When T Cooper and Allison Glock fell in love, he told her he’d been born a woman. To her, his original gender wasn’t an issue – it was the connection between them that mattered
It was the most old-fashioned of courtships. Allison and T, both authors, began by writing letters to each other, sparking a friendship that blossomed into love. The couple met through the pages of the New York Times when they were both invited to write a playlist of their favourite songs. Reading T’s list, Allison felt an instant connection. Little more than a year later they were married. “We seemed meant to be,” Allison says.
Yet there was a less conventional aspect to their love story. T had been born female. When it became clear that Allison was more than a friend, he mentioned it to her, at the same time assuming she’d realised. “I actually thought she knew and wouldn’t be hanging out if she had concerns.”
In reality, Allison had had no inkling but said the only shock was how little the news perturbed her. “I took it in my stride,” she says, attributing her reaction to age and life experience. “I was a fully grown woman, I had two children – I had sampled a lot of life. I’d worked as a journalist for decades and supported myself since I was 17.”
More than that, Allison, 47, says the idea that someone’s gender can alter a person’s feelings – or that a change of gender fundamentally changes someone’s character is wrong.
“I think if you love someone, you love someone, full stop. People evolve and change in ways that can be just as profound [as gender].”
Today, eight years after they met, they are sitting side by side in the home they share with Allison’s two daughters, and it is clear how close the couple are. They swap in-jokes and pull faces when asked to describe what it was that brought them together, discussing the start of their romance in a mocking, but affectionate tone. “How I remember it is … she saw my picture,” teases T, referring to the photo that accompanied his newspaper column.
“Once you meet T, you realise how preposterous that is,” Allison says. “I just knew my children would see this incredible person and our amazing, healthy relationship – and have someone who has turned out to be an amazing father.”
Her only worries, she says, related to building a family life. “We were a very tight unit so my concerns were not about T being transgender or not, or Jewish or not, or short or not, but would he integrate into our family in a way that was healthy and beneficial?”