Perhaps that was due to the area they lived in, or the upbringing they had -- both of which were so conservative that "gay" was only an insult on a middle school playground. At the time, neither Charlotte nor her spouse even knew about transgender people:
"My ex, 'Jenna,' was raised in a very conservative family and culture, so isolated that until her late 20s, she had no idea that there were other people like her," Charlotte says. "She just knew she was miserable in her (assigned male at birth) body ... I'd never known a trans person and didn't really have a good idea myself of their existence. It had never occurred to me."
That's because, as Charlotte explained, "many trans people who come out as adults have spent years creating a persona to go with their assigned gender that isn't them at all ... As a man, my husband was quiet and steady, thoughtful, levelheaded, and patient. I wouldn't say hyper-masculine, but definitely a nice Type-B guy with a decent range of typically masculine interests and skills -- could fix a car, etc. Almost always had a beard."
That's right: No one can question your man-cred if you're rocking a solid face bush. Even if you're not a man inside. Don't question it: It is beard law.
If you do, a tiny hand holding a beard-badge will pop out of there.