When my wife first came out to me as transgender I searched everywhere for support. I read everything I could on the Internet about being transgender, but there was nothing for a partner or a spouse. I called my local LGBTQ+ center, but they only had meetings once a month on a night that I had to work and offered me nothing else. I was desperate to talk to other people who were going through what I was. I was desperate to know that I wasn’t alone. Was there anyone else that had gone through this and was able to keep their marriage together? Eventually I found a group on Facebook for partners and spouses of transgender individuals. It was the first time I felt that I didn’t have to go through this enormous change in my life alone.
“If I had not found this group of people, I might have gone crazy. They are amazing.”
If I had not found this group of people, I might have gone crazy. They are amazing. We have open and honest conversations about everything related to our partner’s transitions. Without judgment or fear, we exchange our thoughts, and ideas, and give each other practical advice. However, as time went by I felt as though I needed more. I needed a community. So once again I went in search of people like me who were navigating transition alone. I was looking to find some kind of support group. The purpose of a support group is to connect people who have common experiences or concerns for the same thing so they could provide each other with encouragement, comfort, advice, and support. So my wife and I started our own support groups.
When I am around cisgender people who know that I am married to a transgender woman I feel as though I am being put under a microscope. Like they are whispering to each other about what a weirdo I am. I feel like I can’t share or add anything to the conversations between women who are all talking about their husbands. It is awkward and extremely uncomfortable. I am perceived as a minority among my own peers. Then, our little support groups started last January. I can’t begin to tell you how fantastic it is to have a safe space to just be happily married to my transgender wife. To exclaim out loud that I am in fact in love with this woman and we have a wonderful life together. It is an extremely marvelous feeling.
“It is extremely important for partners and spouses to find support or some kind of community during transition.”
Your friends and family can say that they support you and your decision to stay with your transgender partner, and that is wonderful. But, they will never be able to relate to your situation or what you are going through (unless they have gone through transition with someone that they love). It is extremely important for partners and spouses to find support or some kind of community during transition. Living through this experience alone is just not good for your own mental health. Having people that you can relate to, share with, and discuss your issues with is priceless. So if you can’t find it, build it. A good place to start is with your partner’s therapist. Ask if they see other transgender folks and if they would be willing to do a meet up. You won’t know unless you ask.
Preserving my marriage and finding new ways to grow our love through transition was and still is an important priority in my life. Other couples can do the same and come through this together if you work toward the same goals. This coming Friday is the anniversary of when my wife first asked me out in high school. That date will always have a special place in my heart because my life has never been the same. Her unconditional love for me, and mine for her, has no limitations or conditions. Without her, I would cease to exist. Thankfully we were able to continue to love each other with the help and support of our little community. I will forever be in awe of her strength and courage to live this life as her true authentic self and will stand beside her through whatever comes our way. All because I have my own support system to lean on whenever I need to.