Some thoughts from a Trans person ...
We've talked about initial reactions, when a person comes clean about their gender issues, but there is so much more to it than that. My partner has been through hell with all this, and so have I, but we each have our own individual hells associated with trans issues.
For me, it is all the things I have missed in my life and can never really have anyway, but to live true to myself is a huge improvemet on where I was. And there is so very much that has been missed that can never be replaced. It is a kind of bereavement too, however, the catch 22 situation is that in order to have some of the things I could/should have I must lose many of the things I value and cherish.
And so it is for my partner ...
She is still with me, she tries so hard to do her best and to understand, but she has her own problems. She married the whole package - both the inside and the out - as she recognised them and formulated dreams of her own that were not for her so much as for us.
We had children. She was looking forward to times getting better, and more secure financially, and to a future with a 'traditional' (maybe conventional might be a better word) family structure that she never had as a child. She wanted so much for her children from Mummy and Daddy. She was devoted to her Husband and expected him to always be there.
She expected to feel his touch, his warmth, sex with him, and times spent together as Husband and Wife. Holidays, his strength and support, and hers given back to him in return.
A million intangible things ...
Going dancing proudly with her man, shopping, or doing the odd jobs that always need doing that he always did. I can't even begin to list them all although long conversations have made me very aware.
The thing is, her dreams, her expectations and her desires are all in tatters too. She can no longer look forward to growing old and enjoying grandchildren together in the same way. It's not the same. She doesn't see me as a man any more, but then, I'm not sure she see's me as a woman either.
She doesn't want a woman - not really - she never wanted one. She always wanted a man who was masculine, strong and supportive - all the things most women want and crave. Now, ten years on, she is back where she started but in a worse postion than before. She still wants and craves all the very things I can not give her.
She still has those tattered dreams that hurt her when she doesn't blank them out. She misses that masculine touch. That tenderness that is mixed with an underlying strength. Now she is faced with the task of finding someone else if she ever wants to have those things again. It's not fair on her, she never wanted, nor expected any of this. It's not even her problem, at the root of it, but she is most certainly a casualty of it.
She is forced to have to re-model her dreams - even question her own femininity and sexuality. It is unsettling just when everything was starting to go her way in life. Life has cheated her just as surely as it has cheated me. I often feel that I am responsible for her unhappiness. I feel guilty all the time that I can't give her all her heart desires, but then, so does she. She feels guilty that she can't give me everything that my heart desires too.
It takes a very strong person to be able to cope with the burdens that are placed upon them by transition and gender problems. It's not just the T' person, but their partners and loved ones too, that have to transition. There may yet be benefits for my partner, but so far, she has had the thin end of the wedge as do all partners at this stage.
We all often forget the price our loved ones pay too. It is a real price for them just as ours is for us.
COPYRIGHT Kim, 2nd May 2002