Notes on Gender Role Transition
Anne Vitale Ph.D. Editor
A Significant Other View
by Julie Freeman
Originally published in "Devil Woman" February 2014
Republished here by permission February 2017
Recently, I received an email from a woman (Linda) stating that she had been with her partner for about 20 years. Within the past few months, her partner declared that he was transsexual. She wanted to know if I knew of any support groups for lesbian women in her situation.
The online group I belong to consists mainly of spouses or partners of crossdressers and many of them never like any mention of transsexuals or SRS. However, I decided to ask anyway as you just never know where information can be found.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from several women on the forum who had information. I decided to research some of the sites mentioned myself and was amazed as always at just how much you can learn from the Internet. At this point I didn't know if these sites would be helpful, but I did pass on the information to Linda who was very thankful.
I probably will not hear from her again and do wonder how their "marriage" will proceed. As with all relationships, some work out and others do not.
We all know situations where wives were not able to tolerate crossdressing in their relationships. A crossdresser wrote me recently that his wife years ago told him either to stop or get out. So at this point he sees no way out. I guess he was hoping I had some magic solution, but unfortunately there is no "one size fits all" that I could recommend. Only he can decide how he wants to proceed.
Then in another situation a wife wrote our group that after about 15 years of marriage and two children in elementary school, mounting bills, etc., her husband has decided that he wants to transition, and she has no idea what to do. She has been very supportive of her husband’s crossdressing which she has known about for the past 6 years, but believes that her children’s needs, present and future, must be considered, but her husband seems only interested in a nose job, hormone therapy, breast enhancement, etc.
Again many of the wives responded with good advice, such as not making any rash decisions and looking into therapy along with her husband to find out if SRS is what he truly wants. Of course, there were the usual responses, such as looking out for herself, but no one, this time, recommended she leave the relationship immediately.
One wife recommended a website which dealt with two situations. In one situation, the wife transitioned, but "his" husband stayed in the marriage and their three young children are adjusting to two dads. In the other situation, the wife did not stay in the marriage. Their two sons, now young adults, are supportive of their father who has transitioned.
All of these situations are reflective of just how diverse and varied relationships are these days. There is no typical family unit anymore. When I was growing up, a typical family unit was a mother, father, two children (preferably a boy and a girl), and a dog! Even interracial couples were rare and uncommon.
The world has changed and hopefully for the better in regards to what makes a family. I wish all the letter writers in the above situations the very best and hope they are able to make positive changes in their lives.