Another interview with one of the partners whose narrative is in Transgress Press’ Love, Always. Loree Cook Daniel’s is the “partner’s partner” and has been working on SOFFA support and inclusion in the trans community for 20 years. She works primarily with FORGE, the awesome trans advocacy group out of Milwaukee.
1. What didn’t you write about in your narrative but wish you had?
I’ve been partnered with a trans person for a total of 32 years now; there is a LOT that wasn’t covered!
2. What is the biggest misunderstanding you confront as a partner to a trans person?
The thing that most irritates me is when someone tells me that because “I’m cis” I don’t get it. First of all, I don’t identify as cis. But secondly, I’ve been working on trans issues for more than 20 years, and from the beginning I have had a really strong commitment to understanding and representing the tremendous diversity there is in the trans community. It ticks me off when someone who came out last year or the year before that says that because of their experience, they know more about being trans than I do. Kinda like the heart patient who says she knows more about heart attacks than her heart surgeon: if you had a heart problem, which one would you rather get advice from? I’ve had people who said they didn’t want me to train them because they wanted to hear from a “real” trans person.
3. Where do you get your support?
When my first partner first transitioned, I was active on a lot of the partner’s listservs. But those didn’t always feel supportive to me, because Marcelle and I were not comfortable with a lot of the group norms, some of which involved being a “good (silent, nonequal) partner.” So it seemed like I was either involved in a conflict or just giving advice from what I’d gathered in working with so many people; I didn’t get support for myself. I think this is still true. I still have trouble finding/feeling support for me and my issues. Except, of course, that both of my partners have been *extremely* supportive of me. I just don’t feel much support from “out there.”