When someone transitions, they’ve no doubt put a whole lotta thought and heart into the decision. It’s a commitment that will affect the rest of their lives.
While they’re the ones who undergo the physical changes to alter their gender, they’re not the only ones affected. Family and friends are impacted, regardless of whether they agree with the choice.
I read a great article about this today and I thought I’d share it here. It discusses the story of Dade Barlow and Tiffany Grimes who were married as a same-sex couple before Barlow, born female, transitioned to become a male. It’s a fascinating tale of watershed realizations and true love.
One of Barlow’s quotes struck me:
If you don’t recognize that your partner is having a process as well, your relationship is not going to work. It’s affecting both of you, so you need to pause and give breathing room.
It’s so true. While Barlow’s wife didn’t transition, she did ‘have a process,’ as he stated. Grimes said she actually “grieved” the loss of her wife before she could accept her new husband. She had to come to understand this was not a choice … it was who he was meant to be, and she needed to come to terms with that before she could move forward by his side.
The couple remained married and now has a child together.
For every story like this (and there likely aren’t many), there are hundreds more in which the partner couldn’t accept the decision and the couple split up. And then there are parents who can’t – or won’t – accept a child’s decision to transition. In these cases, the loved ones’ lives are altered in different ways, but impacted nonetheless.
For anyone who’s transitioned, I’d love to hear about how those around you “had a process,” whether it is a parent, spouse, or friend. Please feel free to share your story by commenting below or privately messaging me, if you prefer.
And for those who’ve gone through a loved one’s transition by their side, bravo for supporting them. Whether you agree or even understand, you embody the words “unconditional love.” And these days, that’s no small feat.
Since gender dysphoria has nothing to do with sexual preference (did I get that right?), I can imagine it is really tough to be sexually attracted to someone who wishes to transition to a gender you are not attracted to. The love must go really deep to survive that kind of psychic abandonment.
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Agreed, Jerry! That would be a real challenge for most people, I think. Not an easy situation to work through.