Trans Partner Advocacy

Posted by – July 30, 2007

Recently on our message boards, the partner of someone who was transitioning posted about her very last day with her male husband. She was sad, she was mourning, and she was feeling both loss & resentment.

Sometimes the larger trans community seems to view feelings like that as anti-trans; that a partner isn’t throwing the big coming out party for her transitioning companion is seen as less than enthusiastic, and the difficult feelings are interpreted as saying ‘trans is bad.’

But the thing is, it’s part of the gig. There’s a lot of change involved in transition, which every trans person with half a brain admits. I mean, that’s the point. Change is a difficult thing for most people – all people, really – and it is stressful even when the change is a good thing, like getting a better job or getting married or having a baby that you’ve long wanted.

But to miss the old, worse job, or thinking fondly about the time when you were single or childfree, doesn’t mean you don’t want the new change in your life. You do. But you can’t just tell your mind not to think about how it once was, either.

& Sometimes I think that’s what’s expected of partners, that we never have a time to say, “I did love him as a man.” We can’t admit that we liked the cocky or shy guy we first fell in love with, & the partners of FTMs aren’t supposed to mourn the loss of breasts and smooth cheeks that they loved to touch.

But the thing is, as any trans person should know, repressing a feeling of loss or sadness is really bad all around; repression poisons the groundwater, in effect, and everyone feels it. So while I don’t advise partners make themselves miserable longing for the past (just as I wouldn’t advise trans people to think the future will definitely be rosy simply because they’ll transition), expressing the more difficult feelings associated with transition is healthier, in my opinion, in the long run. Not easy to hear as the trans person, for sure, but from what I hear from same trans people, they too may need some time to mourn the loss of their own former self.

2 Comments on Trans Partner Advocacy

  1. stephanie_diane says:

    This is a sadly neglected or sometimes,over-reacted to part of transition
    and not just traditional “hormones and surgeries”,but if changes of
    mind set,possibly of orientation,certainly of (dare I say) lifestyle.

    Why must the past be forgotten or ignored? Most trans-folk,have
    an uncommon ability to see things from different sides,and to also
    be an uncommon partner; I think that to merely trade one thing
    for another,is a sad misgiving into cultural stereotypes,but that also
    it is likewise sad, it is the very cultural stereotypes that rule our vision
    of who we truly “ARE” (as opposed to what we “do”),that frequently
    control our self-vision :( .

    There are no changes made without tradeoffs,and no tradeoffs are 100%
    positive OR negative,but …

    I was never much of a boy,but I could fake it very well,and oddly the
    less I tried to fake it,the more women were attacted to me,no matter
    how I might try to romantically repel them, yet emotionally felt deeply
    attracted.

    The Trans* population/community is just as much an enforcer of
    stereotypes as is the heteronormative one. being trans should
    be about freedom and not merely trading one set of stereotypes
    (even if it might be senstive long haired poetic boy for senstive long haired poetic girl) for another.

    Correspondingly ,how many of us,adult human,regret our youth,and
    growth and changes from it? Those were inevitable,no? at least
    the emotional ones?

    Perhaps there can be no changes ,without loss?

    I think C.S. Lewis said it best,that merely changing one set of opinions
    for another,is NOT growth,but instead,incorporating new ideas and experiences is,instead.

  2. Mari Rose says:

    I want to say i think you put this so very well. when my ex finally left me, we had years of off and on turmoil. this was a rapid thing for me in many ways, but she knew longer than anyone, and i think over the years it weighed on her more and more. being in a much better place now, myself, i can look back and see so many times, in so many ways that her life became filled with a sense of loss. and she, being a person who could never accept the change as part of her life, finally saved herself in the only way she could in the end. my shame is not that i have made my own changes, but rather that i was unable to make her’s any easier. with change is some mourning, in my situation, as and when i was raised i was ill equiped to help her. i hope forums like this and just general enlightenment will help others, and make that journey somehow smoother.

Leave a Reply