Tag: trans partners

Advice to a Wife

Posted by – May 17, 2014

I get a letter every once in a not-too-rare while from a wife who has just found out her husband is going to transition. Sometimes he is already starting to, sometimes he is still deciding and she expects he will, and sometimes he isn’t at all but she is convinced he will – eventually.

And I don’t know what to say, really, to any of them, besides: the loss is huge and it never really goes away, but like with mourning, you feel it less often, if not less acutely.

I tell them it’s not for everyone, that it’s okay if you feel like you have to go, because sometimes going and not being angry and not making the person you love miserable with your anger is the better thing to do.

I tell them about the online support group I still have and run.

But mostly I don’t think any of this advice is useful, except otherwise to say: you’re not crazy for being sad or angry or confused or bewildered or — well, full of despair. And I can and do say, as well, that no, there isn’t much out there for us, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever meet a therapist who can help much. They’re not prepared for us – not the gender therapists, not trans people, not really anyone.

I wish I could do or say more. I wish there was a checklist.

There isn’t.

If you’re a partner and have some advice or something that someone told you to help you figure out if you could stay or go, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to email me privately with words I can post here, or just go ahead and post it yourself.

New Trans Relationship

Posted by – April 10, 2014

So this Dear Abby letter is a few kinds of great:

Dear Abby: I’m a divorced woman with grown children. I have always supported gay rights and thought of myself as straight. But a few months ago, I met a woman, “Stephanie.”

We hit it off immediately, and I was shocked to learn she’s a transgender woman who was born male. We have spent a lot of time together and are falling in love. Stephanie will be having surgery soon to complete the transgender process.

I have been surprised and disappointed by the lack of support from my family and friends, whom I always thought were open-minded. Some have voiced support, but have shown no interest in meeting her and seem uncomfortable hearing about her.

I’m excited about this relationship and would have thought my family and friends would be happy for me, as I have been alone for a long time. But now I find myself refraining from mentioning Stephanie in conversation.

How can I discuss her with others? We are taking things slowly and not jumping into anything, yet we can definitely see ourselves spending the rest of our lives together. We have already faced disapproving strangers and handled it well.

– Loves My Friend in Ohio

Dear Loves: It appears Stephanie isn’t the only one in your relationship who is in transition. Both of you are, and because it is new to those around you, they may not understand it – which is why they are uncomfortable.

The fact that Stephanie is transgender should not be mentioned right off the bat. It is not the most important thing about her, and it should not be her defining characteristic. Discuss the matter with your friend and ask how she would like to be introduced and referred to. It’s only logical that this will vary according to how close these people are to you.

What do you think? Did she cover all the bases?

Trans Marriage Precedent

Posted by – December 26, 2013

I was so excited to read this I got shivers. A couple in Indiana got divorced after the husband transitioned to female, and were working out an amicable agreement when a circuit court judge rejected their divorce petition on the grounds that the marriage became illegal due to her transition.

But Indiana’s Court of Appeals said: not so fast.

The court ruled the marriage must be dissolved through traditional means because at the time of their wedding Davis and Summers fully complied with Indiana’s marriage law, which reads, “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.”

This is GREAT news, and great precedent, for those of us living in states with a ban on same sex marriages whose marriages were entered into before transition.

That is, ME. It’s great news for us and for couples like us.

 

 

RIP JoAnn Roberts – & Thank You

Posted by – June 12, 2013

JoAnn RobertsJoAnn Roberts, aged 65, died on June 7th, 2013. She was an early advocate for trans rights, trans community, and built a few institutions that provided people with hope, community, and resources. She started her work in the mid 1980s – more than 25 years ago.

JoAnn Roberts founded TG Forum, which is one of the very first resources my partner introduced me to more than a decade ago when we met. She’s written a great deal for TG Forum over the years. Roberts was a crossdresser with a drag queen’s flair, and she also created Renaissance, which was a huge organization with chapters that was welcoming both to crossdressers and transitioning trans people. They held week-long getaways in Pennsylvania and generally focused their work in the northeast.

She also wrote Coping with Crossdressing, which was written expressly for couples who were negotiating a husband’s crossdressing — and both her first and second wives accepted her as a crossdresser. She also published LadyLike magazine, whose importance is likely to be undervalued now that we have computers: for many CDs, this magazine was the only thing that had useful information about events, dressing tips, and which helped people feel a little less alone.

Dallas Denny has written a piece remembering her on TG Forum; they worked together for years on AEGIS; Roberts also went on to be part of the now-defunct GenderPAC and wrote The Gender Bill of Rights in 1990. It was short, but it was powerful, especially in 1990, when no one was even using the word “transgender” (it was, more frequently, “transgendered”, and even that was rarely used).

It states:

The Gender bill of Rights by JoAnn Roberts
It is time for the transgendered community to take a stand, a strong stand, against all gender-based discrimination simply because some people are different and simply because some people do not fit into current social norms of gender roles. It is time the gender-based community articulate this stand in words that clearly define exactly what our gender rights are. It is time to stand alongside other minority rights movements to declare these gender rights as follows:

The Right To Assume A Gender Role

Every human being has within themselves an idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. That identity and capability shall not be limited by a person’s physical or genetic sex, nor by what any society may deem as “masculine” or “feminine” behavior. It is fundamental, then, that each individual has the right to assume gender roles congruent with one’s self-perceived identity and capabilities, regardless of physical sex, genetic sex, or sex role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis that their gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex, physical sex, or sex role.

She stopped working visibly on trans issues about a years back – having accomplished more than most for members of the trans community.

She will be missed, but she shouldn’t be forgotten.

“Goes Without Saying”

Posted by – March 24, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve griped about the petty bullshit involved in being the partner of a trans person, hasn’t it? I recently posted a photo of me and my wife at the GLAAD awards, and many, many people have said lovely things about how we both look, which we’ve both appreciated. But I did notice – how could I not? – a pretty common refrain that goes something like this: “Your wife looks amazing and of course you do too” or, alternately, “your wife looks great and it goes without saying that you do too.”

And you know what? Actually, it doesn’t. I understand the need for people to validate a trans woman’s attractiveness. I really do. But when (1) you married a man who is no longer a man, and/or (2) you’re in your 40s, and/or (3) you’re not a size 4, and/or (4) people consistently think that trans bodies are somehow publicly owned and so can and should be regularly commented on, it gets a little tiring to hear how remarkably gorgeous my wife is. I mean, I know that. I live with her and see her every day. I’m the one she shares makeup with, and hair products, and pajamas, so yes, I’m aware she’s a hottie, and a gender normative hottie at that.

So what I want to ask you married people: is it common for people to come up and tell you that your husband or wife is attractive? That they’d do them? That their first sighting of your spouse made them wonder if your spouse was single? I mean, is this a normal thing, or is this somehow part of the trans validation thing, or do I just have the bad luck of running into a lot of people who are wildly inappropriate?

My guess is that it’s a trans validation thing. Because I can’t imagine walking up to a woman whose husband was attractive and saying any of these things. I can’t imagine saying it to a woman whose wife is hot. I really can’t. And maybe that’s me, my usual unflirtatious self, but I find it disturbing that people constantly feel the need to tell me that my wife is a hot prospect.

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Why Trans Partners Should Tell Their Stories

Posted by – January 31, 2013

The other day I published a brief interview with Christine Benvenuto, who wrote a book about her marriage to and divorce from a trans woman.

I blurbed her book, let me admit up front.

I blurbed it because despite some transphobic tendencies (not respecting her ex’s change to feminine pronouns, most notably), I think it’s important that partners get their stories out there – as important as it is for trans people to do so. I’ve been enabling the latter for a long time, and I’m proud to have done so. But I see so often that partners who are having a hard time or who are bitter about a divorce or angry about transition are told – in trans community spaces – to STFU, pretty much. And that really sucks, a lot.

The thing is, nothing about her memoir struck me as patently false. I’ve known a lot of trans women and a lot of wives of trans women over the past 13 years. A LOT. And Benvenuto’s story, just as she told it, is pretty goddamned typical. I have seen behavior by trans women that is sexist, misogynist bullshit. I have seen trans women spend their kids’ college money on transition. I have seen 401Ks emptied. I have seen all of that, and more.

I have also seen the wives of transitioning women take out all their rage on their trans spouse – financially, emotionally, even physically. I have seen rage that I didn’t even know was possible in the wives of trans women. And I have seen them be unwilling to let it go.

That is, I have seen a lot of awful behavior on both sides of this coin. Trans people are not excused because they’re trans just as women are not excused because they’re women. We are all faced with loss and betrayal and heartbreak and all of the emotions that accompany those things. How you choose to express them is entirely up to you.

I can buy the argument that now is not the best time to be airing our dirty laundry in public. Maybe it is. Maybe right now is the “let’s put a good face on it so the public grants us our rights” period for trans issues. But I don’t think there ever is that time, to be honest. I think that’s the kind of thinking that results in shaming some members of a community over other members of that community.

Because, I would argue, the crap behavior of some trans women who come from lives of male privilege – & here I’m specifically talking about certain kinds of later transitioning trans women – is a fact. It’s not made up. I can promise you that. And what we want, as a community, is for trans people to be happy. For them to have people to love and who love them. For them to be accepted and loved by their families.

And transition after 20 years of marriage is very, very rarely going to make that happen. It just isn’t.

So if we as a community want trans people to be happy, people need to know what kind of devastation a late transition can cause on families and wives and communities and of course on the trans people themselves. There is so, so much pain, on everyone’s part. People need to know it. People need to transition younger so that some of this can be prevented.

That said: partners deserve to tell their stories because they’re their stories. There are other reasons, but really, that’s the nut of it. There is no saying who is “right” when it comes to he said/she said. There never is. But as far as I could tell, Sex Changes felt real. It felt hard to write. There were parts that made me cry to finally see things I’d felt in print.

So no, it’s not a perfect story. It could have been kinder, but my gut still says it was honest and that is worth having in the world. Honesty can only shed light in dark corners, and transition-fueled divorce is one of the darkest corners I know of.

A Few Questions With… Cameron Whitley

Posted by – January 17, 2013

Eleanor Hubbard is the co-editor of the anthology Trans Kin: A Guide for Family and Friends of Transgender People< . I got the chance to ask her a few questions about the book.

1) What encouraged you to create this book?

The idea for this book developed years ago when I was contemplating coming-out to my mother as a transgender man. Before revealing my transgender status to my mother I wanted to secure resources so she could understand how I felt inside, how I didn’t identify or feel comfortable with the body I was given. Most importantly, I wanted her to know that my transgender status was not her fault. These feelings I had about being different, identifying as a boy, but not physically being one had nothing to do with how I was raised or what my mother expected from me. In fact, my mother had always been supportive of me, encouraging my many interests both masculine and feminine. At the time that I came-out, it seemed that there were lots of questions about the cause of people being gay in the media. These questions extended beyond sexuality and into gender identity. I remember watching talk shows that questioned parental socialization, suggesting that the parents contributed to the (unnatural) transgender status of their children. When I came-out there were few resources for my mother. During this time I also saw that few resources existed for my family members and friends. I started hearing beautiful and touching stories of relationships. From these stories the book developed. It was a long and beautiful process. Eleanor and I have been so fortunate to have so many people share their stories with us. Today, we are happy to report that our book is one of a small and growing collection of stories that speak to the journeys of significant others, family members, friends and allies of transgender folk.

2) What, in editing it, is the biggest surprise? What was the most expected?

There were many surprises. I was amazed at how many stories of love and support we heard. As one mother told me, “the first response is seldom the last.” As we talked she noted that when her son came-out as a transgender woman she was so distraught that she initially cut off contact with her child. She feared for her child’s safety and wondered if he (she) would experience harassment or ever find a job. She also worried about how her friends and family members would react. She quickly realized that her child was still the wonderful person she had raised. In this realization she has chosen to support her daughter as she physically transitions into the woman she has always wanted to be. While this journey has not been easy, her “first response” could not be more different than her current sentiment about her daughter. This story taught me that I should not write-off people who at first may have a negative response to my transgender status. Often because of the hurt, it becomes easier to disconnect from people who demonstrate unsupportive positions when we come-out, a response that can be very much justified. For me, I want to learn to separate my identity as a transgender man from the reactions of others. I want to remember that their reactions have nothing to do with who I am, or how I live my life, and that these moments are opportunities to show love and compassion for another who is entering their own journey of discovery.

Another surprise was how many stories we could not publish because contributors were afraid of having their identities revealed, even if the story was published with a pseudonym. Some were concerned about their safety, while others feared being ostracized in their communities. Mostly, of these concerns were centered on religion. I am always saddened by how religion, specifically Christianity is used to hurt people in the LGBT community. As a Christian, I cannot fathom how such hate can be justified using biblical text.


3) In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about the friends, family, and spouses of trans people?

In my opinion I would say that the biggest misconception about significant others, family members, friends and allies of transgender persons is that they don’t transition or that they don’t experience their own journeys when a loved one comes out as transgender. While my journey as a transgender man has had its difficulties, my mother’s journey has been challenging as well. She has had to come to terms with my transgender status with little community support. When she struggled at first with my transgender status the transgender community was eager to label her as “unsupportive,” while her friends were sure that she had done something wrong in raising me. She was caught between worlds with few acceptable options. She found herself a poster mother for transgender acceptance when she was still trying come to terms with her own journey and my transgender status. Ten years later, she is often confronted with the question, “how is your daughter?” At this moment she must consider how to answer. Does she out me as a transgender man and have a transgender 101 conversation in the local grocery store? Or, does she select to not out me and then feel bad about using female pronouns? For her, it all depends on the day and who is asking. I support my mother in this decision. This is a journey that we negotiate together. I recognize that her journey has challenges just as mine does. I could share similar stories about my wife, friends and extended family members as well.

A Few Questions With… Miriam Hall

Posted by – January 3, 2013

Miriam Hall is a partner of a trans person and a contributor to the book Trans Kin: A Guide for Family and Friends of Transgender People. She and I did a reading together for the Wisconsin Book Festival a few months ago at A Room of One’s Own Bookstore in Madison.

1) What encouraged you to create this book?
I always write about what is happening to me – it’s my way of understanding. When I met Dylan I was already writing about my own sexuality, and so writing about our combined sexuality and her gender fit right into what I was writing. When I saw a posting (I don’t remember where!) asking for writings for this anthology, I was excited to know I could put a bit of what I was doing somewhere. I am working on a longer memoir of which this is a part.

2) What, in reading it, is the biggest surprise? What was the most expected?
I was surprised at the large number of people who formerly dated trans people and their incredibly strong advocacy. There’s an unfortunate stereotype, not to mention fear, that people who leave trans folks do it only because they are trans. That they are all bitter or anti-trans. Being really close to someone – like living and sleeping with them – who is transitioning is quite a bit closer than being friends. It’s really intense and not easy – like a “regular” relationship, only pitched up that much higher. I really appreciate allies – really, really appreciate them. But nothing beats the person I am talking to/reading having (or having had) their own heart on the line (ie another partner or former partner).

3) In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about the friends, family, and spouses of trans people?

I think the most common misconception is that you cannot be an ally, much less a partner or even a trans person, without messing up: using the wrong pronoun, etc. People figure if they don’t “have it down yet” they aren’t “doing a good job.” I find this tragic. Like so many things in life, you simply have to jump in with a good heart and try your best, be apologetic when you screw up and let it go and move on.

You can find Miriam Hall’s writing, photography, & practice online: her website.

Online Support Groups

Posted by – July 8, 2012

My online group for trans partners via Yahoo Groups still exists, and is always taking on new members. You can find it here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/engender_partners/

It is open to *all* partners of trans people – male, female, genderqueer, queer, het, etc.

 

ABC on Trans Couple Story

Posted by – August 18, 2011

Somewhere in the last week’s insanity I did an interview with Susan James of ABCNews.com about a recent article published in the Boston Globe by a journalist whose husband transitioned from male to female.

It was a lovely interview, and quite a few things I said I can see reflected in the story (such as the suspicion of the 55% statistic).


An estimated 45 percent of those surveyed said that their relationship with a spouse or partner ended because of their transgender identity. Surprisingly, 55 percent, stayed on or their relationship ended for other reasons, according to that report.

But those like Diane who have gone through transition with a loved one, say it is a long and painful process — and most spouses leave the marriage.

ABC has a few other good clips up as well, so do go check out the article. If you’re the type, thank James for doing such a good job with the story. She’s covered trans issues before and really seems to get it.

Lesbian/Trans Communities

Posted by – April 10, 2011

Safe Space Radio, who did an interview with me a few weeks back (and who just celebrated their 100th show!), has just done an interview with Jen Hudson on the intersections of the lesbian & trans communities.

Jen speaks about how delicate the relationship can be between two oppressed and marginalized groups, and her intention to speak only about her particular experience. She described the forces that bring the two communities together, including gender variance, oppression and risk of violence . . . Jen also spoke about tensions within the communities about the F to M transition and whether it reflects a misogynist rejection of femaleness.

Do give it a listen.

Survey: Partners Whose Husband Come Out as TG

Posted by – December 30, 2010

SURVEY: “A Study in the Relationship between Changes in a Wife’s Self-Esteem and the Discovery that Her Husband is Transgender: What is the Perceived Meaning of the Discovery?”

If you think you might be interested in participating in this survey, please read more below the break, and contact the person doing the survey. I am not doing it, do not endorse it, but do not suspect it, either.

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“My Person”

Posted by – December 15, 2010

Here’s a nice article by a trans partner about the interminable search for the right thing to call our “persons.”

Trans Partners: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Posted by – October 11, 2010

Hey, lovers of trans people! Come out about your desires today for National Coming Out Day! Celebrate the beauty of trans bodies and souls, no matter their shape or size or color.

There’s not enough of us out.

Here’s an exercise I ask trans partners to do when they’re feeling isolated: imagine you are Professor Charles Xavier and you’ve got that fabulous helmet — except instead of finding mutants, it helps you find other partners of trans people.

My Husband Bitchy

Posted by – September 29, 2010

Every once in a while, I will hear that some MTF trans person has vigorously insisted that I am a bitter feminist nightmare and that no married crossdressser or transitioning transsexual should “let” their wives read My Husband Betty.

Really, “let.”

Usually, this charge is on the grounds that I ask people who are MTF trans identified – if they are not living as female & aren’t feminist – to maybe do some research into women’s lives before deciding they will and can live as one (& before expecting absolute, unquestioning acceptance of their trans nature from their female spouse).

Recently I decided to respond:

Asking a trans spouses, especially one born and raised male, to be aware of modern women’s lives isn’t too much to ask, I don’t think, if what the CD/TG is asking for in return is acceptance of their trans nature. In a nutshell, it’s a lot to ask of a spouse or a girlfriend who has just been broadsided by their partner’s trans identity. There is often an expectation that the partner will want to know things, and learn things, and go to support groups, or accompany their spouse to outings. Their gendered feelings may also need to be expressed during sex.

That is, the raised-male spouse is asking his/her wife (depending on how the person identifies) to learn a whole lot about gender variance.

In exchange, I recommend that the person raised male learn something about being a woman, to learn about feminism, discrimination, sexual harassment and violence. Most women know most of these things as a result of living in the world as a woman (and many trans women come to know these things a few years after transition). But while a male-bodied trans person is living in the world as male, they won’t be exposed to these things. (Some MTF trans spectrum individuals, like some males, are feminist and always read about these things. I’m talking about the ones who don’t.)

In a sense, then, you could say I’m asking a lot, if you think asking the trans spouse to learn as much about his/her wife’s experience of life in her body and her gender as s/he is asking her spouse to understand about what it’s like to be trans.

You know, equality, even-steven, a little give and take. It’s a nutty idea, I know.

So crossdressers: read as much about women’s lives as you want your wife to read about crossdressing, and then read some more.

Post Trans Post

Posted by – August 28, 2010

Here’s a copy of a a guest bit I wrote recently for T-Central for a small series there on transitionn. Lots of the posts that appeared there were interesting, from FTM & MTF, a 17 year old & a 90 year old & every age in-between. I haven’t written very much about the experience of being “post trans,” so here you go.

**
Post Trans Post: Life After Transition – August 2010

Betty transitioned. Apparently we’ve forgotten to announce that officially. I can’t imagine anyone is surprised; looking back, I see chapter 5 of My Husband Betty as tea leaves neither of us wanted to read. But I wrote My Husband Betty seven years ago (and it’s still in print!), and that old joke says it only takes 2 years, right? Maybe that’s from crossdresser to transsexual, because surely it takes more years than that to become a woman or a man. It certainly took me a few more than 2 to become a woman, and that was without any trans interference. (Sometimes, when someone asks me if I’m trans myself, I wonder if I ever did make it to “woman,” but for me, that’s a compliment, that all of my genders are showing.)

What we are, post transition, is more relaxed. That has something to do with our move from New York to Wisconsin, and something to do as well with us both having jobs we like. It may also have something to do with our being together for 12 years now. But hearing that other shoe drop, at long last, has brought us both relief as well.

We find it easier being perceived as a lesbian couple than as a trans couple. Granted, we “do” lesbian with our bizarre heterosexual privilege – by which I mean we are still federally recognized as legally married. I certainly don’t mean to imply it’s easier to be a lesbian couple; it’s not. It’s way harder then when we were seen as a somewhat eccentric het couple. But you do a lot less explaining at parties, and that’s a nice break. People know what lesbians are, even if, as in our case, the label isn’t wholly accurate. Mostly we don’t prefer to tell people Betty is trans; if they know, & have questions, we answer them when we’re in the appropriate time & place to do so, like in a private conversation and not at a party. But otherwise, I have no interest in outing her on a regular basis.

Often the question of whether or not to be out as trans rests upon the assumption that you’re either out or stealth. Yay, another binary! The reality is that there is a significant gray area. What has surprised us most is that the old advice – to move clear across the country – has its reasons. We did, but not as part of her transition plan. We did, and so we’ve reaped the benefits of being in a place where no one knew her as male, where no one knew us as het, where no one knew us before at all. That is, when we meet people now, they need only know as as a same sex couple. Unlike many if not most trans people, Betty is undeniably out. Once someone asks me what I do, for instance, it is only a few short stops to “She used to be a man?” To preserve some of our privacy – and yes, even memoirists like some privacy – I usually tell people I write gender theory which invariably leads to one of two responses: (1) “Oh.” Or (2) they actually want to know what I think of Lady Gaga’s/Caster Semenya’s gender, at which point the conversation turns away from me and onto cranky female athletes or Gaga’s little monsters. That is, the titles of my books don’t ever have to come up, which keeps me from outing Betty. One of the best parts of working in academia is having people assume they haven’t read your work.

Sometimes I like to joke that I threw Betty over for a “real woman” but that’s only if that someone will get the joke. (The short version: I don’t believe in “real” genders.)

What we’ve found is that the guy at the local equivalent of the 7-11 doesn’t need to know. We are often assumed to be friends, and not a couple, because of general LGBTQ invisibility, and I’m learning to leave with that & all the heterocentric bullshit the world is steeped in. When someone’s head is still getting used to the idea of homosexuality, you don’t really want to hit them with Teh Trans, anyway. They’re not ready.

A friend of mine, both lesbian and trans, was once asked to talk to a student about being out. My friend promptly explained her experiences being out as trans, to which the slack-jawed undergrad responded, “I thought you were just a lesbian.”

So now we’re “just lesbians.”

But is anyone “just a lesbian”? Every lesbian woman I know is a host of other things: parent, daughter, lawyer, trans, Asian, etc. We are not “just lesbians” either. We are something like post trans queers. Or I am, at least. I’m not really sure anymore.

The only sad thing for me is that I have lost my partner in crime. Betty is (quite frustratingly, some days) gender normative, trendy, and magazine feminine. I have to remind her not to flip her hair so much. I love her, but I still nurse a general dislike of normative femininity. I’m naturally suspicious of people who fit in. I assume I’ll get over it. You don’t really make it through transition as someone’s partner without having an awful lot of flexibility.

What I will say to the partners: my resolve to be her friend first, and her lover/wife second, was tantamount. We still worry that our friendship has replaced or supplanted our marriage, but I suspect that’s the kind of thing a lot of long-term relationships wrestle. When it comes down to it, our journey, and my midwifery, has been an honor and a pleasure. It is a remarkable thing to watch someone go through gender transition and to help them do so. She has assisted me through a few life transitions, and we will, no doubt, see a few more in our lifetimes, and any and all of those changes can be a threat to a couple’s permanence and happiness. Her gender transition’s challenge to who we are as a couple was maybe more challenging than others, or maybe just more obvious in the ways it accessed axes of identity. But surely unhappiness, self-repression, and stagnation would destroy any relationship as easily and with far more bitterness and regret, and you know? Phooey to that.
**

Wife of Trans Blog

Posted by – July 7, 2010

Here’s another trans couple, but this one a trans woman and her wife of 41 years. The wife, Jonni, keeps a blog on what it’s like to be married to a trans female spouse (who was her husband for many years before transition).

I’m always so pleased when I see new spouses’ experiences.

Guest Author: Kelzi

Posted by – June 27, 2010

Kelzi, one of the regulars on our MHB message boards, wrote a piece about what it’s like to be a couple going through transition that resounded pretty strongly for me (& for others):

Lately, I haven’t had much to say, and when I do, I just journal it. However, when I stop by to catch up here and there, I often find that I should have posted. My recent M.O. What’s different about tonight is that I find the warm and fuzzy stories about couples who stay together way too inflated, heart warmed and fuzzed that they become unrecognizable as a point of reference. Except, every once and a while someone cleans the pig. MG wrote:

….And Jenn and I didn’t survive anything. Everyday we make a decision to continue to stay together. That in no way means we survived anything. It only means that, for today, we still want to be together. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll both make the same decision.

Two nights ago, D and I just celebrated (and I use the word figuratively, it certainly was not a celebration. miss O was genuinely upset we didn’t go out and celebrate. Upon querying us as to the reason, D quickly replied ‘what’s to celebrate?’ to which miss O responded ‘Oh yeah, that man and wife thing.’) our 14th year as husband and wife. It was also our 8th year since my transition.

MG is painfully right, couples that choose to stay together, after the transition of a spouse, are not survivors, we have just found a couple of compelling reasons to stick it out together for one more day. A couple of reasons to let ourselves think that the cultural and social stigmata that tattoo our lives will disappear in the morning. That in the frighteningly few moments where we get to forget the realities of our lives together and embrace as lovers, only to have the moments shattered when we remember that we no longer make love as we once did, we both agree to stick it out for one more day.

I wish I could understand why we choose this way. It not a path that I’d wish on any couple. Its hard and it hurts and the longer we stay together, the more I’m convinced that the pain will never really go away. Its true that we still love each other. We cuddle on the sofa, sleep in the same bed (depending on the intensity of our hot flashes or the weather) and continue to revel in the joys of raising our daughter, together. But we have also become much more reclusive. We’re hurt by the simple slip of a pronoun. I being reminded of what I am, she remembering who she was. We look at the photo from that night 14 years ago and wonder what happened to that couple, where did they go? Why aren’t they here? Will they ever come back? Perhaps what hurts most of all, we miss our simple displays of affection, that kiss on the street, holding hands as we walk, a long embrace under a street lamp, that we so often freely gifted. Yeah, we miss the simplicity of man and woman, husband and wife, mother and father. We tire of the attitudes from the public and parents and friends and family. They, thinking their thoughts of us. We, conflicted by wanting to right the assumptions they make of us, wanting to correct, explain, share and then we remember the results of our previous disclosures. Who has that kind of time and energy? For the last 8 years, it has taken all the energy plus some that we borrowed, just to stay together just one more day.

There are days, too often it seems, where making the best of a trying situation, makes no sense. How I long for those days where my sweetie’s resting head gradually, gently drifts to my chest and there we drift into our world of pleasant dreams. Now a days her head comes to rest at my boob. She awakes and is reminded of the indignities she endures, the loss she has suffered, unfulfilled dreams that may never return. Could our lives be much better if we said enough is enough? We’d be free to experience our lives as we once dreamt they would be. In love. In public. Innocuous. Together, silently, without ever saying it to each other, we ask, ‘Really, is it really worth it? Can I do this for one more day?’

Usually I don’t know.

Its part of our unspoken agreement to each other. Oh, there have been times where I thought we wouldn’t be able to do it. We leave each other. We look for clarity. We seek advise and usually we wake up in the morning ready for one more day.

Next year, if we get that far, it’ll be our crystal anniversary. Maybe things will be clearer by then. Maybe we’ll be gifted a crystal ball that will show us were to go, how to get there. Maybe I’ll be able to clearly explain why we stay together. Except with our luck, Coyote would come along and want it for himself, steal it before we even got to peak into it. I bet that he would eat it, to illuminate his inner self, only to see that he was really full of shit. Maybe that’s the point, we have to see thru all the shit find what we really are looking for. When asked on how we’re doing, we’ve often say, ‘We’re taking it day by day’. It comforting to know that at least for now, that hasn’t changed. At the end of the day, we both are saying, ‘I think I can do this for another day.’

Madison, WI: SOFFA Support Group Starting

Posted by – December 10, 2009

It’s always so good to hear when another partner support group starts! Go Madison!

Just to let you know there is a SOFFA support group starting in Madison.
It will meet every other Tuesday evening, 7p-9p, beginning January 19.
It will meet at Outreach, 600 Williamson Street.
We will be focusing on the SOFFA experience and narrative.
It is a drop-in, peer support group.