Need somewhere to think and get feedback — The Bump
LGBT Parenting

Need somewhere to think and get feedback

Hi all, I need somewhere to talk and I figure Friday is a good day to do it. 

When we first met, SO said she was/felt transgender, but didn't plan on transitioning. 

A year later, she has since decided she wants to transition.  She didn't know about testosterone therapy - I dont know how that's possible since even I knew about T therapy, but that's neither here nor there.  My initial reaction was "no way are you doing that in this house with my son.  He's already had major issues with me "coming out" and starting a relationship with a woman.  Now you want to transition and expect him to figure THAT out?!  I have enough issues of my own (as do you)".  Needless to say, she was very hurt by this.  I did reassure her I would be there for her/support her, but I just couldn't allow my son to be affected again.  I certainly would not want to stand in the way of anybody's transition and was fully prepared to lose the relationship even if it hurt me to do so.

We agreed that she should at least go to counseling.  She found a therapist that specializes in gender issues in the area and had her first session yesterday.  I am glad she will have somebody to talk to.

So what's my point?  I'm not even sure.

J reads to my DS every night before bed.  I heard them talking one day and something was said about her being or acting like a man.  My DS seemed greatly relieved as was all "ALL MY PROBLEMS WOULD BE OVER!!".  Yeah kid.  Whatever.

I guess I don't know how to progress from here.  I know I need to see a therapist.  I just need somewhere to vent in the meantime I guess and this seems like a supportive place.  I have my own issues around the transition...like.... I like women.  I find women's bodies beautiful and men....eh, not so much.  I don't like stubble.  And the very first thing FTMs seem to want to do is grow that scraggly ass facial hair.  Like it is a badge of manhood. I love J, as a person/soul, so I don't worry about becoming unattracted, but in a period where I was already questioning and having issues around MY "coming out", now I have to figure out how I feel about being with a woman becoming a man.  It just seems overwhelming today.

(and, yes, I realize my pronouns of J are all wrong.  Proof that Im not there yet, I suppose)

Re: Need somewhere to think and get feedback

  • Thanks for sharing your story.  I am not sure that you wanted any particular advice/help/etc or that I would have any in particular to give. I do know a good number of trans people and do some co-trainings in my community around trans 101 issues, so there's that.  I just wanted you to know I read your post and can only imagine how challenging this must be to think about the "now whats" and "what will this mean for my family."  I hope you find this a supportive place...the people on this board are great.
  • I'm sorry you're going through this. Like madisonpeas, I'm not sure I have any specific advice to give, but I hope you find the support you need here.
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  • I am sorry you are struggling. I don't have any particular advice about being with a partner as they transition, but in case it is helpful I will share this: my dad is transgender, which I learned when I was 14. I am not sure how old you son is, but for me the concept was a lot more complicated than the application, if that makes sense. I didn't really have a framework to understand transgender and transitioning and those concepts, but I got my dad in a dress, or with makeup, etc. The day to day all was much much easier for me (and my siblings) than my parents expected. Maybe your son will surprise you.  While not all that well written, I found the book Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods---My Mother's, My Father's, and Mine by Noelle Howey helpful.

     Good luck--hope you get some support! 

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  • I'm sure this is a stressful time for your family.  I don't have any personal experiences to share, but I know that children are often a lot more flexible and open than we expect them to be. 

    A few weeks ago I heard a therapist who specializes in gender identity issues speak about doing couples therapy with couples where one person is transgender.  I have no idea how difficult these would be to find, but here are the citations for two things he's written about it:

    Malpas, J. (in press, 2012). Can Couples Change Gender: Couple Therapy with Transgender People and their Partners. In Bigner, J. & Wechtler, J. (Eds) Handbook of Couple and Family Therapy with LGBT People. New York: Routledge.

    Malpas, J. (2006). From ?Otherness? to Alliance: Transgender Couples in Therapy. In Journal of GLBT Family Studies, Volume 2, Numbers ?, pp. 183-206.

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  • I'm sorry this is all so overwhelming and difficult. My husband started transitioning about 6 months before we met, so I had a different experience than you're having. I'm also straight so I also didn't deal with the conflicting emotions that comes with being in a relationship with a person of the gender you aren't attracted to. But even so I can offer some of my experience that may be helpful.

    First, I found a lot of support on the FTMSO group on Yahoo. It is a really supportive group of women and men who are in all stages of the process. Some are like me and met their SO after transition, some had been married to their SO for 20 years when they decided to transition. I really think it would be a good place for you to look for experiences similar to your own.

    Second, it's not quite the same, but when my husband transitioned his nieces and nephews took it really well. They were all in the 5-10 age range and it really went super smooth. They had some questions occasionally but I think it just seemed natural to them because he was so masculine anyway.

    I know that this has to be scary for you, especially with all the changes you've already been through. But I really believe that it's possible to go through this process and retain a healthy, loving relationship. It would take a lot of work and remembering that if your SO decides to go through with the transition that it would be your transition too in that it would affect you. 

    I wish you all the best in this, feel free to PM me if you have any questions,

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  • Thank you all for the kind words and advice.

    I will definately look up the resources offered.  I am happy to hear that kids seem to take it well, I am not so much worried about him, but worried about him and peer pressure from the other kids.  I sometimes wonder if he really would rather J transition, but I am hesitant because once we get this ball rolling, it's not like we can stop and regroup.  It wouldn't be fair to J.

     

    N, you have PM.   :)

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