My Wife is Transgender
Often times, we can sense when something is wrong with someone we know. They give off signs, little indications, that something is not the way it should be. They might withdraw, develop a tick, or even seemingly change personality-wise. Sometimes, we chalk it up to having a bad day or week. We think it is all fleeting. But when it goes on for longer, we might become concerned. I think it’s safe to say that (to some extent) this has happened with many of us at one point in our lives. It’s happened to me countless times throughout my life, but in late February 2016, when my spouse began giving off these signs, things were different.
I started to notice my spouse was not behaving as usual—not happy, not goofing around and having fun, not even enjoying video games, movies, and books, which is especially odd for them. There was something off and I couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I pushed the topic. I was told “it’s fine, it’ll go away” and other similar things a number of times, but my gut was telling me different when it never did go away. So, I decided to push the subject. I did this a number of times until, eventually, I broke through. I vividly remember the scene: I asked multiple times what was going on, and insisted that I knew it wasn’t “nothing.” I probably pushed more than I ought to have. Finally, figuring I would again get nowhere, I decided to do my best effort to at least cheer my spouse up. I left our bedroom and went to make a snack for them. When I came back, my spouse showed me a note typed out on the computer for me to read. It was lengthy and somewhat vague, so I could tell they were having trouble saying something. But to summarize it, it went like this:
“I don’t feel like myself in this body. I never have really, and I’ve been fighting it for so long and do not think I can anymore. I don’t think I was born the way I should have been. I am
This is where such narratives can diverge in many different directions. When faced with this situation, some partners may react in shock or horror, some may react with instant denial, and some may react even with worse. However, truth be told…
I WAS RELIEVED!!!!
Yes, you read right, folks, I was relieved to find out that my wife identifies as being Transgender. In all honesty, my fear was that she had been cheating on me, she wanted to leave me, she had an addiction to something (i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.), or had lost a lot of money somehow. Of all things she could have told me that night, being Transgender was nowhere on my radar. Now, some people may be confused as to why I wasn’t enraged by this, but here’s the deal, I’m an open minded individual who loves who she loves. And my wife being Transgender was not going to change that. So, what happened next?
We hugged, she cried, and I comforted. I told her that I was fine with her being Transgender and questioned why she hadn’t told me before. She told me that she was scared to tell me and has been holding this all to herself for as long as she could remember. I felt awful that she had to live with this and not do anything about it. At that point, we talked about what her expectations would be going forward, which was still somewhat uncertain at the time. What she knew was that she could no longer live as a man because she wasn’t one. And I accepted that; I still accept that. A lot of things followed from her coming out, which I will discuss in blog posts to come, but I wanted to take a minute to talk to those who identify as Transgender and are thinking about coming out.
To those who identify as Transgender:
First and foremost, know that I see you, I respect you, and I am here for you, as are many others. If you are thinking about coming out, it will not necessarily go the way it did for my wife and me; though, with all of my heart I hope it does. Take some time and think about the different ways coming out may go. Prepare yourself for it as much as you can. If you fear you may be kicked out of your house or shunned, which unfortunately does happen, think of a backup plan such as somewhere safe you can go or a group of friends you know accept you and will serve as a safety net. If you need help coming up with a plan or even just processing what you’re going through before coming out, please reach out to myself or another specialist in this specific area. You can contact me via this website HERE or you reach out via phone at 610-601-5950. There’s a list of further resources at the bottom of this post.
To loved ones of someone who identifies as Transgender:
If someone is coming out to you and sharing this sacred information with you, please be open-minded. This is not “a phase” and they need your help. Be respectful, learn about what it means to be Transgender, and do not purposefully use the incorrect pronoun or non-preferred name. Learn, grown, and be supportive. Help your loved one to find help navigating all of this because it is not easy. They will need your support, no matter what age they may be.
If you feel as though you may need help with processing this or navigating what to do next, set a therapy appointment for yourself with me or someone else who is well versed in this area. Just as your Transgender friend or family member is not alone, neither are you.
Before you go, whether you are someone who identifies as Transgender (or maybe even have an inkling that you are Transgender) or if you’re the family member or friend of someone who is Transgender, and you need someone to talk to, go over to the CONTACT US page and send me an email or find my number to give me a call. I’m here for you.
- The Trevor Project – A hotline for suicide prevention geared towards LGBT+ youth. 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
- Translife Line – Similar to the above, but I believe this one is staffed by trans individuals, so if you would be more comfortable with that… 877-565-8860
- Transequality – Stay up to date on the fight for equality here!
- Trans Student – For trans students and teachers looking to learn more about trans students. Be sure to check out the Gender Unicorn!
- GLADD – Of course, GLAAD has some general information these days too.
- Trans Central PA – For PA residents, this is a great resource, but they also provide much information applicable to anyone looking to learn more about all things trans. It also has sections that break down trans identity for non-trans people.