4 devoted and loving transgender couples who will make your heart melt: ‘Trans love is a revolution’
Trans love stories are the balm this broken world needs.
For Trans Awareness Week, PinkNews spoke to four trans couples about what T4T – that’s trans for trans – means to them, trans joy, and trans love.
Trans love: Coyote and Tee.
Coyote (he/they) and Tee (she/they) are a newly married couple living in Los Angeles. Both students, Tee is also a filmmaker and actress, while Coyote is a photographer and artist. They are currently fundraising for survival and mobility reasons.
Tee: “We first met each other while we both were on TikTok, we were actually really shy about talking about it before because it is probably the most Gen Z thing about us. On the app we both found each other through the explorer page, since at the time we both had pretty popular viral TikTok vids.
It grew into the both of us making little jokes on each other’s pages like ‘Bro, what if we kissed for a Tiktok?’ And making other comments about us teasing over dating.”
Coyote: It wasn’t until I went to go see Tee in California that we were like: this feels so natural to be with one another. I was living in New York before and Tee came out to visit me there as well. Before we dated, I was about to get top surgery so I sent Tee a little care package with a handwritten letter and one of my old bralettes.
It was sweet because I love this exchange within trans communities of us showing up for each other in pivotal points of our transition. Just knowing Tee would hopefully feel cute in it, at a time where I was feeling more comfortable in my body with my surgery.
I love this exchange within trans communities of us showing up for each other.
Tee: After Coyote left Los Angeles, we were separated for like two days, and we were expecting to not see each other for at least a few months. So of course I had to go visit him in New York the week my semester began. It was such a spontaneous decision but that trip was definitely some of the best five days of my life.
It was such a pivotal moment in our relationship that cemented our dedication to each other. After I got back from New York, I knew that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Coyote: I have been in a ton of different types of dynamics with other trans people. I have been in T4T dating relationships since high school. I feel very spoiled in that way. Spoiled with a lot of T4T love.
Tee: I haven’t! I’ve been with trans people in terms of sexual partners but I’ve never dated romantically. Being with Coyote has helped me understand so much about myself and my trans identity, now I feel a T4T relationship is crucial to my transitioning journey.
I think our society conditions people into believing that trans people are these hyper-sexualised beings that are only good for sex. It’s so hard to find any remotely positive representation of a trans person in love in media, let alone a T4T love representation.
It’s so hard to find any remotely positive representation of a trans person in love.
For my whole life, I’ve been groomed to believe that me as a trans woman wasn’t allowed such intimate romantic relationships that cis people have access to. Being with Coyote has been a very important reclamation of my romantic self, and it’s been helping me unlearn so much unhealthy lies I was fed about transgender identities.
Coyote: I only date T4T because I feel as though being with other trans people has made me feel understood and celebrated always. It never feels like I am a living dictionary or a constant educator. Of course, my trans experience isn’t the same as any of the people that I’ve ever been with. However, I feel like there is a mutual respect and understanding of wanting to learn and grow with one another in such a unique way.
Having my wife truly get the struggles and hard times of my days, makes me feel strong that I can easily overcome those feelings and waves of dysphoria/hardship. A big goal of ours is to be trans old people together, and I believe that our transness and coexisting is healing.
Tee: Transness is important in that this relationship has helped me come into my own person and be completely honest with myself. But transness is also not that significant because when I’m with Coyote I am not reminded of my difference. It’s not like our entire conversations revolve around the topic of transgender issues or whatever, but we do talk regularly about everything from dysphoria to trans representation in movies, etc.
But as compared to when I’m put in conversations about trans issues with cis people it feels as if I’m a representative of all trans communities and that my trans identity is THE defining factor of what makes me me. When I’m with Coyote, my trans identity is a shared experience that makes both of us special, it’s never something that gets singled out.
Coyote: Sometimes I wonder what visible queer couple means, as we had someone compliment us on that recently. I think that our queerness is an energy, as our expressions change from time to time. I do think that we are both visibly and really loudly trans. Like visible in the sense that people have individually understood us as trans on the streets and in a bunch of environments. It makes us more cautious when we go on road trips or when we are outside alone.
Being visible online means that we are having a lot of people message us constantly about our impact in their lives. How it has made people feel like love is a possibility. That being loved as a trans person is a possibility. That it isn’t just possible, but it is a reality. It is attainable. I feel like that is important to me to keep making people know what potential is out there for them.
Being loved as a trans person is a possibility.
I had a very dark time in coming out and recognising that I wasn’t just a binary trans person, and in understanding my cultural identity as a two-spirit person. What came out of that discovery and recognition wasn’t dark, it felt like the brightest light to hold with me. It was just the feeling that the world wasn’t capable of truly acknowledging me or making me feel like the world was one I wanted to live in, that was the most difficult and heavy moment.
T4T love saved me, my self love is T4T, my friend love is T4T, my familial love is T4T. It has been an inspiring and motivating force.
I think that being visible with it can bring a lot of questions of people that want to make us digestible. Limiting us down to something that is understandable to them. Or even people that may have a hard time seeing us gush over each other, as we have had people voice jealousy. That is something I will not understand, as I think everyone else has so much love in store for them.
Tee: I haven’t been this visible online until I started seeing Coyote. They have a bigger platform and by featuring me in their work/sharing about our romantic life, it’s been bringing me a lot more attention and visibility ever since.
Being visible in online spaces has allowed both Coyote and I so much. We both use our platforms to put our artistic works out for the world, plug in fundraisers for different people and orgs, etc.
But I do fear that if my platform continues to grow and I do become more visible than now, it might only bring negativity through my way. As you can guess trans women of colour make an easy target for on/offline harassment! I’m just hoping as my visibility increases so does my ability to navigate my way through all the unwanted attention.
Coyote: What I love about trans love is just unconditional encouragement. Where I feel sexy and hot and powerful for myself post-op from top surgery with my wig and makeup. Where my wife doesn’t belittle my worth off of not meeting cis-hetero norms of beauty. Where she tells me I am stunning, beautiful, and handsome, and even though I shake it off and tell her I don’t feel that way in the moment, I know that it is how she feels about me. When I wake up with stubble and scruffy hair, to when I am wearing my heels and wings. I never feel like I am seen for less than who I am.
Tee: Trans love has freed me from the cis normative world we live in.
It’s not a complete liberation from all the judgement and violence from cis people, but the fact that my romantic life is shared with another trans person has allowed me to find shelter in my love.
I love the fact that I can openly discuss how my large hands make me uncomfortable, how much my booty has grown since I started hormones, and why I think all Animorphs books are trans narratives. I love the fact that I will witness Coyote continue to grow both as a person and as an artist.
Trans love has allowed me to accept myself.
I love the fact that Coyote will be here and will continue to witness my growth. I love that trans love has allowed me to accept myself and push myself to be kinder to my journey.
Danny and Grace.
Danny (he/him) and Grace (she/her) Lavery are an author and a professor living together in New York. Every single trans person who PinkNews asked “Who are your favourite T4T couples?” included “Danny and Grace” in their answer.
PinkNews: How, when and where did you two first meet?
Danny: I met Grace on 4 December (God I hope I’ve got the right date!), 2015, almost exactly five years ago now. She had invited me to come speak to one of her graduate classes at Berkeley – I believe they were studying epistolary novels – and I’d written a book that was sort of about epistolary novels and that was sort of epistolary itself, and we were very crazy about one another right away.
I asked her if she wanted to be best friends, and she took me out for drinks afterwards. I had about five hot chocolates in a row, because I was already in recovery, and by strange coincidence Grace was ready to get sober too – within a few weeks we were going to meetings together every day. We wouldn’t start dating for another few years, but we hardly spent a day apart from then on.
Grace: You screwed the pooch right out of the gate. FIRST, it was 2 December, and SECOND, my colleagues’ class was on epistolary fiction, but I managed to snag you for a grad class on Victorian literature.
I prepared by watching every interview you’d ever done, and then felt equal parts dashing and creepy as we set up for the first date, having learned every opinion you’d publicly stated on any relevant matter. You dominated the entire lunch conversation with a bit about some shit movie that was coming out soon – it was love at first sight, if I’m honest.
It was love at first sight, if I’m honest.
What is your life together like – how long have you been together, do you live together, any pets/children/especially good plants?
Danny: We’ve been together since June of 2018 and got married in December 2019. We live together in New York, with several indifferent houseplants, and a black-and-white puppy named Bon-Bon, who is a perfect creature.
There are a few other people in our life, too – Grace has a new lover at present, and there’s another really wonderful couple we both sleep with when time and quarantine restrictions permit. We were monogamous for the first few years, and now we aren’t, and I’ve loved both periods; I’d never considered anything besides monogamy before I transitioned and I was really surprised and delighted to find just how much I’ve enjoyed this.
Even before quarantine, Grace and I spent a lot of time together, but since the pandemic started we’ve really cultivated closeness, so we spend a lot of the day cooking and working and reading side by side.
Grace: And it changes. We are both heavily therapised (I’m training as a psychoanalyst, which means daily analysis for me), and we’re in couples therapy, and we go through different moods.
I think lockdown, as Danny says, really caters to our deeply cuddly-cozy side, but then really makes it more difficult for us to experience our more gregarious and outward-facing sides. The whole thing about non-monogamy still feels quite new, and it’s a beautiful way that we’ve found to love each other even more completely – it feels like giving more to our relationship, rather than splitting it.
Love is like a magic penny, I guess.
How does your transness play into the relationship you have with each other?
Danny: It’s quite bound up in our relationship; we met before either one of us had started to transition, and although Grace had been considering the possibility for years, we ended up going on hormones within just a few months of each other (“Little Lord Rapid-Onset and the Galactic Empress”).
Grace: I wonder. We talk about transness a lot – too much, to be honest; I sometimes find myself wishing I didn’t have to talk or think about it so much. But of course it’s part of my job (I edit Transgender Studies Quarterly) and it’s also just something where I’m still working out new languages.
It really helps to be married to someone who happens to be one of the greatest describers in American literature, I learn a lot about my own experiences.
Is it important to you to be a visible T4T couple? Are there limitations to visibility?
Danny: I certainly like talking about transness as it relates to our relationship, especially with my friends and other trans people, which may qualify as visibility.
I suppose the limitation to visibility is just that – it’s nothing more or less than visibility.
I suppose the limitation to visibility is just that – it’s nothing more or less than visibility. But it’s quite lovely! I’d first come to hear about T4T from other trans people, and other trans couples, so I’m certainly grateful for the visibility of others.
Sometimes the term feels quite sincere, sometimes quite cheeky, sometimes a bit sardonic (I think especially from people who have experienced how quickly T4T can flip from utopian to deeply fraught), sometimes all of the above.
For me, at least, while I love being married to Grace, and I’ve delighted in having trans lovers, it’s not exclusive; I hope my sex life and romantic life always has loads of trans people in it, but as a centrepiece rather than the only element.
Grace: I’m often really moved by an argument Morgan Page makes about the cycle of visibility and backlash that has characterised trans history for a century or more: some trans people become celebrities, and then the increased attention to them leads to often violent backlashes against more vulnerable trans people, especially trans people of colour.
I try to bear that in mind. And then I also know that, when I was a closeted grad student, I wanted – maybe needed – to see trans people in my profession, especially people who were healing and relatively happy. So I think about that, too.
What are your favourite things about trans love?
Danny: The sense of opportunity; the great skin. How committed to hotness everyone is. Group sex. I don’t have to talk to anyone I’m related to anymore.
Grace: Danny already took group sex, right? Oh, I don’t know. Tits?
Precious and Myles.
Precious (she/her) and Myles (they/them) Brady Davis, both LGBT+ rights activists, are an influential trans couple who live in Chicago. Last year, Myles gave birth to the couple’s first baby, Zayn, and made history by being officially recorded as their baby’s dad.
Precious: “Ten years ago, I was working at an LGBTQ Center overseeing youth programming and community outreach, and Myles was looking to get more involved in work with trans youth. A community leader he was close with gave him a list of folks to reach out to and I was on that list.
“He came to my job and introduced himself and I was leary, as I summed him up as another person looking to do a research study with my young people who I was fiercely protective of. At that moment he went on to come out as trans and I was slightly aghast.
“He says it was love at first sight and it took me well over a year to give in to his advances and chivalry before I agreed to go on a first date with him. After that date and attending a conference together we returned home a couple and have been together since.
“Given the fact that we are both Black and trans we understand the unique vulnerabilities each other experiences navigating the world. Having a partner who is trans creates an additional safety net and space for which to support each other. We don’t follow traditional gender roles and give each other the space to shift and move about at any given moment.
Having a partner who is trans creates an additional safety net.
“We didn’t start out our relationship with the intention of being a visible T4T couple. It just so happens that our love story played out in the public eye. But growing up seeing trans folks in relationships and with families would have been inspirational to us both, which is why we shared the growing of our family gracefully with the world.
“We do believe there are limitations on visibility as not all trans folks want to tell their story and should not be expected to. Our focus is on centring the humanity of trans folk and creating a new reality out of a place that was not prescribed for us.
“Our souls are intertwined and connect divinely. We celebrate the ability to love each other openly and that our most important roles now have transitioned from doting partners to loving parents and it is our intention to raise a family that is proud of the diversity we represent.”
We celebrate the ability to love each other openly.
Fox and Owl.
Fox Fisher (they/them) and Owl (they/them) are trans rights campaigners, filmmakers and writers. They co-founded My Genderation, which makes short films for, by and about trans people.
PinkNews: How did you two first meet?
Owl: We first met at a conference hosted by Transgender Europe (TGEU), in Bologna in Italy. I was there as a representative of Trans Iceland, and Fox was there to create a series of film to celebrate 10 years of TGEU.
Fox: Owl was on my hit-list of people to interview during the four day event. On the first night there was a social event and at least three people introduced us to each other at different times. We both just kind of went with it and pretended we were meeting for the first time very time. I could immediately tell that Owl had a sense of humour.
Owl: We really hit it off during that week, and I conveniently and entirely on accident missed my flight back to Iceland, so Fox invited me to come and spend some more time with them in Brighton. I’ve basically been there since!
I conveniently and entirely on accident missed my flight, so Fox invited me to come and spend some more time with them.
What is your life together like?
Fox: We’ve been together for four and a half years now, and within six months of meeting each other Owl had moved to the UK and into my house where we still live together. After a lifetime of being a cat person, I ended up having a puppy before I met Owl called Soldier Blue. Now, we all live happily together in our flat, halfway up a steep hill.
Owl: We also have a large array of amazing houseplants, all of which I am obsessed with. During lockdown I’ve accumulated so many plants and I just can’t stop buying them. I have them hanging from the ceilings, filling all possible shelves, trailing down the walls… Definitely a plant person! We also have a nice outdoor space, where we grow some herbs and more plants.
How does being trans impact your relationship?
Fox: When we met, we were at a trans conference, so being trans had a lot to do with why we were there. Without going into too much detail, when we first got together, we had no clue about specific body parts of each other as we hadn’t even cared to ask. We just knew that we liked each other and went with it, and it was a very freeing experience to be able to do that and not care at all about it.
Owl: In a world that is so obsessed with bodies and confining ourselves and our sexual orientation or experiences, it was so great to just throw that all out the window and just see where it took us. We matched really well together and I think the fact we are trans is an essential part of our relationship. There is a deeper level of understanding that we have, and we never have to explain or justify. We just get it, you know?
Is it important to you to be a visible T4T couple?
Fox: I think that for us being visible is really important. We have the privilege of passing quite easily as a man and a woman in society, despite both being non-binary and very much out and proud about being trans. This is one of the reasons we talk quite openly about our relationship and who we are, because we want to be visible as we can and continue combatting the stereotype of what trans people are supposed to look like or how they express themselves.
Owl: I think for me the most important thing about our relationship is that we’re trans. I think there’s a really prevalent narrative that trans people need to be with cisgender people to achieve some sort of amazing success or acceptance. But I actually find transgender people and the fact they are trans such an attractive thing, and really draws me to people in a more deeper way. I’ve had relationships with both trans and cis people, and I’m definitely solidly in the T4T camp.
I’m definitely solidly in the T4T camp.
Fox: But visibility can of course also be a double-edged sword, as you experience harassment and abuse as a result of being visible. Those of us who are regularly perceived as trans in society also don’t have the privilege of not being visible, and constantly have to deal with the negative aspects of it.
Owl: While we could slip under the radar, we’ve chosen not to in many ways. This means that our relationship has often come under attack from anti-trans voices on social media, where people often wrongly presume I’m a cisgender woman and Fox is a cisgender man who are “pretending” to be non-binary. On the flip side, those who know we’ve medically transitioned, say we are just some heterosexual couple and us transitioning won’t change who we really are.
Fox: This is of course very toxic and completely erases our identities and experiences as queer trans people, who’ve experienced the world in so many different layers, in different identities and expression. So yes, there are definitely limitations and problems with visibility, too.
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What are your favourite things about trans love?
Fox: I think it’s just the simple fact that we get it. We don’t have to explain who we are, or spend any time justifying how we feel. I think our relationship has really allowed us to go beyond the traditional narratives of sexual orientation and gender identity, and just allowed us to connect as two people who are in love.
Owl: I’ve spent so much time being disrespected and constantly facing rejections and questioning about who I am while dating, and it’s so refreshing to be able to let go of all of that, and just be with someone that isn’t held back by all that. I also think that trans love is so important, as we live in a world that is so hostile towards us.
Fox: Trans love is a revolution, and it shows us that we deserve to be loved for who we are, not despite it.
Trans love is a revolution.