After the meditation class, Mr. Flower called Ms. Savage to ask if him being transgender was a problem for her.
“I guess not,” Ms. Savage replied.
But in truth, Ms. Savage was flummoxed; her entire identity and social life in Oakland, Calif., was built around the lesbian and women’s music communities. After a childhood in Rocky Mount, N.C., Ms. Savage, now a senior quality engineer at a Bay Area tech company, had lived in several southern cities and London before landing in the Bay Area in 1993. There, with a former female partner, she raised a daughter, now 20 and attending the University of Oregon.
She also immersed herself in the nascent lesbian punk music scene, playing bass and singing in multiple bands including the Hail Marys, Dolorata, MILF! the Band, and the Halford Wives, a Judas Priest cover band. She currently plays in Easy Queen, which is described on their website as “three fierce, feminist, funny folx forging fabulously funky rock.”
In January 2021, on the exact anniversary of Mr. Flower’s then-expiring no-dating vow, Ms. Savage agreed to a rendezvous in Santa Cruz, a coastal city midway between their homes. During a seaside stroll, they volleyed questions; Ms. Savage was curious about Mr. Flower’s transition journey. “I asked maybe 800 offensive questions ,” she said. “And Ande rolled easily with every one of them.”
While Ms. Savage didn’t foresee a romantic future for the two of them, Mr. Flower, true to his sunny sensibility, remained optimistic about a relationship. His journey to becoming who he was and knowing what he wanted had been a long one. An athletic, social child with many friends, he was raised by a single mother in St. Cloud, Fla., and when young, was often mistaken for a boy. “That always delighted me,” he said.