Tonight it was brought to my attention that a CD in the online group A Crossdresser’s Secret Garden had warned another CD that my book was too heavy on the issues surrounding transition, and so recommended Peggy Rudd’s book My Husband Wears My Clothes, instead. I have to start off by explaining that I don’t have an issue with some people preferring Peggy Rudd’s book over my own; we both have our audiences, and as Dr. Rudd once said to me, ‘it’s not like there isn’t enough room for two of us.’ (She also told me I didn’t have to answer all the email I’d get, which was sound advice I’ve mostly failed to follow.)
It’s funny that this advice should come just now, but not just because my interview with Melanie and Peggy Rudd is the Five Questions With… blog post that precedes this one, but also because – well, transition issues come up in exactly one chapter of My Husband Betty. I told the story I did because it was part of my own experience. When I was trying to reach out to other couples, especially other girlfriends of CDs, I happened to meet Katie, and we had an instant rapport. At the time we became friends, every crosssdressing website emphasized the fact that *crossdressers don’t transition.* I found out otherwise when I watched my friend Katie go through a painful divorce that was caused by her crossdressing partner’s transition.
And while I’m happy to report that Katie and Elle have both gone on to live happy, separate lives, it was precisely because of that experience that I included their story – and how it affected our story – in my book. Because I didn’t want to see even one other Katie get blindsided like that, not ever again.
In the warnings about how “scary” my book is, the CD pointed out once again that CDs rarely transition. Or that a very small percentage do. And the ironic thing is that I know the group, and I know that quite a few of their members were CDs when they joined who later transitioned. Some of them – gasp! – were even married. So it makes me wonder why this information is re-iterated over and over again, when no-one has any idea how many CDs eventually transition.
I certainly don’t know the percentage. I just wonder at what point people think it’s okay to mislead spouses like that. I mean, if you had a 1 in 100 chance of finding out that your marriage was going to be dead in the water in a decade, would that be a high enough risk for you to maybe warn your future partner? 2 in 100? 5 in 100? 10 in 100?
And while I understand the need to help wives who are already married keep their wits about them and not freak out, I cannot abide the idea that anyone is telling a girlfriend or a fiancee of a CD not to worry about it – especially if they’re under the age of 30.
And while I also know there are no guarantees in this life, I also know that plenty of crossdressers said they’d never transition and did. Wives or no wives, children or no children. And I wonder why this urge to reassure wives comes so fast. I know after I found out that all those people who had told me that *crossdressers never transition* were full of it, I held them accountable for having bullshitted me. Because even if the chance is 1 in 1000, a woman deserves to know the truth, especially if she’s about to make a lifetime commitment. Or have children. Or buy a house with her husband. Or work more to put him through school. Or start saving for retirement.
A woman deserves to know – no matter what the situation – that there’s a chance her CD boyfriend may eventually become her ex-wife. I’m tired of no-one wanting to say it outloud. I’m tired of hearing how it’s a negligible percentage. I want to know who gave anyone the right to decide what “negligible” means when it comes to a person’s life. And I want to know too where they get the numbers that have convinced them it’s “negligible.”
Because I’d like to see them. And I know they don’t exist. My best guess why crossdressers think the number is so negligible is because transitioning women leave support groups intended for crossdressers when they transition, so crossdressers stop seeing them – a kind of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ phenomenon. Either that or they’re going by that whacked Tri-Ess logic, that says a CD who transitions was never a CD, anyway – even if they identified one for a couple of decades.
. . .
The even richer irony for me is that so many married transwomen and partners of transitioning women don’t read my book because the word “crossdresser” is in the title. Isn’t that rich? Sometimes I think I should find myself a small army of terrified CDs to go into the TS community and explain exactly how much My Husband Betty is about transitioning! Yet I had a partner in another group I’m in say – after having read my book – that there is nothing out there for spouses of transitioning people.
Papa Bear on one hand, Mama Bear on the other. Now both of them can’t be right.
It’s actually the partner of the transitioning person who’s right, in my opinion. My Husband Betty is not about transition; the story of Katie and Elle is a cautionary tale, only. It’s there so that others will understand it can happen. And it can happen even when the couple is deeply in love. I am hoping to write about what it’s like to live with someone who is considering transition in my next book, however, and I’ll certainly let you know if/when I do.
What I have always recommended is this: that any wife who is new to having a crossdressing partner read the first four chapters of My Husband Betty first, sit on them, mull over them, discuss them with her therapist and her partner. After a while, when she hits a certain comfort level, and she’s ready for more, she can read (the dreaded, terrifying, all-too-realistic) Chapter Five. She can read Peggy Rudd’s book(s) before or after mine – it’s not like there’s a whole slew of books by wives out there, is there? Some will prefer one over the other. Some will find them complementary in some ways. Others will hate and excoriate one and bless the heavens for the other. That’s not the issue for me; the issue is that sometimes CDs are so freaked out by the fact that I even talk about transition they remember the whole book being about it.
After my experience with Katie, and after doing all the research for My Husband Betty, I became convinced that if there’s anything a crossdresser’s wife needs to know, it’s exactly what crossdressers don’t tell her. You see, I didn’t write the book to scare anyone. I wrote it because I’m a wife, and I wish someone had told me everything I had to find out for myself. I wanted to spare any other wife the pain that Katie went through, and the fear I experienced. I wrote it once in the book, and I’ll write it again here: crossdressers do transition. Not all of them, not most of them, but some of them. And their potential spouses need to know.