I Loved Them
~ Louise Hills
I've always had romantic relationships with

other Indigenous people. We understand one

another even if we are from different nations.
In the early 90's, I became involved with someone

in a lifestyle I had never been involved with before.  

In 1993, I became involved with Joyce whom I ultimately learned was James.
I put an add in the local community free paper, for a female partner. I identified as lesbian at that time.  My qualifications were that you should be able to finish the lines of a very old song.
One Friday night, a knock came to my door. I asked who it was, and I heard, "It's Joyce from the paper." I opened the door, and there stood a tall, mannish-faced woman, holding a teddy bear, flowers and a 
box of chocolates. Wow, I thought to myself, this is different, and very
"Come on in." I said.  ‘These are for you, ‘ he said,  ‘but first I want
to sing you the song. ‘ Oh what perfect pitch. I don't remember
the name of the song, but Mark (the Rifleman's son), sang it. Joyce sang songs in Russian, German, Swedish and Cree. I have 
heard Cree before, but very little. German and Russian pretty often.
We both loved classic country music, and danced most of the night. I fixed a nice meal as well as  dessert. I surprised myself by feeling so domestic and comfortable, but I did. We kissed, and it was unlike any kiss I ever had before. I did something that night I never had before; I asked Joyce to stay, and one year later, we were still together.
I eventually learned that who I met as Joyce, was actually James. One night I went to the bathroom, and there she stood, with shaving cream all over her face, razor poised to shave. I had the question
on my lips, "why are you doing that?" but instead I just went back to bed.
Other things were to come. Crying at that time of the month, incredible mood swings. Then the icing on the cake. "I was born Joyce, but I am James." Huh? "What does that mean, there's no penis down there?" I had not yet heard of trans-sexuality or other gender identification issues.
Still, not really understanding, but sensing some real inner turmoil
I hung in there, with this person I loved. We shared having First Nations blood. We both had Siksika ties, we both had west African ties also.
ER visits for crisis, they tried cutting their wrists and it was like clockwork, when the monthly came. The self-loathing; punching holes in the walls. Writing fraudulent prescriptions (which earned me a visit from the DEA, because my name was used as the Doctor who wrote the prescription for a powerful drug). I assured them by providing handwriting samples, that I was not the author. I wasn't angry with them because I saw the kind of pain they were going through. The connection of the religious "sin" concept was so deep, till it overshadowed any possible surgical intervention. By then I had done enough research to know that sex reassignment surgery was possible. That just wasn't an option in James mind.
Our relationship has been over for many years, but I wonder about how he/she is. Has he found someone to accept and love him/her for his/her true authentic self?