My wife, the male model.
And speaking of advertisements, my former fiancée did a wee bit of modeling, for a website that focuses on the style and fashion of women like herself — masculine, to put it simply, or what was once called butch, a word that can feel a little 1990s, if not 1960s. To get radical academia about it, she’s genderqueer, or gender-variant, or gender-nonconforming, all of which fall into the roomy transgender basket. The photos were so hot that they wound up in the wedding section of the New York Times.
On our honeymoon, we were misinterpreted as being mother and child not once but twice, despite the fact that I am only 8 years older than she is, and I’m often clocked as being in my late 20s, not my early 40s (not to brag). People were confused by our closeness, our casual intimacy, and our genders — me, slightly bossy and very feminine; her, sweet-cheeked and polite, boyish in a way that makes her look much younger than 34. I thought this was absurd enough to be hilarious, and laughingly went along with it. My partner, however, was rattled. When it happened again, she snapped quickly, “Wife. She’s my wife.”
Because the dictionary doesn’t always cover everything. Michelle Tea would like to introduce you to her (rather hot) new ”husband-wife.”
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In fact, the more I use it, the more ”husband-wife” feels perfect, communicating that I am married to a queer female and honoring the masculinity that in so many ways defines her, is her essence. The more I use it, the less jokey it feels. As a culture, we are in desperate need of third-gender words, pronouns and names, and this need will only grow as increasing numbers of people are able to know themselves as transgender.
A couple of months ago, I got married. It was, in many ways, traditional — I wore an elaborate white dress; my beloved, a tailored suit. I tossed my bouquet. In other ways, it was not — we walked each other down the aisle, hand in hand. After we exchanged our vows and made out before our community, the officiant (a friend who had become an ordained minister via the Internet) gazed down upon us. “I now pronounce you … married!”
We were never going to be pronounced ”man and wife,” my partner and I — firstly, because it’s gross and archaic, and secondly, because my brand-new spouse is not a man.
She’s genderqueer, or gender-variant, or gender-nonconforming, all of which fall into the roomy transgender basket.
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