Portland Transgender Couples Photos by Katy Weaver

Portland Transgender Couples Photos | Kris and Aly

Portland Transgender Couples Photos by Katy Weaver

Portland Transgender Couples Photos

 

I want to tell you a story. A story of two people who fell in love, got married, had kids and then discovered that one of them was transgender. This is the story of Kris and Aly. This is the kind of story and photos the I believe need to be told. These Portland transgender couples photos melted my heart and I hope they will melt yours too!

I could tell you their story myself, but Kris is the most incredible writer and she was kind enough to share her experience in her own words. Enjoy!

 

How they met

 

“As a couple, Aly and I are lovers, best friends, and fox hole sisters. Aly and I met in college, Cal Poly Pomona in 1992. I was an English major who found an un-failable science class – Astronomy. She was a Geology major who lost all her classes due to a glitch in the registration system. We were both early on our first day of class, sitting outside the classroom, we smiled at each other and something about her just was a direct hit to my heart. She insists that she saw my smile and immediately thought I was out of her league.

A month of class passed with me wanting to talk to her but not knowing how to start the conversation. One Monday, the professor asked, “Who knows the greatest discovery in science in the past 20 years?” Her hand shot up from the back of the class, “Plate tectonics”. “Yes! How did you know that?” “I’m a geologist,” she replied. SHE SPEAKS I thought to myself – that was all I needed.

I timed my exit to align with hers and as we squeezed through the door, I said, “So . . . you’re a geologist?” She skipped her next class and walked me out to my car where we sat on the tailgate of my Chevy Blazer and talked for 4 hours. She skipped her Wednesday class as well but I had to go to Math tutoring because well, English major. On Friday, she walked to another part entirely of the massive campus and found me eating lunch in my car. I invited her in and offered her grapes. She asked me out to a movie I’d already seen and I jumped at the chance. After the movie, we drove up highway 2, looked at the stars through her moonroof and talked about dinosaurs, religion, and everything in between.

On the way down the mountain, she hit a bump but thought it was an animal. She stopped the car, turned around, and drove that section again more slowly – she didn’t want to leave an injured animal behind. When she did that, I knew I had found The One.  We broke up for a summer about a year and a half in, but when we got back together, that was it. I finally gave her permission to propose when I was 23—I felt I was finally old enough to not look desperate. We married in ’97, had our son Owen in ’99, and our daughter Avery was born in ’02; 10 years and a day after the day Aly asked me out for the first time, completing our family.

 

The Discovery

 

“It was a normal life but had its share of struggle – Aly and I both worked for the family business and it was hard. The company struggled and we were on a continuing downward spiral of financial hardship. In February of 2014, the business failed and our family of 4 was left with a mortgage, a mountain of debt, and zero income.

After months on unemployment, food stamps, and mortgage assistance from the state, both of us submitting resumes like crazy, we realized no one wants to employ two people whose most significant work experience was a) in a family business and b) a failure. So I decided we’d hire ourselves, rebuilt the business, and got the plane back in the air.

I got my first paycheck in August, and at the end of the month, was on Amazon finally looking for a refrigerator filter to replace the one that went out at the beginning of summer when I made a discovery. As I clicked back through the purchase history, ironically passing the filter without seeing it, I went far enough back to find the purchase of women’s clothing. Not my size. Hmmm. I called Aly over to my desk, where I had the image on my monitor.

“Do you know anything about this?” I asked. She stared at the monitor in terror. A silent head shake of no. “Are you sure? Because if you don’t, then I need to call Amazon because we were hacked.” More terror. I realized that in all we had been through, I had never seen this level of terror on her face. Inside, she thought she was witnessing the crumbling of her family, the beginning of the end, the loss of everything she held dear.  I said, “I think you do know about this, don’t you?” She finally nodded yes but then she immediately said she had to go, she had to finish what she was doing. She had to flee.

I don’t know what I believe about God. I spent time as an evangelical as a high schooler, but now, I wonder how much God knows about our individual lives. How much God intervenes. But on that day, I know I got an answer. Because while I am as normal and flawed and self-centered as the next human, in the critical moments that followed, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God, an angel, or something divine intervened.

Something said, “Kris, be quiet. Sit in the back seat – I need to drive right now. My child needs me.” So miraculously, instead of freaking out, yelling, getting angry, asking “what about me?? What about the kids? What about MY life???” and damaging Aly during this most fragile moment in her life, I stood up and took Aly’s hand. She started to cry. I held her and said, “It’s ok. Everything is ok. Talk to me about this. Everything is going to be ok.”

 

Embracing the change

 

“That began hours and hours and hours of conversation where I learned about Aly’s true self, how she had struggled with deep depression, flirted with the outskirts of alcoholism, how even the happiest moments of our lives were darkened by the shadow of a life not lived. Instead of getting angry or feeling deceived, as many women reasonably do, my heart broke for her and I could feel every ounce of the burden she had been carrying for so long. All I wanted was to embrace her, to provide her refuge. I believe that was the Divine working through me in that moment, loving her perfect child through a terrifying, vulnerable moment. We decided then that she would transition and we would stay together. None of us knew how it would happen, we didn’t know what the middle would look like, but we knew we’d get there and we’d do it together.

We worked through it together for about 6 months, then we found a therapist and stepped up our processing. In March, we told our kids who were then 15 and 12. I was so worried about how they’d take it – Aly felt they’d be fine with it but my God—what a massive shift for them, and right as Avery was entering puberty and Owen was mid-stride in high school. But Aly was right. We called them down on a Saturday morning, told them Aly was transgender, talked about it a bit, then I stopped and asked if anyone had any questions. The moment of truth. Would they yell? Cry? Be ashamed? Be afraid?

We got our answer when Owen just turned to Aly and asked, “What pronouns would you like us to use?”  We knew right then that everything would be ok. Avery needed a reminder of what it meant – only the summer before she asked me what the T in LGBT stood for—but she immediately embraced the change. Our family has never skipped a beat. We’ve always raised them to love all people, to appreciate diversity, to make room for everyone, and to always be kind. So while we didn’t know to raise them for this specifically, we were abundantly thankful for the loving, compassionate people they have always been.

Together, as a family, we are funny and warm; we talk about big things and we talk about nothing. We just genuinely love to be together. Owen and Avery are best friends – they never fought as kids because they “didn’t want to do something to intentionally aggravate him/her”. It’s weird and wonderful. So together, with our different personalities and super powers, we are a family of super heroes, tightly bonded by love. I was always lonely as a kid, an only child, but the bond of love and laughter and not just acceptance but an embrace in our family of all our weird little idiosyncrasies, it all adds up to a very safe place that I always wanted and love to be. Our house is the place you can come and be embraced, exactly as you are.

 

Setting an example

 

“There were no resources or support for me when I was going through Aly’s transition, so I work to provide support and an example of a happy ending to both a spouses’ group in Portland and an online community that’s mostly the US, but some Canadians and some international people. There just aren’t enough examples out there of couples who survived transition and are happier than where they started. It’s important to me to be the example I couldn’t find. To hold hands, to reassure, to comfort, and support other spouses along this journey.

A world that is safer and kinder to trans people is safer and kinder for everyone and I am committed to being an ally wherever I can.  I will sit by the loner, I will talk with the person who has been excluded, I will speak out against online bullies not just because they need to be stopped, but because you never know when someone else is reading that thread, afraid to come out of a closet, afraid there will be no one to stand by them. I want them to know they’re not alone.”

 

15 thoughts on “Portland Transgender Couples Photos | Kris and Aly

  1. Thank you so much for sharing their story, I got emotional while reading, it’s truly inspiring! And these photos are so beautiful, Portland is so lucky to have you as a transgender couples photographer!

  2. This is the most inspiring transgender story. Thank you so much for sharing this as well as such amazing photographs in Portland for this couple. I especially loved the one of the trees in an arc over their heads.

  3. This is love; so honored to be able to read about this beautiful couple. I really enjoy the lighting and contrast in your images

  4. “Wow!” is really all I can say. This is such a beautiful story of love and what it truly means to love. Thank you for sharing.

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