“I am a Georgian immigrant who lives and works in Lithuania. I have a wife who is from here. I am almost half a century old, but I can say that my real life is just beginning, so I feel like a teenager.
I am very different – I can be chaotic, messy and spontaneous, but at the same time I am extremely neat and organized. I don’t understand how it works, but the fact is, I’ve always been like this. One of the main features of my character is that I hold onto the goal, and I don’t let go until I achieve it”, – this is how Luna describes himself in a conversation Aprili Media.
Luna’s childhood coincided with the late 80’s and early 90’s. She grew up in Nadzaladevi, Tbilisi, and she thinks that this says it all.
“I try to forget that dark period, but at the same time I don’t want to forget it, because childhood is still childhood and besides the bad, I have a lot of good memories from that time,” Luna recalls.
She tells us that she understood her gender identity and sexuality at a subconscious level at a very early age, and that all these things began to be seriously thought about in adolescence. At that time, she still didn’t know what transgender meant, because at that time this topic was not as actively discussed in society as it is today.
“It was difficult because at that time there was simply no access to information like children have today. Therefore, the outside world could not give me the answers and I had to look for them within myself, which is not easy at such an age. I understood that I was different. Sometimes it depressed me, and sometimes I liked it. Most importantly, since I was a child, I always felt regret that I was not born as a girl. I always thought it would be more natural for me to be a girl,” says Luna.
She says she’s technically bigender at the moment, but bigender is a product of life, not an actual identity, because after many years of being labeled as a man and having the bodily experiences of a man, it’s impossible to erase the initial masculinity. It has always been and will continue to be a part of her identity. She names transgenderism as her real identity, and declares that a transgender woman is and will be what she can call her identity without hesitation. Her sexuality is also complex. Especially considering that when discussing sexuality, identities also become important. In Luna’s case, these transgender and bigender identities offer different perspectives, both as a woman and as a man, with her own preferences regarding sexuality.
“I spent my whole life in the role of a man, because I had no other way. Because of that, being a man is comfortable, easy, and convenient for me, but I think I’m actually a transgender woman who was forced by circumstances to be, and still is, conforming to the role of a man. I sometimes joke: if my life were a movie, I would definitely be nominated for the best female actor in a male role.
I think that there are masculine and feminine elements in everyone, there is just a balance between them. I can say that today, without a doubt, my balance leans towards femininity, which I’m very happy about, because being a woman is more in line with my inner state and self-view.
As for sexuality, as a man I am completely heterosexual, and as a woman I am bisexual, that is, I am attracted not only to men, but also to other women, but from a woman’s perspective. I know it’s hard to understand, but transgender sexuality is rarely clear and simple,” Luna explains.
She first tried coming out as a teenager with her younger brother. They were very close to each other and Luna thought that her brother would understand and support her, but she was wrong. She notes that his failed attempt at coming out was soon forgotten, and his brother doesn’t even remember that day. In any case, they never talked about it again.
“I had my first real coming out with my wife. The reason was very simple – I was tired. I’ve hidden my identity for decades and it’s just time for my loved one to learn the one secret she didn’t know about me. Coming out, in general, is very important to me. My life will never be complete until I am finally freed from the burden of hiding my identity.
When I was given the opportunity to be a woman more often and actively, it finally confirmed what I had always known deep down — being a woman is my natural state. One of the decisive moments was intimate relations with men. “Sex as a woman was so organic and satisfying to me, both physically and mentally, that it finally answered all the questions,” says Luna.
"Being a woman, even just on my days off, like I'm able to today, is extremely liberating. I feel like this is when I'm the real me, unrestricted and exactly who I've always wanted to be."
She also talks about the difficulties and challenges that accompany transgenderism. On the one hand, it is necessary for Luna to at least look like a woman for a certain period of time, which includes not only being a woman and putting on make-up, but also living her life to the fullest. Among them, meeting men and having intimate relationships with them. While on the other hand, as a married man who is accountable to his partner, it is difficult for Luna’s experience as a woman to always be acceptable and pleasing to her partner.
“My wife really played a fundamental role in all of this. When it comes to relationships, we have our good and not-so-good moments, which is natural. My wife understands that this is necessary for me and allows me to do this, but this does not mean that she necessarily likes it. This subject sometimes strains our relationship and “tests” us as a couple, but luckily for us, we manage to communicate and prioritize. The starting point is that no matter how many men I have, there will always be only one woman in my life. I don’t hide anything from my wife, she always knows where I am and what I’m doing,” says Luna.
Luna also shares her experiences with gender roles, expression, and intersections of sexuality. She says that the more feminine she is, the more she is attracted to masculinity, although she is also attracted to women.
“Intimate relationships with women are also interesting to me from a feminine, if we can say, a lesbian perspective. Since my wife is a woman, sex with other women is not justified for me, but sexual play, flirting, kissing and flirting are allowed, which allows me to experiment in this regard. The main conclusion I drew from all this is that women attract me more aesthetically than physically, and men, on the contrary, are more “masculine” in their actions and character than in appearance,” says Luna.
A Way to Confirm Gender on a Medical Level
We also talked about the processes of gender confirmation at the medical level. It turns out that in Lithuania, the first step is to get a specific document from a psychiatrist (form F64.0), which confirms that a person is indeed transgender.
“This is quite a difficult process, and if a person does not want to do it openly and prefers to go to a private clinic, then it is also quite expensive. As a rule, after the initial evaluation, the psychiatrist sends the “patient” to a psychologist, who must evaluate their psychological state through special tests. Three aspects are evaluated: personality, emotions and thinking. Since the tests are quite complex, evaluation of all three aspects usually requires three visits. After all this, you return to the psychiatrist, and based on the psychologist’s conclusion, they decide whether to issue a relevant report or not,” Luna tells us.
Luna has already gone through these processes. The next stage is a council consisting of three doctors, who will conclude on the basis of the F64.0 form that she should be entitled to receive appropriate medical services.
“In this case, I will have to register in the public health system, which I want to avoid at this stage. Those who, like me, confidentially want to start hormone therapy or receive any other medical services necessary for transition, can do so in a private clinic, where an endocrinologist will receive them and provide appropriate consultation, give prescriptions, and so on.
Obtaining this document was a very important moment for me. This is a kind of proof that my transgenderism is not just some phase, fetish or something like that and is my real inner state.
Most importantly, it allows me to overcome bureaucratic barriers on the way to transition, including officially changing my name and sex. The rest will depend on my desires and agreement with my wife.
As for access to medical services, everything is fine in Lithuania in this sense. I am not yet at the stage where I need medical services as a transgender, but I can say by the example of my acquaintances and friends that there is no discrimination in this regard,” Luna explains.
She doesn’t know when she will come out publicly, but she is sure that it is inevitable. The circle of people who know Luna’s true identity is still very small, and there is no one among them who would not accept Luna’s bigender or transgender status and would break off relations with her because of it.
“To put everything aside, after 2-3 years after the start of hormonal therapy, it will simply be impossible to hide visual changes or justify them with some invented reasons.
Family support is very important, but I don’t have much hope for it. For the vast majority of my family and friends, this will be very unexpected and shocking. It’s hard to predict their reactions and it’s not my business, it’s entirely up to them. My “plan” is very simple: after the public coming-out, I will break the relationship with my family, relatives, friends and colleagues. To borrow from science fiction, a kind of “force field” will be established between me and them. Tolerant and friendly people will easily be able to cross it, but for the rest it will be completely impassable and it won’t matter how close I was to them before coming out,” says Luna.
She did not leave Georgia because of her identity. According to Luna, she is a typical “love immigrant” — she met a person from another country, got married and moved in with her. She says that if a member of the LGBTQIA+ community has to leave the country because of their orientation or gender identity, it is always bad for any country, especially for Georgia, which is on the path of integration in Europe.
She tells us that the period of adaptation after leaving the country turned out to be quite difficult. The environment, climate and food in Lithuania are very different from Georgia, so it was very difficult to get used to it at first. But she has been living there for a long time and now she feels like home. She also talks about difficulties in finding friends and work.
She says she misses Georgian food the most. It turns out that Georgian cuisine is also quite popular in Lithuania. In Vilnius, where Luna currently lives, there are many Georgian restaurants and bistros where Georgian chefs work and prepare authentic Georgian dishes.
“After arriving in Lithuania, everything changed. Here I have a completely different lifestyle and mode, much calmer and organized. Most importantly, here I can freely do what I did not dare to do in Georgia: walk down the street dressed as a woman, drive a car, go shopping, go on a date, and so on.
Although I am very easy to get along with, I have very few real friends. Maybe it’s because I can’t show everyone my true side, and I don’t believe in friendship that isn’t built on honesty.
The hardest part was finding a job. It took me about two years to get a job with my profession, but today everything is fine in that regard. But here is one very important nuance: at work they do not know about my transgenderism and there is a chance that after coming out I will not be able to continue working in our company. The level of tolerance in Lithuania may be a little higher than in Georgia, but overall it is still much lower compared to advanced European countries. Unfortunately, homophobia and transphobia are still very noticeable here,” says Luna.
She shares that while she was in Georgia, she was locked in the “closet” (closeted – a person in the closet, whose gender identity and/or sexuality is not publicly known, but hidden), without any attempt to go out and personally get to know other people like her. She says that she was never indifferent to the LGBTQI+ community, but this attitude was limited only to the internet, where she always positioned himself as a supporter and ally of the community, not a member of the community.
“I can assess the situation in Georgia only according to the information spread in social networks and other sources. I can say that from this point of view it looks quite harsh. I have the impression that under the current government there is encouragement of homophobic and transphobic attitudes, which is very bad for the LGBT community and the country as a whole.
The situation in Lithuania is much better in this respect, but there are problems here too. The forces that are working hard in Georgia to distance the country from Western values are also working in Lithuania. Fortunately, people here are generally less complex and more tolerant, especially the younger generation.
With the example of Lithuania, we can see that a liberal-minded government is not enough, that the mentality of the society must be changed, and this requires time and the right policy, first of all educational. It may sound a bit pessimistic, but in my opinion, the old generation is not to be helped, and we should only hope for the youth,” says Luna.
Marriage With Reservations
Luna and her partner have been living together for many years and plan to grow old together. She says, no matter how strange it is, they don’t have open relations in the classical sense.
"The only romantic interest for me is my wife, and for her me. My sexual adventures with men are in another dimension, my love for my wife and our relationship as a couple is in another."
“What my wife and I have is actually a kind of pact, an agreement that I, as a transgender woman, need intimacy with men to achieve complete inner harmony, gender validation. I see my sexual freedom not as an additional mechanism to satisfy carnal desires, but as the most precious gift that my wife gave me specifically for the purpose of being in harmony with my gender identity. In my opinion, there is no more generous and selfless act that a person can do for their other half,” says Luna.
She says that as a transgender woman, she only interacts with members of the LGBTQIA+ community, allies, supporters, and in general, people for whom her transgenderism is not a problem.
“It can be said that Luna lives in a kind of sterile environment, where there is simply no place for negative people. As for my “masculine” persona, of course, after the public coming out, the dam will collapse and everything will radically change, old relationships will be destroyed and new ones will be created. It is inevitable and I am ready for it,” says Luna.
She also talks about the importance of protected spaces and security, which is especially important for her because she suffered from agoraphobia (fear of open spaces, crowded public places) for a long time and was able to overcome it only ten years ago.
“First of all, my wife is associated with safety and security for me, because she played a critical role in overcoming my mental problems at the time. Also, of course, the house in which we live. In addition, it may sound strange, but one of the biggest guarantees of safety for me is my car. When I go somewhere in women’s clothes, the car is my fortress, which I never leave for a long distance. Finally, I feel very safe at my favorite gay club and bar that I frequently visit. These are the places where in recent years, as a transgender woman, I have made many acquaintances and friends, and where they are always happy to see me.”
She dreams of a world in which a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity will be as common a topic as, for example, eye color. According to Luna, an environment where she could live and work freely as a woman would be ideal. We talked, on the one hand, about her supporting forces and on the other hand, about the barriers that she faced due to her gender identity. She says that due to her character, she does not allow anyone and anything to depress and weaken her, although there are difficult moments that prevent her from being happy.
"My wife is my rock and my main support. Everything I have achieved today is thanks to her from beginning to end, and for that I will always be grateful to her. Apart from physical and moral support, she already strengthens me with her presence."
“There are moments that prevent me from achieving complete inner happiness. Such moments include, for example, gender dysphoria, which affects almost all transgender people,” Luna shares.
At the end of the interview, she addresses people who are going through the process of self-determination and notes that this process may last a lifetime and there is nothing wrong with that.
“If someone is not completely sure of their own identity, they should not rush, time will sort everything out, but they should not sit idly by and should definitely work on getting to know themselves better, which requires not only thinking and self-analysis, but also talking to other people, including professionals.” — Luna tells us.