By John Gelmon –
Since my last year of high school, 1983-84, when I was 18, I had gone an awfully long time without having a girlfriend, even though at times I desperately wanted one. Going places on my own, especially when I saw other guys with their female partners, not to mention spending a lot of time at home by myself, did cause me to feel awkward.
After I while I pretty well gave up, as I did not know how I could approach a female I had an interest in dating or even how to determine whom I should or should not ask out. I assume that a major ingredient of the dating process is reading facial and other cues, something I am not good at. I had gone my whole life without having a serious relationship and consequently became resigned to the fact that I would never get married and would be lucky to have another girlfriend, or so I thought.
Seven years ago, at the age of 34, I had a condition called Asperger syndrome diagnosed. This is a type of high functioning autism, one that Albert Einstein and well-known pianist Glenn Gould are said to have had. For some people it is a type of learning disability, and although this isn’t always the case, many people with Asperger syndrome have difficulty reading facial cues and relate to other people differently than the average person, even though people with Asperger’s are generally thought to be highly intelligent.
As a result of attending functions at the Geneva Centre and other related autism/Asperger activities, including doing public speaking presentations before parents and educators, I got to know a woman, Martine Stonehouse, who seemed to have a lot in common with me and like me, has Asperger syndrome. As soon as she told me she had never had a boyfriend I knew that I had to decide when to make a move.
There was, one hitch. As we were going home from a group outing, Martine informed me that she is a transsexual. This means that she was born a boy, but is now legally a female. Being a heterosexual man, I had to reconsider. Nevertheless, I decided that I had no reason not to believe her story, much of which has been publicized in newspapers in Canada, the U.S., and other countries. She basically grew up as a female in a male’s body. Anyone wanting a more detailed description of the situation can do a Google search of Martine Stonehouse. Now we live together in a St. Lawrence Neighbourhood apartment.
The newspaper articles are the result of the cases of Martine and three other transsexuals took before the Ontario Human Rights Commission. A few months ago the commission ruled that Martine and the other two complainants who had a condition called gender identity disorder diagnosed before the Mike Harris government cut off OHIP funding for transgender surgery must have their surgery covered by OHIP. The one complainant who the tribunal did not rule in favour of is appealing. Now all Martine has to do before having the surgery at a private clinic in Montreal is lose weight. As soon as she has her surgery we will set a wedding date, which will hopefully be before or during the summer of 2008.
Basically, I think Martine is the perfect match for me. We have similar interests, not to mention a love for hockey, dogs and cats. Living with a woman who thinks as much of cats as I do is important, as I have had my cat, Ginger, for nearly 18 years and she agrees that he is one of the best cats in the world, although she also likes her cat, Mister.
Basically there is only one drawback to our relationship and although not being able to have sexual intercourse is a problem, that will change soon.
She has had enlarged breasts since puberty and once she has her surgery, her body will be no different than that of most women.
Contrary to suggestions made by The Toronto Sun, mainly misinformed columnist Christina Blizzard, this is definitely not cosmetic surgery.
Transgender surgery simply involves making an adjustment to the genitalia, not removing and replacing it.
Another misconception I want to clear up is that transsexuals don’t just wake up one day and say they want to change their sex, at least not those who have Martine’s condition, gender identity disorder.
Sometimes they are unable to have sex because they can’t have an erection or ejaculate. There are different factors that lead to them having the characteristics of the sex they were not born as, none of which are the fault of their own.
Yes, I am heterosexual and don’t get me wrong, I am frustrated by the situation, although not nearly as much as Martine is, but I am willing to wait.
Some people admire me for my compassion and patience, other people think I’m doing an awful thing.
As far as I am concerned, I should do what I want to do and what I think is in my best interests.
Fortunately, my fiancée and I believe that the best interests of John Gelmon are also the best interests of Martine Stonehouse.