I was married before. My ex, also a transguy, was (and still is, from what I can tell) a terrible, abusive person. He isolated me from friends and family, constantly put me down, and made me believe what he was saying – that I was a worthless whore. He stole my money, literally took my paychecks and spent them however he wanted, took my debit cards, ruined my credit, and refused to hold down consistent jobs, while I meanwhile worked two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. He told me that he would leave me or kill himself if I didn’t try to have his children, that I “owed” him that as his partner. By that point, in the depths of despair and isolation, I believed him.*
We couldn’t afford to use a donor through any of the cryobanks he researched (remember? my ex couldn’t be bothered to hold down a job), so my ex decided that we would use a known donor: his loafish, virgin, socially awkward, pothead friend. We’ll call him Benny. Benny’s hygiene was somewhat suspect and even before my ex coerced me to be inseminated with Benny’s DNA, just being near him made my skin crawl. Each attempt to conceive was horrific. I felt violated and completely dissociated from my body. After several revolting, unsuccessful at-home ICI attempts, my ex finally gave up.
It took about six years of deep depression, isolation and sheer terror at the hands of my ex husband before I finally began to realize that I was the victim of domestic violence and that I deserved better. With the help of a local domestic violence agency’s toll-free hotline, as well as the support of K, who was becoming a dear friend at the time, I made a plan to safely leave my relationship with my ex.
It has been seven years since I left and I wish I could say that the past horror is behind me. It is not. A part of me struggles with it quite literally every day. Luckily, I am more often reminded of the fact that I am now safe, with a partner who respects and encourages me, and have a wide net of loving friends and family.
Looking back, I am certain that I found a way to will Benny’s sperm to leave my body so that I wouldn’t conceive my ex’s child. I’m also certain, while I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, that my initial and longterm boundary of being child-free throughout the majority of my relationship with K was very much tied to the trauma of being a survivor of domestic violence, especially as it relates to reproductive coercion. Even though I felt safe with K, it took me many, many years to truly believe and feel it. And let’s face it, who wants to (willingly) build a family with someone when they’re not sure they’re safe?
* Everyone deserves to feel safe with their loved ones. If you feel like your partner exhibits any of the traits I describe in the first paragraph or any of the ones listed here, you may be experiencing abuse. Domestic violence takes many forms and can happen to anyone of any age and identity group. For confidential help and hope, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).