Love in Transition w/ Liz & Jesse Ponce
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PRIDE

Episode · 9 months ago

Love in Transition w/ Liz & Jesse Ponce

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Today, we speak to Liz and Jesse Ponce, a couple who met on a blind date in 2015 and became wives in 2017. So when Jesse came out as a transgender man in 2019, a few things changed. But not their feelings for each other or their daughter Riley. Jesse and Liz join us to talk about Jesse’s transition, the fears they both had towards the future of their relationship, and how their love story became the topic of a viral TikTok video. 

Be sure to follow their TikTok and their fertility journey on IG! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

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Straw media. I also had like worries that, like is she going to miss my old voice, or she going to miss my old name, or these are the last time as you're going to say these things and stuff like that. So it's like always like a stress in my mind. They came that because I didn't want her to be upset, like I wanted her to be happy as well. And like the even the night before I went to have my first appointment to have my shot, like I was just like, are you going to be sad? And I know my voice wasn't going to change immediately, like I get a shot and then all of a sudden I had but like, I don't know, not like a sadness, but like someone's that are sleep it or sweet. Yeah, when Lizzen Jesse said their marriage was in two thousand and seventeen, they made the usual promises to each other to love each other for better, for worse, for richer or for in sickness and in health, Yada, Yada. But the promise Liz didn't expect was to love her wife even after they told her they were a trans man. Today we speak to Liz and Jesse, a couple who met on a blind date in two thousand and fifteen and became wives in two thousand and seventeen. So when Jesse came out as a transgender man in two thousand and nineteen, a few things changed, but not their feelings for each other or their daughter, Riley. Jesse and Liz join us to talk about Jesse's transition, the fears they both had towards the future of their relationship and how their love story became the topic of a viral tick tock video. I'M LEA by chambers and this is pride. Okay, you want to go first? Sure,...

...okay. I'm Jesse. I am a transmn female male and this small life perfect. Thank you. Okay, so I'm Liz. I. My pronouns are she and her. I don't know. I just identify as Liz. I guess I you could call me Pansexual, but I'm just Liz. Liz and Jesse had been together for six years. I had gotten out of a very, very tough relationship back in two thousand and fifteen. We were together for almost four years and I was not looking for anything. Liz is astrology and Disney obsessed, while Jesse is a country music lover who you'd probably find a the Rodeo in town. A match made in heaven, right? Someone must have thought so, because the two met on a blind date my childhood best friend. When I was at a town in Oklahoma to visit family, because I have family from Uclahoma us. She hected me and goes hey, look at this girl, she's so cute. She sell your Tipe, like I want to set you up on a blind date, essentially, and I was like okay, not really thinking anything of it, and it was supposed to be a double day and it ended up the other two kind of just dropped off and we ended up going on our first date just us. We went to Texas roadhouse and then we went and had drinks at a bar in our town afterwards and we never left each other. I'd said yeah, honestly her friend. I had just met her. So and she's like, Oh, I know this girl, you guys should go out on a date. So I just like she's like here's all her information. Okay, like and then I started texting her and why she was still an Oklahoma we set up like a date to go out and I tell you, that was like...

...the most nervous I've ever been in life. But yeah, like she said that, we haven't. I haven't not seen her. We hadn't been away from each other since. You want to tell him what you told your best friend? Oh yeah, it's funny. That first night that we went out, like we stayed out until like maybe four or five o'clock in the morning and I like called my best friend like media after I look like I'm going to marry the his girl, like this is going to be my wife, and she was like what are you talking about, mother girl? He's gonna be my wife, and she and Sob yes, he proposed to me and Disneyland in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Seven months after the proposal, Liz and Jesse were married. One year after Liz and Jesse tied the knot, they welcome to beautiful baby girl named Riley VI UI, or intrauterine insemination, a type of artificial insemination where the concentrated sperm has been washed and placed directly in the uterus around the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized and then, six months after likes it. Like I said, six months after we had Riley, he took the plunge and we actually like made a doctor's appointment to beat to a therapist and so he can get his first testosterone shots and things like that. Jesse approached Liz and began to voice his concerns about his identity, like the preference to be called handsome instead of beautiful, before he officially made the decision to make an appointment with a therapist, because here in Arizona, before you can speak with someone or like make an appointment to do testosterone, they recommend that you speak with a therapist to just make sure your mind, in your mental space, is in a okay area before you take this leap. You know it's a it's a big step.

And he came to me during summer time and that was when we first had the conversation of I don't like my body, I don't like being called she or her, I don't like being feminine. Six months after Jesse and Liz talked, they booked Jesse's appointment to get his first dose of testosterone. I've always felt I mean, I've seen other people and I just like, I feel like that's that's for me, but I would never, I had never had like really the support to feel comfortable enough to like come out as strands and be who I felt like inside I needed to be. So when I did meet her, I just felt more comfortable. She made me know that whatever any decision I made, even before I told her that she would support me. So when we did have her daughter, it was just I think it was the realization of, like, I don't want to be called mom or I would I love to be my daughter's dad and be that father figure and I didn't want to wait any longer because I get it. I mean, obviously we will tell our daughter of who I am and about Trans People and the Lgbtq community, just because that's that's our life, and at the time I was like we might want to do it now. That way our daughter just knows that, like I'm I'm her dad. You know what I mean? Both Liz and Jesse were worried about how the transition would affect their marriage and their family, but she supported me. I mean we did have like moments we were like is this a good thing, like, like I want to, I want to do this because I it feels right for me. Jesse worried Liz would miss the things about him he was ready to...

...leave behind, like his old name and his voice. It definitely was a little hard to tell her, but not really, because I knew she was going to support me no matter what Liz said, she didn't have any worries or fears about her partners look or appearance after the transition. None of that bothered her, but she still had concerns of her own. I was worried my husband was going to leave me, and I think that stemmed a lot from the postpartum depression and my own internal struggles that I had with previous relationships. And I was scared. My husband just found this like awesome identity and he has found himself again and he's ready to live his best life. What if that best life was like not with me? Like what if I wasn't now that he's found himself? What if I wasn't what he was looking for? You know? And and I a part of me, like I said, was ready because, as he's always been pretty masculine and he's always been more on the masculine side. So that whole aspect wasn't very new for me. Him, him making the decision to do it, and then I would have to like face the facts of us really doing that now as a family. That, I think, was I was like Oh, it happening, like it's really going on. And so, like I said, when I had postpartum it just brought up every problem I had had with previous relationships. Not that I was genuinely worried he was ready to leave me. My mind was like, Oh, girl, you're not new and he has something new and that may be more exciting for him. So it did. It did for a moment scare me and then when I was open with him about it, he was like, I'm not going anywhere at all. And so even...

...when I did do my therapy stuff, like my therapist isn't even telling you like don't forget, like you're on this super awesome high train of like you're finding yourself, Bla, blah, blah, and then don't forget to not leave anybody behind, bring them on this journey with you. So I don't know, that was a worry for you and obviously I restarch to that for yeah, but the idea of him like actually transitioning didn't worry me and it didn't scare me and it didn't upset me. Honestly, I was more so scared of what was going to come with that and if my husband was going to stay with me or if he was going to leave, and rediscovery and newer parts of him. So it wasn't necessarily the transition itself, it was more so maybe what was going to come after that. Jesse and Liz knew their situation was pretty unique, but it wasn't until Jesse found a similar story on ticktock that they thought to share their story online. I just had saw something on ticktock another creator and she was talking about her transpasbend, and she made this video and I was like, oh my gosh, that was like when we send this my life? Yeah, it was. It was very feel yeah, it was very like similar, very close, and I was like, oh my goodness, what a great idea to tell our version of our story, you know, like we related on the fact that we both have a trans husband and that our our husband's transition, but our stories are obviously different in some ways, and so I originally made it on Instagram, honestly, and posted it on instagram first and it was what it was and I was like, you know, I'm going to share with my kick Tok...

...peeps because I have made videos in the past about my husband being transgender on there, and so I posted it and it blew up completely. She was like it was it's like a hundred thousand views. I was like what you talking about? She's like the video posted of like what? Yeah, we were, we were surprised and then it just kept going, whining, going and sharing and like yeah, it just and it's now, I think, at almost ten million views. It currently has more than twelve million views and nearly twelvezero comments, some from users supporting their love and acceptance. However, some comments did not pass the VIBE check. Obviously we're going to get those massy comments, but like, there's so many good comments that overpower them that it's amazing to it's just people and support us. Yeah, just hearing people. I think what makes my heart seeing the most since we've shared this and it has gotten the traction that it has, is getting messages from Trans men and Trans Woman that it's so reassuring to see that there are people out there who's capable of loving them for every bit of who they are and that one day they hope to find a love like that and that now they feel like there is hope in their world that they can find someone who will love them for every bit of who they are, and I think that is my favorite response from that video, is people telling me that we give them hope. Yeah, I wish we never thought was. Yeah, never influenced or the significantly important to people's lives. It's just it's really through when we come back...

...the repercussions of going viral and how their families reacted to Jesse's transition. Welcome back. Today we're chatting with Liz and Jesse, who started their relationship as lesbians before Jesse came out as transgender and began his journey of aligning his body with his gender. After seeing a similar story shared on Tick Tock, Liz decided to make a video about her love story with Jesse and posted online. It utilized the Popular Tick Tock Song still falling for you by Ellie Golding and showed Liz being proud of her husband for finally being comfortable in his skin. When I put that video out on social media, I was blown away by how many people related to our story because, while I have always had friends part of the LGBTQ less community and I have a quite a few who are very close to me that are trans men. I've never met anybody who started out like how we did and things like that, and so when I was open about it and people shared their story with me and things like that, it it made me realize every situation is very, very different. Despite all of the positive messages, putting yourself out there and into the world of Social Media Trolls can be scary. Liz didn't anticipate the video to blow up, but she still took some preventative measures to try and fight off the hate. For anybody who doesn't know how tick Tock Works, you do have the options of not of making your videos to where you can't stitch it or do edit, and I have those settings on for that specific reason and because, yeah, part of me, I'm I was more worried, like comments and things...

...like that. You can, you can brush off and and handle at least we can't. We Are we are. Yeah, not everybody can, but we are individuals where comments and things like that for the most part, we can like roll off our shoulder. What I was more worried about was like ruthless people coming on and like do wetting our video or stitching it and like making fun or saying like like hurt full, harmful things that could circulate and like videos like that be shared and like become a laughing stock, almost so, and that was in your intense yeah, no, no, I just wanted to share that I love my husband and he's so cool and I just adore him. So, yeah, part of me, a part of me, was scared and worried about what people were going to say. Is exactly why I have those specific settings on. They anticipated hateful comments towards the LGBTQ plus community and their relationship. But what Jesse and Liz didn't expect to see was the imbalance of hate towards Trans Men compared to Trans Women in real time, after a while, when you want a video like that goes viral and you get a lot, a lot of the same nasty comments about them being more disgusting and hurtful and harmful if he were a trans woman instead of a trans men. That, I think. That's that's, that's what hurt us the most. Yeah, the difference between coming out as a trans man and as a trans woman. Of like people's confused and fusion thinking I was coming out as a trans woman. Yeah, the extra hate against it was very, very hurtful and it just that's it hurts me to know that frands women,...

I mean transmittal, have their their their struggles and and they're very fair share of hate. But the feel like the transwoman community gets it ten times worse and it was really hard to see that come across the comments, just like if you're transitioning to a woman, that you're going to get like twice as much hate. When Lizzen Jesse decided to put their story on the Internet, they had to create boundaries for what they would and would not post about their two year old daughter. We have conversations actually about not sharing specific content of only Riley, like we were comfortable if we shared pictures of her with us or videos of her with us, but we not exclusive. Not. Yeah, I did that reason exactly, and I'll be honest, a lot of comments regarding Riley idle and I've blocked people because that is just it's different when you involve a child. You know it's it is. It becomes very different when a child is involved. But I have always said this before, even I had children, and this is something we talked about not only when he came out as transgender, but as even the same sex couple. In the very beginning we always talked about how important it is for Riley to know that she must always, always, always, always, be herself, regardless of what people around her tell her or what society may tell her, and that it is just more important to do the right thing than some of the reprecautions that may come with that. And so yeah, we are careful about some of the things that we share regarding Riley, but it is never once...

...prohibited us or stopped US completely from wanting to share our truth in our family. Because in our story, you know, one of the biggest things when he came out was Riley. Any any any person or people or groups that don't respect my husband and his identity and his pronouns and who he is. We don't. We try to set a good example for Riley and know that, like Sudn't very bit about her boundaries. Her her father and his identity is very important and any person who identifies as part of something that's not widely accepted by society all the time. You know, it's important for her to not only be proud and who she is, but be proud of who her family is and to be proud of people for just being who they are in general, because that's a very hard thing to do in this world today. I think the the whole social media thing is she's there's so many, so many situations where people you can you can only hide so many things from kids. I mean nowadays, especially with tablets and stuff. Yes, we know that, like Liz said, that we're going to raise her to know that you can be who you want to be and it's okay to be different and obviously know that no matter what, we love her and that her family loves her. So we weren't really too worried about what would come later down the road because she's going to know her truth and that her family is pretty cool, that we love her very much. Yeah, none of that would ever...

...change. Liz said, her family has been very accepting of her relationship with Jesse and being a member of the LGBTQ plus community. I don't have a huge family to begin with. My family's pretty small and I actually have an aunt who I grew up with that identifies as a lesbian. So, like my family, has always been pretty chill about it. I grew up in a really awesome home where two women together and a man and a woman together was not ever looked at anything different, you know. And Yeah, we're two men, you know. And so my family has always, always been great about it, has always been respectful about it. But for Jesse coming out was challenging. He had to come out first as a lesbian and then as a trans man. My first coming out was hard as well. Coming out twice as even harder. It's such a scary situation because me personally knowing that before was hard and now now I'm going to tell them, hey, by the way, I'm Trans and now I'm going to transition. You know, it was extremely hard. I have so I have family that's in Phoenix and then I also have family that lives here in Tucson, and so I know one inside of my family Kinda was going to be like yeah, already knew, well, that's cool. What are you going to call yourself? And stuff like that. So super supportive. Some of Jesse's family saw the viral tick talk and they adored at I think my said the family seem your tick Tock and half of them are like why are you cutting onions and making me cry? Well, yeah, the supportive family is adore it, like his, his dad. He called them and was like Dad, did I...

...tell you was went viral on Tick Tock, because he loves big talk, and he was like what? Send it to me and he called back and he's like why are you making a grown man cry right now? It was very cute. It was very cute, but the other side of the family was not so supportive of Jesse and Liz. There was one the part of the side of the family was just like what are you doing? Why are you doing this? So it was really, really hard of explaining how I feel to them, because it was hard to begin with just coming out as a lesbian. So it was very hard to come to them telling them that I'm trans and want to be this person. Though I got a lot of probably I got a huge Brent end of a lot of the nastiness. Yeah, it's from that family blaming me for it and that the I was behind it. Yeah, stuff like that. So it was really hard, like for her, because they're like why are they? She lives, she doing this to you, this is her fault, and it was just really hard for her. All while I was struggling. Yeah, we going. Yeah, like all while I was struggling and I was the one getting blamed, like yeah, so it was really hard. It's still a struggle now. I mean, like I couldn't set boundaries, especially for our daughter, because our daughter does know me as your father and that my name is Jesse. So using a dead name to me is very confusing for my daughter. So in pronounce for sure, because I mean, I love my family no matter what, but I do need to set boundaries for myself, for my mental health and to make sure that my daughter, you know, is not confused in any matter, because people are like, want you going to tell her, like yes, we're obviously, until it was too so it's been a...

...struggle, for sure. Liz has always been understanding of her husband's transition, but her initial reaction was to worry. What if he decided to leave her? Jesse began his transition in two thousand and nineteen. So the question is to those fears ever go away? I think it wasn't long, honestly, and I think it just took a lot of honesty and a lot of hard and like raw conversations, and it took a lot of me, honestly coming to him and crying and telling him that I was scared and I don't know how to describe it other than when we officially made the decision and he was ready to be himself and I was on board supporting something drastically shifted in our relationship and it was like it took it to a whole other level and it was like every fear I had kind of melted away because it our relationship was now the true, like real, authentic us, and we were capable of giving each other like the real, full, raw and true love that we have for one another, because we both were at a point where we were truly ourselves. So I don't I don't think I have a time frame on it, honestly, on when it happened. It just took a lot of conversation and a lot of me being open and real about my feelings surround me it. So, if I definitely had any kind of advice to give to somebody who may be potentially going through this, be honest with your partner. Yes, because while this maybe mainly Jesse's journey because he's the one transitioning,...

...he's not the only one going through it. I'm going through it, our families go through it and so like well, of course his feelings matter, so do mine. My my feelings are valid and my experience through this is real and important just as much as it is for him. And in order for a relationship to work when you go through something big like of it going to take a lot of work and a lot of dedication and a lot of honesty and vulnerability. For me is just listen. I mean when you're coming out to your partner, it's just listen to them. You've got to take into account that, like I said, you're flipping their world upside down. But it could not necessarily be that way. They could also know, like my wife did. She knew in the back of her mind just didn't think I would ever, you know, take the plunge. I think the biggest thing is a lot of people jump to the conclusion of Oh, I could never stay, and people are like then you don't love them and stuff like that. Just it's not that like it's there's a lot of people that are like by barking back at these people that to saying I could never, but I support you. That's okay. If that's great that you're supporting us and know that it's okay that if they don't stay with you, you will find out love. Hopefully they you can become best friends. But just listen to what your partner has to say, just because their feelings really do matter. Show your love to them, reassure them that you are here. At the end of the day, your happiness is what's imporing. You need to make sure that you're happy as well. Take it a day at a time. Don't look at the overall or the end picture. You'll be surprised. Love really carry to view through absolutely anything. You can find updates from Liz about...

...their family at Mama Ponce Fifteen on Ticktock at Miss Liz Ponce on Instagram. The couple is also trying for another baby. You can follow their fertility journey on instagram at here we come, baby p pride is a production of Straw head media. If you like to show leave us a rating and review on Apple, podcast, spotify or wherever you listen to podcast. Then follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter at pride and tune in weekly for new episodes. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere. At Le by chambers. Pride is produced by me lea by chambers, Baggy Bulls, Ryan Tillotson, Caitlin mcdaniel and Brandon Marlowe, edited by Silvana. I'll call out in Daniel Fer era, sound mixing by Silvana. I'll call up. I think it's definitely a journey that is important to share, so you should keep doing it. That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be here. Yeah, it was shocks when she said he want to do a podcast. That feels like, what are you talking about? Yeah, I facetimed him. When I got the message, I was like you.

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