A Knight in Shining Armor
Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies, Summer 1887, Paris
Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
The author, who is known to the editorial staff, prefers to use a pen name.
Just like any other young girl, I went through that stage when I dreamed of a ‘Prince Charming’, my ‘Knight in Shining Armor’. Maybe I got so attached to that dream that it took me sometime before I got married. I spent 14 years teaching in a Catholic institution and during that time I would sort of wonder if there would be a ‘happy ever after’ for me. During this waiting time I met my husband, an American, through a common friend. I actually met him first through the internet. He emailed me, I emailed him back, we chatted and that started the rest of our story. I left my life as a teacher in the Philippines to be with him in the United States.
My husband is a very generous and kind human being. A lot of my friends love him especially that they see how much he loves and takes care of me. It was initially a happy marriage. We served the parish together, we went to places together and it was fun to be with him. He didn’t like parks but I got him to go with me and hang out there. He indulged me in so many ways and this made me feel so important. When I first came to the States I found the adjustment very difficult – the weather, the communication barrier, the food, the culture in general. My husband made all these things bearable for me by just being there, always ready to love me.
Prince Charming [Wikipedia]
One day things changed drastically for us as husband and wife. I discovered that I had not after all found my ‘Prince Charming’. The ‘Knight in Shining Armor’ whom I had married turned out to be a ‘Cinderella’ deep inside. He confessed to me that he was transgender. My world crumbled. I was confused, lost, desperate for answers to my ‘hows’ and ‘whys’, afraid of what other people might say. I was at a crossroads. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run as far away from him as possible. I wanted to go home to the Philippines. I wanted to do so many things at the same time. Listening to my husband tell me that he was transgender affected my self-worth as a woman. I felt like I was so undesirable, unattractive. I cried and cried and thought it was never going to end.
It was not the darkest but the most life-changing moment for me. That time when I was about to leave him, I realized I couldn’t live without him. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being alone, judged and rejected by many. My love for him made me stay and accept him for who he was. He too didn’t want to lose me. He wanted me more than anything and anyone else in his life, especially during that moment when he finally decided to come out. It wasn’t easy for me, but I stayed by his side throughout the time when we would little by little tell friends in our circle and in our community about him being transgender and that we were still husband and wife.
It took me ten years to finally understand and accept everything. My faith as a Catholic helped me a lot in this painful and difficult process. The unitive aspect of the Church, being universal and accepting, encouraged me during the times when I would question my own faith. There were times when I would wonder ‘Am I jeopardizing my being Catholic by accepting my husband for who he is?’ But Pope Francis in his message about marriage and family brought me back to the promise I made when I married my husband. We do love each other the way Christ loves us, and we accept our imperfections, scars and all. We decided to stay faithful to our marriage vows.
I love my husband, in the truest sense of the word. I just love him. I want him to be happy and free. My love for him has transcended beyond the physical and became more spiritual. It’s the same for him. He didn’t insist on anything, I am his priority all of the time. He still loves and cares for me the same way as before, he looks after my needs and makes sure I am happy. If there is one very important lesson I have learned out of living with a transgender husband, it is the truth that love wins. All the time.
This is an extract of the answer that Pope Francis gave to Josh McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter when asked how he would accompany people who have struggled with their sexuality for years, during the Pope’s flight from Baku, Azerbaijan to Rome on 2 October 2016:
I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies, I have also met homosexual persons, accompanied them, brought them closer to the Lord, as an apostle, and I have never abandoned them. People must be accompanied as Jesus accompanies them, when a person who has this condition arrives before Jesus, Jesus surely doesn't tell them 'go away because you are homosexual.'
Life is life and things must be taken as they come. Sin is sin. And tendencies or hormonal imbalances have many problems and we must be careful not to say that everything is the same. Let's go party. No, that no, but in every case I accept it, I accompany it, I study it, I discern it and I integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today! Please don't say: 'the Pope sanctifies transgenders.'… Is there any doubt as to what I said? I want to be clear! It's moral problem. It's a human problem and it must be resolved, always can be with the mercy of God, with the truth… but always with an open heart.
For the full text, you may read it here.