Wednesday, 17 March 2010

In sickness and in 'ealth

"You'd think it would be easier for folks like us to get in the heads of our women and understand their motivations, but no..." Not my words, Leslie said that.

    This is one of those posts that's taken a very long time to write. Multiple times I've nearly published it, then returned and re-edited it before leaving it for another go.

    Luck is a funny thing. There's always something, no matter how crap a hand you might sometimes think you have been dealt, that makes you pull up for a moment and think "Yes, that may be a bit crap but thinking about it, I'm really lucky!"
    I don't consider being touched by the wild and crazy hand of gender variance to be a stroke of luck. I don't count its confluence with being born to grow up with giant-sized passing issues as lucky either. The first has given me depression, suicidal periods, girl fog and all the other myriad joys of gender dysphoria while the second has raised the barrier to any transition hopes I might have to the level at which I'd have to be seriously desperate to see it as a realistic course of action. So I'm left to spend a lifetime putting up with all the first has to throw at me. Which is a Royal Pain In The Arse, I'm sure you'll agree.
    Yet for all that, there's something that makes me feel really lucky. I'm married. I'm not just married, I'm married to a girl who actually cares about me as I care about her. Sure, we have our bust-ups, who doesn't. But just as I've been here for her through a few bad times, so she's been here for me. And putting up with a clinical depressive crossdresser who eventually faces up to having something of the girl about her brain takes the biscuit when it comes to things for a wife to have to put up with, even when you lose the depression.
    She's my rock. She's also my passport into feminine expression, my fashion adviser, my mystery clothing shopper, my social secretary and my friend. Without her I would be in a very sorry state indeed.
    All this is getting a little mushy, but it does have a point. What I'm trying to say is this: whatever "it" is, she's worth it. I read accounts from time to time about the relations both good and bad between transgendered people and their spouses, I often find them upsetting because my spouse is of such importance to me. I have had a very long time in which to fully appreciate the pressures of being born with gender issues so I do not need to be told how it can envelop me, but even so its grip on me can never be such that I can't fight it for her sake if not for any of my other reasons. When I stood in front of a jovial Canadian clergyman a few years ago and said "I do", I really meant it.
    OK, so I'm lucky. I have a wife who's accepting. But it can never be a complete acceptance, after all she married a bloke, and ultimately it's a bloke she'd prefer to be with. I have shaken her world over the last few years and she needs to be able to retain some control. So she has a comfort zone which I'm anxious not to stray out of. Though it has been the root of more than one conflict at times when I've wished to do something it's not too onerous, for instance she would prefer I didn't grow my hair out into a gender neutral style. Sometimes things that have previously been out of the question turn out to be OK after all, for example I can now shave my legs when I am ready to.
     I attribute our success in reaching this stage to my being open with her at all stages, and her being ready to air her concerns in return. If that paints a picture of continuous marital harmony then it's a wrong impression, as you might expect behind that sentence lies a multitude of fraught moments. But occasional rows are part of a normal relationship, the key is not that you have them but how you come through them. We've had our tempestuous moments over the years but by no means have all of them been related to my gender issues and we've come through them unscathed.
     If I have a worry for the future though it's that this might be a downward spiral without end. A long time ago I thought I could suppress it, nearly a decade ago I thought I could get away with just being a crossdresser, more recently I've recognised myself as the girl I am behind the scruffy bloke. Now I'm trying to find a level at which I can make my stand and remain stable, and to that end I learned this morning that I've been referred to the local psychologist who assesses gender variant patients from this part of the world. I'd still be making the same stand if I were single, but it's really come home to me in the last month how much someone else's well-being depends on my performance in this endeavour.

Let's hope I don't let her down.


  1. You and your wife obviously have a strong relationship and have taken things in a "baby step" pace.
    Your wife clearly loves you to be supportive, but it is normal for her to be worried and have boundries.
    Thats not to say these boundries wont move because my experiance has been the same as yours.
    Each boundary we have set has been moved once she got used to things and could see I was still in love with her.
    There are many more steps to take for me and you yet but I think you are both handling it so well.
    It may be useful for your wife to speak to others in a similar situation.
    Do you have any local groups where you are?
    Its great you have been refered to the psycologist.
    Just be yourself and be honest.
    In my experiance they have been very easy to talk to.

  2. When I stood in front of a jovial Canadian clergyman a few years ago and said "I do", I really meant it

    Mine may have been a Ducth civil servant, but I can am totally there with you. Getting married was *not* some sort of last ditch attempt to prove what I was, it was because I love and care for Mrs Stace deeply...


  3. You can't be true to yourself without being true to those who matter to you. Your honesty and obvious love for your wife will take you a long way. I applaud it.

    Cat XX

  4. What a sweet post, Jenny. There's a lot of love there, to be sure. It's very good that you are open with her. My fear kept me from sharing, and it hindered progress many times. Don't be like me!! Maybe I'll use that as a new blog name...

  5. This is something that's often missed, or ignored in the so-called "community," especially by those who are fully-transitioning. Not everyone's situation is the same, nor are the same doors open to everyone.

    You should be thankful for your sense of realism. It's something that's often missing in T-discussions. Also for your wife's love. That's often the first thing that gets lost when someone comes out.

  6. Thank you all,

    @Lisa, You have it exactly!
    Support group: yes we're attending our local one and it's been good for both of us.

    @Stace: like you I've never been one for overtly proving my maleness to show how male I am. Tried that when I was a teenager and it went horribly wrong. Sure I act the bloke a bit with other blokes as I've posted before, but that's about as far as it goes. Meeting Mrs J (or Miss as she was then!) over a decade ago now really was meeting Miss Right.

    @Cat: Nail, meet hammer. If she is to matter at all to me then I have to do right by her. As bloke for a moment and to amuse our American readers with anachronistic colloquialisms, it separates the gentleman from the bounder or the cad! :)

    @Leslie, thanks! I hasten to say again, our relationship is certainly not without its stormy moments so don't look at this post and think I've somehow done something "right" that you haven't. Reading your blog my impression is that you haven't made a mess of it and you're getting there too. I suspect my closet would be far more constrictive than yours were I like you to have started a family. Time will tell on that one.

    @Jamie: this post was originally conceived as a response to the many and varied posts on the theme of relationships from elsewhere in the community. So yet again, your reply is a nail-meet-hammer moment. Thank you.

  7. A beautiful post, Jenny, and I'm so sorry I am reading it so late.

    I have written very little about my wife in my blog but I do recall writing once about the warm feeling of lying next to her, hugging her, kissing her...loving her. If it were not for her, I would have transitioned long ago.

    I didn't disclose my little secret when we were married. She thought she married someone who was all guy. While she knows now, I have done my best to compromise because I am not about to give her up.

    Funny....the word verification I just input was my last name. Have I been found out? :)
    Calie xx

  8. I can only echo those sentiments.