Elspeth Brown,

Historian: markets, visual culture, gender, sexuality

TransPartners Project

In terms of materials I'm gathering: I've been focusing on oral history interviews, which I've been conducting in person and on the phone. If you know a partner, or are one yourself, please be in touch at elspeth.brown@utoronto.ca. The identity of all interviewees is protected through confidentiality and pseudonym protocols. I am also gathering representations from digital and media culture concerning partners; this is something that Jenna Caprani an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, is helping me with. Many thanks to Talia Linz, former MA student, and Jenna Caprani, current undergrad student at the Univerity of Toronto, for their work on this project.

The following resources are related to this project. I am emphasizing work that specifically addresses partners of trans* men, for the most part.

Bishop, Katelynn. "Body Modification and Trans Men: The Lived Realities of Gender Transition and Partner Intimacy," Body and Society, Nov 2015

Nicola R. Brown, "Stories from Outside the Frame: Intimate Partner Abuse in Sexual-minority Women's Relationships with Transsexual Men",  
Feminism & Psychology, Vol.29 No. 3, 2007: pp. 373-393. 

Nicola R. Brown, "The Sexual Relationships of Sexual-Minority Women Partnered with Trans Men: A Qualitative Study", Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol.39 No.2, 2010, pp.561-572. 

Nicola R. Brown, " 'I'm in Transition Too': Sexual Identity Renegotiation in Sexual-Minority Women's Relationships with Transsexual Men," International Journal of Sexual Health, Vol.21, No.1, 2009, pp.61-77. 

Nicola R. Brown, "Queer Women Partners of Female-To-Male Transsexuals: Renegotiating Self in Relationship," PhD Dissertation, York University, 2005.

Meredith L. Chivers and J. Michael Bailey, "Sexual Orientation of Female-to-Male Transsexuals: A Comparison of Homosexual and Nonhomosexual Types", Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol.29 No.3, 2000, pp.259-278.

Loree Cook-Daniels, "Dancing with Snipers," 1998. See author's 2012 note at the beginning of the .doc. 

Loree Cook-Daniels, "Trans-positioned,"1998. First published in Circles Magazine, June 1998  

Holly Devor, "Sexual Orientation Identities, Attractions, and Practices of Female-to-Male Transsexuals," The Journal of Sex Research vol. 30, no. 4, 1993, pp. 303-315, 

Susan Driver, "Queer Femmes Loving FTMs: Towards and Erotic Transgender Ethics," in Krista Scott-Dixon, ed., Trans/forming Feminisms: Trans-Feminist Voices Speak Out. Toronto: Sumach Press, 2006. 112-121

Sally Hines, "Intimate Transitions: Transgender Practices of Partnering and Parenting", Sociology Vol.40 No.2, 2006, pp.: 353-371. [PDF removed at requst of Sage Publishing]

Emily Joslin-Roher & Darrell P. Wheeler, "Partners in Transition: The Transition Experience of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Identified Partners of Transgender Men", Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, Vol.21 No.1, 2009, pp.30-48. 

Evie Kins, Piet Hoebeke, Gunter Heylens, Robert Rubens & Griet De Cuypere, "The Female-to-Male Transsexual and His Female Partner Versus the Traditional Couple: A Comparison", Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Vol. 34, No.5, 2008, pp.429-438. 

Frank Lewins, "Explaining Stable Partnerships Among FTMs and MTFs: a Significant Difference?" Journal of Sociology, vol. 38, no. 1, 2002, pp. 76-88.

Carla A. Pfeffer, "Bodies in Relation – Bodies in Transition: Lesbian Partners of Trans Men and Body Image", Journal of Lesbian Studies, Vol.12 No.4, 2008, pp. 325-345. 

PFLAG Transgender Network (TNET)Our Trans Children, 5th Edition.

Jacob Anderson-Minshall, "Queerly Beloved: How a Lesbian Love Survived Transition." In Transpeople in Love, edited by Tracie O'Keefe and Katrina Fox. 99-110. New York: Routledge, 2008

Tam SangerTranspeople's Partnerships: Towards an Ethics of Intimacy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Kristen Schilt, Just One of the Guys? Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender InequalityChicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook, "Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: ‘Gender Normals,’ Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality,” Gender & Society, vol. 23, no. 4. 2009, pp. 440-464.

Kristen Schilt, "Teaching Transgender Issues," Tre Wentley, Kristen Schilt, Elroi Windsor, and Elizabeth Lucal. Teaching Sociology. vol. 36, no. 1, 2008, pp. 49-57.

Kristen Schilt and Christine Williams, "Access Denied" Men and Masculinities. vol. 11, no. 2, 2008, 219-226.

Kristen Schilt, "The Unfinished Business of Sexuality: Comment on Andersen." Gender & Society vol. 22, no. 1, 2008, pp. 109-114.

Kristen Schilt and Catherine Connell, "Do Workplace Gender Transitions Make Gender Trouble?" Gender, Work, & Organization. vol. 14, no. 6, 2007, 596 - 618.

Kristen Schilt, "Just One of the Guys?: How Transmen Make Gender Visible in the Workplace." Gender & Society. vol. 20, no. 4, 2006, 465-490.

Kristen Schilt and Candace Moore, "Is She Man Enough? Female Masculinity on The L Word." In Reading the L Word: Outing Contemporary Television. Ed. Kim Akass and Janet McCabe. New York: Palgrave, 2006: 153-179.

Jane Ward,
"Gender Labor: Transmen, Femmes, and Collective Work of Transgression", Sexualities, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2010, pp.236-254. 


Katrina Fox, "Lesbians in Relationships with Trans People," The Scavenger, April 18, 2010. 

Alyssa Garrison, "It Happened to Me: My Trans Partner Had His Breasts Removed." XO Jane, November 26, 2013. 

TUMBLRS (as of fall 2013) 








While there are many kinds of sources that take trans* folk as their subject, this is a working list of multimedia projects that include the experience of transpartners (of both FTMs and MTFs):

Falling in Love with Chris and Greg (2010-12) is a comedic, web-based series drawn from the life and times of trans/cis couple Chris Vargas and Greg Youmans.

Check it Out Guys (2009) is a Sherbourne Health Centre (Toronto) project designed to address the Pap-related needs and concerns of FTMs. The project included a series of posters used to spread word about the center's program.

Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America (2010) a photographic and video archive

Everyday to Stay (2009), directed by Chase Ryan Joynt (Canada). This documentary provides an intimate snapshot into the lives of two couples as they navigate life and love through one partner’s gender transition.

Against A Trans Narrative (2009), directed by Jules Rosskam.  This film lulls viewers into what first appears (especially to those uninitiated in trans theory) to be “authentic” direct-address interviews with FTM trans folk, their partners and friends.  This super smart film presents the quandary of gathering a group of individuals to represent trans identity (when trans is about destroying categories) and exposes how other members of the queer community often project onto the transgender experience.

Diagnosing Difference (2009), created by Annalise Ophelian, is a feature-length length documentary featuring interviews with 13 diverse scholars, activists, and artists who identify on the trans spectrum (transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, and gender variant) about the impact and implications of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) on their lives and communities.

Still Black: A Portrait of Black Trans Men (2008), directed by Kortney Ryan Ziegler. A documentary featuring interviews with six black trans men.

Define Normal (2008) is Thomas Beatie's website chronicling his experiences with the popular media exposure to his 2008 pregnancy. 

GenderVision #3 - Trans Partner: Gender & Relationship (2008) features an Interview with Helen Boyd and Betty Crow.  Boyd is a well-known  activist and author of the book, My Husband Betty, which explores the relationships of crossdressing men and their female partners, as well as her follow-up, She's Not the Man I Married, a more serious and expansive examination of gender roles in relationships. 

She’s a Boy I Knew (2007), directed by Gwen Haworth, documents Haworth's transition from the perspective of friends and family. 

Boy I Am (2006), directed by Sam Feder and Jule Hollar. Boy I am follows three transitioningfemale-tomale trans people as they undergo top surgery and hormone therapy. Interviews include Jack Halberstam, etc. The film does not feature much about partners, though one of the protagonist's partners is interviewed briefly. For more, see Boy I Am's website.
The L Word (2004-2009). Season 3 of The L Word features Moira Sweeny's FTM transition to Max Sweeney, played by Daniela Sea.
Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She (2005). This HBO documentary about intersex people and boys or want, or are, girls (Thai ladybodys, etc.) features little on transmen. 

The Aggressives (2005), directed by Daniel Peddle, features  6 NYC-based black and asian 'aggressive' (butch) women who are part of the black lesbian ball scene in NYC. They don't for the most part identify as trans, and seem wary of changing sex. Their girlfriends are femmes; some featured in the documenary. 

TransGeneration, (2004/5) s an eight episode documentary series depicting the lives of four transgender college students during the 2004/2005 school year. 

Normal, (2003) A Midwestern husband and father announces his plan to have a sex change operation.

Sir: Just a Normal Guy (2002), directed by Melanie La Rosa. Sir traces the transition of a 28 year old Oregon transguy named Jay Snider, who began his transition in 1999 and agreed to be the focus on this documentary. 

Southern Comfort (2001) documents the final year in the life of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual. Eads, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, was turned down for treatment by two dozen doctors out of fear that treating such a patient would hurt their reputations. By the time Eads received treatment, the cancer was too advanced to save his life. Filmmaker Kate Davis follows Robert and a group of trans-gendered Southerners in this captivating and truly touching documentary [imdb]. Eads' partner is Lola, a transwoman he met at the Southern Comfort conference.

A Boy Named Sue (2000) is Julie Wyman's compelling documentary chronicling the transformation of a transsexual named Theo from a woman to a man over the course of six years. Theo's partner at the time, Lisi, plays a prominent role in the documentary. They also break up at the end; Lisi is the only person whose name is not fully included in the credits, though we did track her down. Unfortunately she did not want to be interviewed about the documentary.

You Don't Know Dick: Courageous Hearts of Transsexual Men (1997), directed by Candace Schmerhorn and Bestor Cram.  Features six interview subjects who discuss their experiences from early childhood forward. Discusses coming out to parents and children, work associates, but not partners.  Also discusses the effects of testostorone.  Features interviews with Max Valerio, Loren Cameron, and Jamison Green.  Loren Cameron interview features Isabella, his partner. Durin the interview Loren says he's "the boss." They met prior to his transition at a lesbian event, and he was looking for a partner who could be with him through the transition since he knew it would be hard and he didn't want to go  through it alone.  Isabella: was attracted to butches and masculinity. Discussion of having had top surgery; discussion of wanting bottomg surgery. Bathrooms and their significance. Learning how to be a man; watching others. Sex and intimacy: fear that they would have to give up having sex, love and intimacy because who would be with them, etc? But these fears turned out to be unfounded; not at all difficult. Brief interview with Max and partner Kyla. Discussion of sex. Section about Michael's mom and kids. 

Linda/Les & Annie: A Female-to-Male Transsexual Love Story (1990)