Let me add an overlay. Visualize a story of a transwoman who didn’t know she was and whose best male friend was actually her lover though no sex was involved and neither consciously appreciated or even understood it at the time and who ‘s understanding was buried by being abused by a male while young and totally repulsed by the idea of sex with a man. I know, whew! But that was me. I love the simple narrative of your story. It resonated on a number of levels.

When I was very young, my best friend was the girl next door. She was feminine, but a tomboy. We climbed trees and caught frogs and played in the rain. She taught me to ride a bike. But we also created paper mache animals, played with our pet stuffed toy dogs and learned to knit. I told her I wanted to marry her when we grew up and was crushed when she told me we couldn’t because she was a year older. We were inseparable.

When I was 7 my family moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, but we stayed in touch. I would visit when we returned to Pennsylvania in the summer to see cousins and grandparents, and she came to visit in Florida a couple of times in the early years. I saw the adults huddle and whisper when I asked if I could spend the night with her, but thought nothing of it. I later realized the reason for their unstated concern, but apparently they decided that we were too young for there to be any possibility of inappropriate behavior.

As the years went on, we saw each other less frequently, but I never forgot her. When I decided to go to a college close to where her parents lived, I dropped by unannounced one afternoon. She was back for the summer from college in Wisconsin and her opening comment was “Wow!” She was beautiful. We hadn’t seen each other since before we began to go through puberty, so the changes in each of us were fairly dramatic. We had become young adults, but the connection was still there. It was as if I had just seen her the day before... And she was still my best friend. At 18, I was becoming very interested in the possibilities with girls, but we were more; we were friends and we remained such. We never explored anything different.

Over the decades I explored my sexuality with various women and many of the relationships were fulfilling in their own way, but my most satisfying encounters were with those I just felt comfortable with. The closeness and companionship were more important than the physical aspects. I never questioned that maybe I was missing something or just different from other men. I now know that I am a binary trans woman and that has forced me to reevaluate my sexuality. Since I am evolving and know where it is all leading (full physical transformation), things will change between my wife and I. I have begun to fantasize about having a man make love to me as a woman, though I am still somewhat repulsed by the idea of a physical encounter with a male because of being abused when I was younger. My feelings and attitudes are evolving and at times conflicted. I am still more comfortable with women.

After that lengthy introduction (I consider myself as probably pansexual), what I have been thinking about the most of late is my best friend for 15 years. Unfortunately he died of cancer 5 years ago, but our relationship was unique. We were totally comfortable in each other’s presence. We finished each other’s thoughts and sentences. We talked at the same time, but totally understood what the other was saying. People around us were completely perplexed and would give up in confusion in trying to join or understand our conversations. He died before I had any conscious inkling of my true gender identity and I can remember no sexual tension between us. We were just two cis guys who were soul mates, who could sit contentedly for hours in silence or talking about nothing and everything.

I realize now that I actually loved him as the essential woman I really was. Our relationship could have been more under different circumstances. Maybe there is another man out there somewhere. Men and women—I love them both and all the genders in between. Is my sexual identity changing, or just now revealing itself? Is it important as long as there is intimacy?