to love Amanda but I think part of the problem is she’s never expressed her love for me. It’s always Mr Kimlin who expresses his love. She never kisses me and I always make the first move.
I've shared an appropriate Joan Armatrading song below (I know times and attitudes are changing and moving on but I still love it):
The Kimlin Family