Navigating a gender transition is never an easy process, but doing so as a couple can add unique challenges and test the strength of a relationship. Christye Ozog and Tyler Ozog are doing just that. They met with OUTCOAST to open up about their process, challenges faced as a couple, and the importance of sharing their story.
Where did you each grow up?
Christye: Lexington, KY
Tyler: Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Tyler, at what age did you know that something about you was different?
As soon as I can remember remembering. My entire life.
Can you share a specific experience from childhood that exemplifies your internal identity struggle?
When I was a little kid, I used to pray every single night on my knees at bedtime that I would wake up as a boy.
As a child, who were you in your mind versus who you saw in the mirror?
In my mind I saw myself as a boy, I only wanted to wear boy clothes, play with the boys in school. I always saw myself as a brother to my siblings, not as a girl or sister.
How did your given identity hold you back from living an authentic life as a child? What are some key experiences you wish you could do again as a little boy and why?
I played hockey my entire life and playing on the girls team always felt wrong to me. If I had been raised a boy, I would have taken hockey a lot further in life and had the goal of making it into the NHL.
Do you have any favorite childhood memories?
Anytime on the ice was my favorite memory. I lived for hockey for 14 years until I couldn’t take it any further.
Share with us your educational background.
I had a hard time in school and decided to start a job that I could work my way up from the bottom. I fell in love with construction and started working at the lowest level on the job site, moving up into upper management (where I work now).
When did you begin your transition process?
I started officially transitioning five months ago by meeting with a counselor from METRO Wellness, started taking testosterone almost four months ago and last week had top surgery. I told my company about my transition two weeks ago and they have been extremely supportive. This was a huge concern of mine and road block in the process because I was terrified of losing my career.
How did you two meet?
We met online through a dating app. As cheesy as it sounds, the first night we met, we fell in love and spent the entire weekend together. We were engaged within three months and married in Hawaii eight months later. Everyone thought we were crazy, but when you know, you know!
Christye, when did you realize that Tyler struggled with his gender identity?
I knew pretty much right away. In our first couple of months together, I could tell he was more of the masculine type. We were able to really open up to each other during our first couple months of dating and I eventually asked him about it. He was honest about not wanting to live life as a female.
When Tyler decided to begin his transition last year, what was your biggest fear?
What has been the biggest challenge during your transition process?
Tyler: Having to come out to my family and my fear of their acceptance or lack thereof.
Christye: Losing the person I considered my best friend and partner in life.
How have you two remained grounded during this process?
How have the kids and your family reacted to your transition?
Tyler: At first my family was very upset and angry. They are becoming more supportive as time moves on.
How has life changed since embracing your gender identity?
Tyler, what do you feel you can accomplish now that you could never have done before?
Anything now! I have a lot more confidence than I have ever had before. I know that I need to make myself happy and not worry so much about what others think. I feel a lot more comfortable in my role in my marriage, career, and just life in general.
Christye, physically, Tyler is changing, but how do you feel his personality has changed since coming out, if at all?
I feel like he is a lot happier than he has ever been. I have seen a change in him that I am so proud and happy to be a part of. He is still the same person I married, just the authentic version that was buried for so long. I went into this very terrified and uncertain for the future, but I now know that this is what was meant to be.
You’ve been open about wanting to share your story to help others. How do you think being open and out can help other individuals and couples following in your footsteps?
We both feel like there are a lot of young children that are going through what Tyler went through and want to help them in any way we can. We just want to show that it CAN and WILL get better and there is support in places that may seem far out of reach. We want to be a place of support and love for those going through this at any stage.
What are your next steps as a couple?
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