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Modern family: Evan Greer (left), revealed that she wanted to transition from male to female while girlfriend Erin Ryan Fitzgerald (right) was pregnant with their son
A woman has opened up about how her boyfriend came out as transgender while she was pregnant with their child.
Erin Ryan Fitzgerald, from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, relates her experience on XOJane.com, from deciding to become a parent and conceiving with her folk musician boyfriend Evan Greer, to now raising a child with that same person, who happens to be her girlfriend.
'In November of 2009, Evan and I decided to get pregnant,' she writes. 'It didn't take long - in fact it was pretty instantaneous. And in February of 2010, Evan came out as transgender
'Our child was born that August. In one year, I got pregnant with my boyfriend and I gave birth with my girlfriend.'
The journey for both Erin and Evan (who kept her original name) was difficult and emotionally-charged though. Erin describes how both their bodies were going through huge changes, but it was incredibly hard to identify with each others' experiences, making for some 'strained conversations'.
She admits that as she rejected her usual beauty standards during the pregnancy, her partner was doing her utmost to embrace them.
't was still difficult to be around hot pants and hair products, while my ass expanded and my hair frizzed out of control,' she writes.
'That evil little voice in my head planted there by years of gender socializing, particularly my teens, kept making biting remarks about how Evan wasn't really a woman'
Indeed, a life of striving to meet modern beauty ideals had even, on occasion, given Erin something of a 'Mean Girl attitude' towards Evan's efforts to embrace her new female identity.
'That evil little voice in my head planted there by years of gender socializing, particularly my teen years, kept making biting remarks about how Evan wasn't really a woman. I mean, c'mon, her legs weren't even shaved! (As if mine are.)'
Harder still, was the fact that she was going through this in a very public way. Evan has her own fan base and following, and so the announcement that she was a trans-woman exposed Erin's private life by default.
'I'm an extremely private person about certain things, so everyone knowing my bedroom business kind of killed me,' she admits - adding that there is so much support available for the transgender person, but not even a discussion group for the partner.
Doting parent: Evan, a folk musician, introduces her son to the sounds of the guitar
She acknowledges, for example, that she is 'safer when people think I'm straight', and struggles with the way people make assumptions about her sexuality once they learn about her partner's gender.
But perhaps her ability to accept Evan's choice was not only rooted in their love, but the questions she herself asked at the start of their relationship.
'I spent some time at the beginning of our relationship, when it was clear to me that this love of ours was a big deal, questioning what it meant for me to be in one of those "Could this last forever?" relationships with a man,' she reveals.
'Part of me felt like I just didn't want to be with a man, even though Evan was the most amazing person I'd ever met. Kind of messed up, I know.'
Erin strikes a pose while choosing a Christmas tree (left). Her son Saoirse (right) is now a toddler and could not be more adored by his mommy and ima (Hebrew for mother)
Their son, Saoirse, is now a toddler, and very much adored by his mommy and ima (Hebrew for mother).
Erin admits that they were worried - as two women - about raising a boy at first, but given their experiences, have decided to raise him 'as free from gender stereotypes as possible.'
'The other edge of Patriarchy's sword is that masculinity is valued over femininity, even if it's seen in girls,' she fumes, pointing out that it is considered empowering for a girl to play soccer and climb trees, but humiliating for a boy to wear tutus and pink shoes.
'Were we skilled enough and strong enough to resist societal pressures for raising boys?! No, probably not,' she admits.
'But now, regardless of the baby's sex and gender, he would have two parents who showed that gender is something that he can make decisions about, and that it doesn't matter when it comes to love.'