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.
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…