U.A Nigro on finding compassion and understanding when love and gender transition collides. - Trans Partners on Transgender Universe

I remember so vividly; the weeks and months after my wife came out to me as transgender. I knew nothing about the transgender world or the experience of transitioning. I worked so hard to educate myself on the subject, and my children as well. I read everything I could find on the Internet and watched every movie out there on the subject. I knew my spouse struggled with depression and most of the time felt out of place in the world. Perhaps this was the reason why? Perhaps this was the answer to her happiness and the happiness of our family?

“I could never be so vicious to someone I love so much.”

She sought out a gender therapist and began weekly sessions. Within a few weeks I knew in my heart that this was her truth. I watched as the misery and self-loathing melted away. Never once did it cross my mind to tell her not to transition. Never once did I give her a list of rules to follow in order to transition. Never once did I give her ultimatums about transitioning. I could never be so vicious to someone I love so much. I could never be so selfish. To stand in the way of someone else’s happiness is just evil in my opinion.

U.A Nigro on finding compassion and understanding when love and gender transition collides. - Trans Partners on Transgender Universe

So why are there so many partners out there who do this? The thought of this is absurd to me and quite frankly makes me angry. What if your partner comes home from the doctor with a cancer diagnosis? Would you put limitations on how and when they could get treatment for that? Would you ask them to postpone treatment until the children were old enough to understand it? Would you tell them they could only get treatment one weekend a month? Would you ask them not to tell anyone about this treatment because those people may judge you? I sincerely hope not.

“As a society we need to inject more love and understanding into the world.”

As a society we need to inject more love and understanding into the world. We need to stop practicing religions that teach us to hate and fear certain groups of people. We need to stop treating scientific facts as just another fictional story written by J.K. Rowling, and we need to shut off the intolerance we feel toward one another. Along with my children, my partner is the most important person in my life. If I thought that being in a relationship with a woman was not right for me, I would of course mourn the loss, but I would move on with my life and let her live hers. My love for her is greater than anything else on this planet.

As a child I was told that in order to receive love, first you must love yourself. This was a very confusing statement to a little girl of ten. It was not until I became an adult did I understand its meaning. Let’s pretend for a second that the shoe was on the other foot and I was the person in the relationship who realized they were transgender. How would I want my spouse to treat me? Would I want them to turn their back on me, kick me out, or tell me if I transition they are leaving me? Would I hope for a list of rules and ultimatums? Absolutely not! I would hope to receive compassion, understanding, and love. Before you say something that might hurt your partner, who is already depressed enough, stop and put yourself in their place. Think before you speak.

  • Michaela Eff

    uh oh… you are opening a can of worms, aren’t you?

    It all depends on what a couple sees their marriage as.

    Do they see it as a union of soulmates, who have drifted through the universe to collide one day, and make a single entity, that cannot be seperated but by death alone? (and even death might not, I have learned about couples who managed to die both within the same hour.)

    Or, is it a contract? A deal, where both parties have agreed on a set of rules, that they mutually follow – or try to not get caught when not? And it is a fact, there are some Ts & Cs in that contract, that no one thought about to write down, like “he is a man, she is a woman” because this was obvious from the very beginning.

    Probably the truth is somewhere in between, and will change with time. I feel it is obvious to see, what it takes for a marriage to survive a change like this.

  • Quiet Dignity

    Having lived through this as the trans spouse, I can assure you that transition, despite the benefits to the trans person, is a huge impact to the straight spouse. Years ago, when reading Helen (Kramer) Boyd’s books, I was able to take to heart the importance of giving your partner a chance to come to terms with what they have to face. Some partners will be able to sort out their feelings and eventually support their trans SO, and others won’t. I tend to believe that when the straight partner can’t get there, it is tied to their own self-image and fears about the loss of friends and family when the transition occurs. Bias and transphobia feed those fears, but ultimately the situation is a test of the love and acceptance that healthy relationships need to survive. Failing to put the trans person’s agony ahead of your own needs suggests that the trans partner’s well being is of less importance than self-image and it’s best to separate.

    I wish all partners could easily reach the conclusions you did, but the divorce statistics tell us how rare a person you are. So many marriages are fragile to begin with, and perhaps love and support falls victim quickly in those situations. I’m sure that time will help those struggling to accept to reach a point of realizing that their trans partner is at risk without their unconditional love and support.

  • scrubba

    My now “Ex ” thought NO ONE would ever wish to transition who was in a “Right frame of mind ” . To her , only Gay men wanting to play Drag Queens did the life of a female . I warned her in spite of her wanting to marry me that I really was the “REAL DEAL” . Our marriage began to unravel in a year . By that time , I had a son and today , that child lives with me . . I knew at age six , I was no male and years later , addiction , attempting suicide twice and remaining in occupations trying to prove “My manliness ” took it’s toll on my health . If you find yourself in Richmond Virginia between now and next fall, stop by the Valentine History Center , a museum about Richmond Va . I am a part of the recently opened exhibit , “One Love “