Modern Love: The Anatomy of a Breakup

14 Sep

This week’s Modern Love story in the New York Times, “The Anatomy of  a Breakup,” is a queer woman’s reflection on her relationship with a trans male partner during his transition. The narrator struggles with her own identity-

Now he was part of a gang; he belonged. No more gender blurriness for him. Yet who and what was I?

in such a way that makes her account more of an introspection than a chronicle of a relationship; her partner is a part of the story’s background.

Eventually my partner and I broke up, though it would be dishonest to blame his surgery for our split…After we went our separate ways, new questions arose: What gender was attractive to me? Who would I date? Was I still a lesbian, as I had once decided? Was I attracted strictly to preoperative transgender men? Could I ultimately be straight?

The more I explored dating, the more I felt at odds with the queer community, though I also felt guilty about my failure to sustain love for someone who was transgender.

Now, several years later, my current relationship may seem to be a straight one; my partner is a non-trans man. I’ve found that there’s privilege but also invisibility that comes with passing — an aspect of my life about which I continue to struggle. I will always consider myself queer, recognizing that my sexuality and gender identity resist definition. The conflicting feelings of guilt and relief remain.

But the author, Gili Warsett, is honest, and commendable for sharing a story that can undoubtedly provoke a wide variety of responses in members of the queer community. (Members of the queer community who read the “Modern Love” section of the Times, that is.)


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