Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
by Jessica Carreras
When Crystal Proxmire met Aaron Watkins on MySpace, she didn’t think twice about the fact that his user name had “FTM” in it. “I was completely clueless,” she admits.
Now, two years into their relationship, the Royal Oak-based couple has been through a lot, including plenty of learning experiences for Proxmire – from what being a female-to-male transgender means to what dating Watkins meant for her own sexual orientation and identity.
“After he told me what (FTM) meant, I figured it’d be no big deal since I’ve dated both men and women,” Proxmire says. “But there were still plenty of surprises and issues that came up.”
Like what bathroom Watkins would use? What should she do when his parents refer to him as a woman? And, more importantly, Proxmire wondered how this relationship would affect her in the future. The couple searched for answers together – on the Internet, in bookstores and from friends – but they just weren’t finding the answers they needed. “It added a whole new dimension of complexity to getting to know each other,” Proxmire explains. “But he was exceptionally patient when I had ignorant questions, and our feelings were strong.”
So strong, in fact, that now, two years into their relationship, the couple not only feels confident enough to stay together, but to publish a book about it. Their book, “The Original Guide to FTM Love and Sex,” is expected to be out by Christmas.
After struggling to find answers during their own relationship, Proxmire and Watkins decided to start doing research and conducting surveys of other FTM people and their partners. Over time, they have collected over 100 surveys from around the U.S., as well conducted personal interviews with couples, therapists and doctors. According to Proxmire, half of the book will focus on issues related to dating and relationships, while the other half will focus on sex-related issues. “Basically, we just want to let FTM couples know that they are not alone,” she says.
Proxmire admits that she and Watkins have had somewhat of an easy time, partially because of the fact that Watkins’ sex change was quite successful. But, she laments, there were and still are problems to conquer, from being comfortable with sex to health problems. Currently, Watkins’ insurance won’t cover a hysterectomy because he is already legally a man. The pain and physical problems, said Proxmire, are evident.
Luckily, it is easier for the couple to go through it together. What they hope is that in the future, their guide can help other couples in the same situation deal with problems together and stay together. “There are too many couples who are uncomfortable with their bodies and avoid intimacy,” Proxmire says. “there are others who don’t know how to stay together during the changes of transition, and others who may not even give someone a chance because they think the legal problems and health problems may be too much.”
“Sometimes problems seem insurmountable, but we all go through them,” she continues. “Having a guide will make it easier.”
That guide, she hopes, will be the one she and Watkins publish. “It’s the book I wish I could have had when I first met Aaron.”