I have mentioned many times how lucky I am to have the love and support of my wife and kids. This has been a subject of fascination with many of the journalists I have worked with.
In the transgender community it is something of the exception to the rule. It’s not completely unheard of, but is certainly not what many consider the ‘norm’.
All too often the decision to transition must include consideration of losing ones spouse, children and family. Friends and employment are party to these concerns as well.
The frequency I read of other transgender people agonizing the loss of their whole world is disturbing. The decisions of who leaves, who will the kids stay with? Will the kids even want to see with the transgender parent? It is little wonder that the vast majority of trans identifying people never transition.
I am aquatinted with a reasonably large number of trans people. I attend dinners, concerts, Christmas parties and many other social events. The topic of spouses and kids comes up inevitably. Many are out to their spouse but not to their kids. Many are out to no one in their personal life and maintain a completely separate existence to fulfill their transgender inner workings.
I have met trans women that rent storage facilities just to keep their feminine stash secret from their family. Many make up elaborate stories to explain where they will be when they allow themselves to express themselves. They are terrified of the consequences of being discovered.
This behavior, while seeming a necessity leads to an ever increasing problem. It is deceit, a lie, and as time goes on, it gets bigger and bigger.
I was very fortunate to find an understanding spouse from the very beginning. We discussed my feelings before we decided to marry. This was before I knew the word transgender, or understood that I was not alone in feeling this way.
I read a post from a friend recently saying that when she interviewed for a job, she talked about her activity in LGBT advocacy. This eventually paved the way for her acceptance at work. My own experience was that being honest with the people I work with has been met with acceptance and appreciation.
This is the biggest factor in my success. When I decided to transition, there was no big secret to reveal to my family. And more importantly, no big lie to justify.
Imagine the trans woman, I'm her 50’s, as I was, broaching this subject with their spouse of 30+ years. The fact that she is trans is going to be hard enough for the spouse to get over, but she also has to own up to the fact that she has been lying all these years. The lying becomes the bigger factor. No matter how many assurances she gives that she has come clean, the knowledge of years of deceit has poisoned the well.
Of course it is not as simple as I make it sound, but nothing in life worth having is ever simple.
If you are trans, and you have a spouse, you owe it to them to tell the truth. It won’t get better if you don’t, but it may if you do.