Saturday, 3 November 2012

Everything I've worked to avoid

    This morning's hot link in the world of trans people, in the UK at least, is this: "My Husband's Sex Change". A piece in the Guardian from the ex-wife of a now-transitioned transwoman about the process of change from the husband and father she once knew to the transitioner from whom she separated.
    Some of the language isn't what I'd prefer to see - "Sex change", how delightfully 1970s - but the Guardian lives up to its reputation for serious journalism by not sensationlising the story and using the words of the woman herself.
    It makes rather depressing reading to be honest. Of course it's only the partner's view, but she does not come across as quite so vitriolic as many I have encountered in her situation and it is possible to read between the lines.
    And I'm afraid her husband - "Tom" as he is described in the piece - comes across as a bit of a selfish arse. Read the piece and judge for yourselves, but I came away from it both angry and sad. Sad for her and her children, and angry that we have yet another depiction of us as selfish to contend with.
    Sometimes I have people within this sphere expressing bewilderment at my path. Reading the piece, maybe they'll understand. Not hiding anything and making sure my wife knows the trans community as I do means that while our relationship still has its turbulent moments we're still together and there is no deceit.
   One of the saddest parts of the trans experience is meeting people crippled by what they have lost. If that ever happens to me I never want to feel I didn't do my utmost to avoid that loss.

11 comments:

  1. seems like someone else has a similar view to mine. I mean I love generally positive posts about trans issues and individuals, but as with all human experience there can be a darker side to it and to not document that would in itself be a tragedy.
    allthough I can sympathise with both parties, they both seem to have approached the situation by trying to outmanipulate each other at times and not try and understand each others views or meet at some halfway point.

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  2. I guess there is no avoiding the inevitable if trying to hold things together. There are losses on both sides and it doesn't have to be that way. Everything depends upon the individuals concerned, where there is love there remains hope. It is so sad that stories like this are the lot of some but there is good and bad in all things. Anyone with an understanding would know that this particular story isn't the same experience for everyone.

    Shirley Anne

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  3. The only person who comes across as a "selfish arse" in that article is the author. And from reading it you can easily deduct that she has her own issues with her own gender that she is trying mightily to suppress.

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  4. Tom found a circle of women to sympathise with, encourage and dress him. Once, he left his laptop open to a message from one of them that read, "Your wife has to accept losing you." He reported that another had urged him to "Do it all quickly!"

    These were no women, these were men just like him that have an outsiders arm chair pyshco analytical babble talk trying to make themselves feel good while encouraging others to do something they cannot.

    This is written over and over again in so many circles of the "transgender" spectrum forcing people to accept the "T" under no uncertain circumstances. This is why the world does not understand nor wish to understand what that word means because of the strong arm tactics used by the people whom do this taking everyone down with them taking the innocent bystanders with them.

    They are both wrong here. "Tom" may have tried at first to be softly coaxing her secretly wishing she would accept his new found revelation. Like any spoiled brat whom does not get what they want, throws a fit when he found that she was repulsed by it. So what happens? Does it anyway, using force, anger, and controlling tactics which is typical of an abusive person. The reaction? Fight back

    Like you Jenny, I see both sides. The problem I have is his "..do it anyway" attitude. I'm sure that if we got to hear "Tom's" side of it, he would be saying things that are the exact opposite of what was written.

    There is no winners, both sides lost here and the children? They are the ones whom I sympathize the most with being used as pawns by both sides with no understanding or explanation of what is going on. That is a reflection of bad parenting on both sides of the equation.

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  5. Wouldn't worry about it, since these are two very different people.
    Note what she doesn't say. 'Tom' is semi-transitioning, on hormones and that whole therapy/ decision-making process she didn't choose to involve herself in ? Or mention, preferring to dwell on clothes ? Sounds like a bad relationship anyway.

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  6. Having read the article it does sound as if their marriage was in real difficulties if he said that she had to rights to the home or the children.
    I know that if I was to turn around to my wife and say that I wanted her to move out and that I was going to have custody of our son it would absolutely destroy her and would be the worst thing I could ever do to her.

    Interestingly one of the comments on the article does link to a book that might just be the other side of the story. If that is the case I'm just wondering if there's been a bit of manipulation going on here by some book publisher to get a book out that they can then publicise as being the true story or the wife's story.

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  7. Ms. Benvenuto makes it sound as though her very first reaction when her husband came out to her was a self-fulfilling prophesy:

    "Our marriage, our family and everything that up until that moment had constituted our story was over. That much I understood at once." (my emphasis)

    Because these are excerpts from a book, it makes me wonder just how much of what we are reading is exaggeration for the purpose of book sales.

    Keeping in mind we are reading one side, it does seem to me that Tom was stampeded into actions that might or might not have come from his own needs.

    It does read like our worst nightmare though Jenny. Thanks for the link, because sometimes a worst case scenario is what we need to hear about.

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  8. I just read the article. Thanks for the link, Jenny. Yes, "Tom" does appear to come off as an arse, but we are reading from the point of view of Ms. Benvenuto. I tend to agree with Halle's comments.

    Regardless, this person we have been introduced to as "Tom" married a woman and went on to create a family with his wife. This is where the emotion erupts within me. I'm all about love, marriage, family and making "IT" work. I do think that this transwoman owed it to her family to try and try and try to make it work....at least until the children had grown up. I can understand transitioning if the marriage had failed for other reasons, but it appears that the gender issues were the reason for this failed marriage and that's sad. Ms. Benvenuto married a male and had children who needed a father. All of this could have been avoided if "Tom" had revealed his gender issues to his future wife prior to entering into a marriage.

    I know I have totally screwed up the pronouns, but so be it. I only know this transwoman as the "Tom" in the article.

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  9. A divisive piece then :)

    I have tried hard to take a dispassionate view and account for the author's bitterness. And I'm afraid "Tom" still comes out as irresponsible to me. It's not the transition thing, more the deceit thing. If the Mrs. feels deceived then of course it's going to turn out vitriolic. It's possible to manage the process while avoiding some of that, and "Tom" seems to have failed. In fact "Tom" seems to have gone out of her way to deceive at times, and at other times to throw it in the author's face. When so many of us work so hard to avoid that kind of acrimony it's not helpful to have stories like this one poisoning public perception of us.

    One response surprises me, that from Jamie. You've written so many times about trannies getting caught up in the pink fog and behaving irresponsibly, I thought you of all people would not respond as you did.


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  10. I responded as I did, because I know when you hear the version of the story from just the "woman" only, it always makes the other party seem completely at fault. I am unfortunately the "crying shoulder" for several of my GG female friends. I also often happen to be friends with the males they are crying about.

    A woman's version of "romantic" events in my experience is rarely accurate, and rarely fair to the others involved. It's about them, and only them.

    I think anyone might get a different take on the story if we got to hear the "Tom" version of it, too. But we didn't, just excerpts of her book that seems to be filled with incessant whining, and self-pity.

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  11. Fair enough. I am however well tuned to such "wronged woman" stories and have met enough trans people of the selfish variety to read between the lines.

    You'll have to judge whether it's you or I that is the lucky one in this respect, but I have some insider experience on this one that you don't: I'm also married.

    A marriage is a complex series of bidirectional battle lines arranged in an uneasy truce. Even successful marriages have them, just because they exist does not mean that the protagonists are at war.

    The husband coming out of the closet as trans simply creates a few more battle lines. Some wives can't handle them and leave straight away, others arrange the battle lines at a point at which they feel able to continue.

    If you want to continue in the marriage the trick is not to willfully cross those lines and to arrive at their extension only by agreement. Sacrifices are needed on both sides of the fence to achieve this.

    If you aren't prepared to do this or you don't really want to stay together, just come out and say so, just part. Amicably if at all possible, arguing over who gets which end of the family dog is not pretty.

    The trick to staying together is to respect those lines and not willfully cross them.

    My reading of the Guardian story is that "Tom" neither really wanted to stay nor was prepared to do anything but continually push at her battle lines. I've seen enough couples who bend over backwards to find a compromise to recognise one where someone's taking the piss. In this case it's the husband, but it's just as often the wife I might add.

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