As I mentioned a while ago I had joined a few partner support groups. I am not keen on those that are the Yahoo email type thing based however I did find one 'hidden' Facebook group which has actually been great.
This group is for 'accepting' partners of transgendered people however the level of acceptance between the members does vary quite considerably from those who are just about accepting and struggling with it all, to those that embrace everything in full. There are also members who really are firm supporters of non binary partners which is something to be honest I struggle to understand. These tend to be outspoken members so I generally avoid any potential dodgy conversations with these people as many of their comments I do not identify with. I feel sorry for some of the other partners as they are having enough of a problem struggling with the concept of their partner being transgendered without the added complication of binary and non binary conversations/observations being thrown into the mix.
In general it is a really supportive and informative group with some very interesting topics of conversation and many very relevant to me. All posts get quite a few responses even if it is just people giving moral support as well as first hand experiences. Actually one person made a comment the other day which really struck a chord with me; "I mean, I'm OK with it but I miss that bloke like crazy". Ha, yes I really get that but I'm not sure that I ever really knew 'that bloke'!
Sometimes reading the challenges that some of them are going through gives me a little wobble in my world. Lucy will know when this is happening but she does not know why I am like this (she will do now). Usually I seek reassurance from her that she isn't going to leave me and inevitably she always asks me if I am mad as she thinks if anyone is going to leave it will be me..... but of course I'm not going anywhere!
This week alone two partners of different transgendered people (one MTF and the other FTM) have posted within days of each other on the same group about their partners pushing them away, their partners being told by other people in the trans community to ditch their spouses, being told that they are hindering the transition and accused of not being as readily accepting as their trans partners expect them to be. In both cases the partners have only recently been told about their spouses 'transness' and although trying to be supportive they are struggling to make sense of the situation they have found themselves in. Neither consider themselves gay/bi but are now in relationships with someone who considers themselves the same sex as they are and are trying to 'burst out' and come out to one and all without really considering the struggle their spouses are going through. It is only in the past few months that these partners have known anything at all about their partners struggles with being transgendered and it has been a shock for them and I totally understand how they feel. In this Facebook group there are some staunch lesbians whose partners are FTM who are trying to get their heads round being considered now to be in a heterosexual relationship. Some of these women have had real struggles in the past standing up to lesbian prejudice and are very uncomfortable with being viewed as heterosexual. By the same token some who were in heterosexual relationships struggle being outwardly considered to be gay when they really feel they are not. One partner has come up with the term 'heteroflexible' which means that if while you are together and one of you transitions and because
that person is so special to you, you make an exception just for that
one very special person. A perfect word to describe the situation many people find themselves in.
I know that I am only hearing one side of the story however these partners are really trying their best when their whole world has been completely thrown upside down and into turmoil and a common theme I see in quite a few of the posts, both in this Facebook group but also in some of the Yahoo groups, is how selfish the partners think their trans spouses are. Much of this is perpetuated by the fact that they have hidden or denied their transness from their partners who now think that their whole life together has been a lie. I have to admit that reading about their behaviours I am drawn the same conclusion but do not identify with what they are saying as for me and Lucy, this is not how it is.
I am eternally grateful that she told me very early in our relationship so I had a get out clause if I wanted it. Actually by the time she told me I was totally in love with her anyway and nothing was ever going to change that! I have had so much longer than many partners to assimilate the information and have thought hard and fast about whether or not I can do this. Every time the answer is yes.
Lucy if anything has been very selfless with being transgendered. She has always considered everyone else first which is why only now at 45 years old she is in the process of transitioning. Several times she has tried to convince herself she can push aside and ignore these feelings inside her even when I have told her it was not possible and she threw everything (well nearly) away a couple of times. I kept telling her couldn't deny her true self and that 'it' would come back and bite her on the bum! We have a constant open line of communication between us and have no secrets and we share all our worries, concerns and excitement too. Lucy has been and will always be my best friend and soulmate.
Even now I know she still has her wobbly days where she worries about the impact on the children and my family. As I have said before I'm sure most of the children will be fine as they are older and I'm still sure M our 13 year old daughter will be fine when we tell her. Actually one of the partners in the Facebook group has a 14 year old daughter in the same position who would be happy to chat should M need it. As for my family.... who knows.... and actually I don't really care. It will be great if they are all accepting which I suspect the majority may be but there are a couple I think won't be however they are people whose opinions mean nothing to me anyway. In any case we will never know how people will be until the time comes.
I think what I am saying overall is that it can be be so difficult being the partner of someone who is trans. I have read so many bitter posts and heard stories from those that have split up in the worst way possible, those that have parted but remained on good terms and those that have stayed together (some only just and others very happily). The key to me seems to keep the lines of communication open, honesty and listening to each other. Both sides can be guilty of not doing this. It doesn't mean the relationship 'as is' can stay the same or even be saved but being open and honest with each other can only help in such a life changing situation for everyone.