It’s a Saturday night and Mum and I are at Blacktown Hoyts. She’s emptying mini packets of contraband Smiths chips from her bag. I pull out the Mars bars that she shoved down my bra in the car. They’re very, very melted.

I think to myself, what kind of self-respecting twenty-two-year-old goes to see a 007 movie with their overbearing mother on a Saturday night? Me, apparently. But the thing is, I have something to tell her, and I don’t know how long I can hold it in.

‘It’s Hard to Explain That Your Partner is Transitioning’

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Xavier* has always been a bit genderqueer. They keep a small stash of dresses, a bag full of chemist-bought makeup, and cross-dress when they know they’ll be in a safe space. We’ve been together for five years, and they’re finally taking preliminary steps toward gender transition.

The first time they broached it seriously, I asked, “well, what are your pronouns?” To which Xavier said and continues to say, “I have no idea,” or “it doesn’t matter to me.” It’s hard to explain that your partner is possibly transitioning when you have no idea what the end result might be. I’m decisive (about everything except what to watch on Netflix), so I didn’t initially understand Xavier’s hesitancy. But at some point, it clicked with me that I’m all too willing to make decisions within norms.

It takes courage to refuse to decide. It takes courage to see what lies between the categories and say, I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I think that’s me. For Xavier, pronouns aren’t important. They want tits, skin as smooth as a dolphin and a kind of femininity their assigned-male body has been denied.

‘Mum, I Have Something to Tell You’

An ad for car insurance plays on the screen and vomit bubbles in my throat.

“Mum, I have something to tell you.”

“What?”

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I clear my throat. “It’s… important. But you need to be kind.”

She turns and looks at me, narrowing her eyes. “You look serious… You’re getting a sex change?” She laughs. I don’t.

Then word vomit. Xavier is seeing a gender counsellor. Xavier might go on hormones. She tells me I need a man. A father for my kids. I remind her that I am bisexual. She tells me she doesn’t get it because Xavier’s only ever dated women. Is he doing it because it’s the “trendy” thing? The James Bond theme starts up, and I have 3 hours to watch a macho British man drink martinis and kill people. I wonder what James Bond would say if he was my Dad.

I drop Mum home after the movie. As I’m about to leave, she cups my hands in hers. I want her to say, I will support you. I love you. Instead, she says, “Darling, you’re as heterosexual as they come.” I cry the whole drive home.

*Names have been changed for privacy.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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