Why my spouse's $20 wedding gift made me cry


Guest post by Missy D
Why my spouse's $20 wedding gift made me cry
Missy & Charli being adorable | Photos by Manstrom Photography

The morning of our wedding (featured here!), we were eating room-service breakfast on our hotel balcony overlooking the ocean. In front of this scenic beach view where we were about to marry, we exchanged our wedding gifts to each other. I gave my spouse-to-be an Apple watch; I received a $20 t-shirt. My eyes got watery when I saw the shirt, and I couldn't help but cry in front of my fiancé. Fortunately, they were happy tears.

Why my spouse's $20 wedding gift made me cry
Wearing the shirts!
Contrary to my fiance's concern that they didn't get me a gift "expensive enough" for our wedding day, I was emotional from the packed meaning and memories that came with the gifted shirts. The gift was a pair of shirts for us to wear during our honeymoon trip to Disneyland, and on the back it read "Mx." with our wedding date.

I had previously mentioned that I wanted to wear Disney-themed newlywed shirts to celebrate ourselves at the happiest place on Earth. But, because we are a genderqueer/non-binary/trans couple that didn't identify with "Mr." or "Mrs.", finding shirts that reflect our gender identities wasn't going to be easy. So, my dedicated partner got shirts custom-made to read the gender-neutral "Mx." for us to proudly wear around the park during our honeymoon.

Not only was I emotional from the effort my fiancé took to get these shirts made, but it also brought back memories of challenges we had overcome as a Queer and Trans couple. I remembered how reliable my partner was just a few months into dating when I went through an extremely difficult time coming out to my loved ones. They let me stay at their place, helped me find housing, and loved me unconditionally.

I looked at my wedding gift, and I also reflected on the routine fear we felt when my partner needed to use a public restroom. Each time, I'd prepare myself like a bodyguard to protect my masculine partner from any aggressions they may face in the women's restroom. I'd rehearse some comebacks in the event that anyone would say anything. When my spouse started using the men's restrooms, I'd get anxious if I had to wait longer than usual, worried that someone had hurt him.

Staring at the "Mx." on our shirts, I was reminded of the discomfort that I had to overcome as a Queer person who, from the outside, may appear to be in a heterosexual relationship.

Staring at the "Mx." on our shirts, I was reminded of the discomfort that I had to overcome as a Queer person who, from the outside, may appear to be in a heterosexual relationship. I experienced this discomfort being self-conscious in LGBTQ spaces as a female-appearing person with a male-presenting partner ("Do we look Queer enough? What if people think we don't belong here?"), but I more so experienced this discomfort internally at home.

When my partner began identifying as a man, I perceived more "mansplaining" and felt he thought he was better than me for being masculine. This was not actually the case. Instead, I was projecting onto him my own feelings of "not being trans enough" because I was a gender non-conforming person, using "they/them/theirs" pronouns, constantly misgendered as a woman due to my feminine presentation. My partner's identity as a transgender person, however, seems to be more understood and visible in the media — I assume because it appears to others that he is just switching sides of the same gender binary that most people understand, whereas I'm here trying to get out of it.

So, while my partner's shirt did have the Mickey ears and mine the Minnie bow, reading "Mx." on both of them reminded me of our common identity (and struggle) as Queer and Trans people of color. It was a reminder that my masculine-of-center partner does not devalue me for being feminine-presenting. The two "Mx."s was also a visual representation that we are joining together as one partnership and team. And finally, it was a clear indication that I had married the right partner for me.

Go peek at their wedding for even more tears and smiles…

  1. I love this! I had never heard of the Mx. title. It never really occurred to me like pronouns have, but of course if you don't identify as male or female, you should not feel pressured to pick Mr. Mrs. or Ms.

    How does one pronounce Mx.? I would like to expand my vocabulary!

  2. Love this! My fiancee has just been avoiding all titles until they can officially use their preferred title (at the end of Vet Med school). They have found that trying to get people to use Mx is too annoying for now when in less than 2 years they will be Dr which is so much easier to get strangers to use. It is so awesome that you are willing to share this with everyone here. I hope your marriage is just as awesome as your wedding and honeymoon sound!

    • I must admit that obtaining a commonly used gender neutral prefix like "Dr." is ONE motivator for getting my doctorate that I think about often. I understand your fiancee's decision as it can get tiring informing others constantly about our identities. I'm glad this resonated you! I wish you the best in your marriage as well 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this post! As a female-presenting genderqueer person, I often struggle with the feeling of being "queer" enough; I'm not particularly androgynous-looking, and I feel like I'm making a fuss every time I correct someone's assumption that I'm a woman.

    I especially empathize with that unwanted sense of competition with a loved one. In my case, my younger sibling is trans, and while it shouldn't matter, I feel like the rest of the family takes him more seriously than me.

    Anyway, reading this made me feel a lot better, and I'm so happy for the two of you.

    –Josephine

    BTW, I currently teach at a public university, and I have all my students refer to me as Mx. I occasionally have to remind someone on their paper headings, but so far they've all been very respectful.

    • Wow, I feel so affirmed that you can relate. Reading your comment brought a warmness to my heart. I feel similarly like I'm "making a fuss", but wanting to present myself as a rolemodel for Trans (especially genderqueer and gender non-conforming) youth, like my students, is what holds me accountable–plus needing to advocate for my identity and own wellbeing! The unwanted competition is a struggle sometimes, but fortunately we are both self-aware enough to check ourselves and reflect on why we feel that way. I'm so happy to hear that your students are respectful of your pronouns, as everyone should be! Thanks SO much for reading, commenting, and connecting 😉

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