“Together or Separate,” is the question I get when I go out to eat with my wife. Before I came out waiters always just gave me the check. Many times, my wife paid and even when she gave them her credit card, they would still always hand it back to me. It seemed like it was an unwritten rule. The guy always gets the bill. However, since I’ve transitioned, we get the phrase, “Is that together or separate?” I think it’s one of the things that annoys my wife the most.
I mean how do lesbian or gay couples feel when they go out, do they always get, “Is that together or separate?” I asked a few and they responded with we never get taken as a couple. One told me she and her wife are seen as sisters. A gay man told me he always gets, “Together or separate,” except for one time when he got a snarky response, “Oh y’all a couple?” Because his boyfriend at the time was an effeminate male, then the waiter got rude. That’s a great way to ensure a tip, I’m sure.
So why does it matter if we are seen as a couple or not? I am not sure. I like being seen as a couple; it gives me an identity. We have been married for 30 years. I guess I’ve always seen us as the couple who gets old together. However, I guess that’s not the way it will turn out in many eyes. It has been completely erased by society’s look at two females should not be partners. I think its something that is subtle but inbred into our culture. Two guys or two girls together have to be friends, sisters, brothers, right or am I reading too much into this?
Our roles have adjusted over time. Right now, they are getting more equitable but for a time my wife did carry most of the load. At least now I am starting to really help and try and make up ground where I fell short. I think all relationships have an ebb and flow to them and things like depression effects both partners more than people think. So, both people being depressed is quiet a feat for us to function and pull out of.
I hope things will always continue to get better, relationships take work. Sometimes they are easy and others they are hard, but in the end, they are worth the trouble. Having someone you can count on is amazing. I just wish I would have done somethings differently, but I think I did the best I could at the time. I know that sounds like an excuse, but you can’t change the past, you can only learn from it and move on.
Also, it took me decades to come to terms with who I am. I was scared to go out in public as I see myself. So, why do I want to have my cake and eat it too? Why should us not being seen as a couple bother me? Or am I being seen as a lesbian couple and just realizing the ramifications of that? Life is full of nuance; we all see the world differently in different context. Do lesbian couples and gay couples get, “together or separate,” in gay/lesbian bars? I really don’t know.
Acceptance is a major issue for most transgender people. First is acceptance of yourself and acceptance from your inner circle, these can be life and death decisions for many. Now I guess I need to learn to deal with what acceptance from the general public and what that really looks like for a married trans woman.
Sophie Marie White, married with three kids, is a native of South Louisiana. She draws from her varied experiences as a writer, filmmaker, producer, Director of Photography, Chiropractor, EMT, firefighter, race car driver, and boxing promoter to inspire her acting and writing. She has been active in the film industry for the past 18 plus years.
Sophie began acting a little over a year ago. Since then she has been cast in several feature films, including Hummingbird and We All Think We Are Special. Sophie was also cast in several TV series including Tell Me Your Secrets and top of show, guest-starring role, on Chicago Med. In her first year and a half of acting, she has been cast in 3 television series, 14 movies, and 1 play.
She is also a syndicated writer, who writes on transgender issues in and outside the film industry. Her screenplays have won the ISA New Orleans Writers Award 2017 and have placed at Table Read My Screenplay (New Orleans, London, and Sundance), Final Draft Fellowship, ISA Fast-track Fellowship, and New York International Fright Fest.
Films she has produced from her screenplays have won or placed at numerous film festivals including AMFM, London Independent Awards, Imagination Lunchbox, and New Zealand Film Awards, just to name a few. She has even watched one of her produced films in the White House.
Sophie is a transgender female, and with her family, she’s making her way through the complicated transition process. She brings a unique voice that is extremely under-represented in the film and television industry. Her desire to share her journey will hopefully show others that there is hope, and they are not alone. Sophie tries to live up to her motto of love, light, and peace.