It has been over a month since my last entry here and it might have been longer but for reading Debra's post "Goodbye Letter to My Biological Parents".
Her situation saddens me terribly, and her response through her post seems to me to be the only healthy thing she can possibly do. It is necessary for her, and if her parents take it to heart, it will be healthy for them too. I felt and still feel angry at parents who lack unconditional love for their child who has gone through so much. I wanted to write a comment that might comfort her somehow, but couldn't think of anything helpful to say.
Upon reflection, here are some ideas that reflect my feelings on the subject of tolerance/intolerance from family.
Imagine parents waiting for the arrival of their child. Does dad want a boy? Maybe, but if he gets a daughter does the world end? Well if it does (are we in China now?) he isn't much of a parent. Does mom want a girl? She gets a boy and loves him just as completely as she would have a girl.
Now run the scene forward a lot of years and let's tell mom and dad that *surprise* the son they 'thought' they loved, the person they got used to and 'brought up' is in fact not a son at all, but a daughter. Tell them how painful life has been for their child, trying for all she was worth to be the person they wanted, but finally, she had to either become the woman she was destined to be, or die trying. This might be startling news and it could be hard to get used to, but let's be honest, there is only bigotry in suggesting you can only accept your child as being a male. In my opinion, you either love your child unconditionally, or you don't love them at all.
The rejection Debra experienced may be an extreme illustration of something I have noticed in many parents; the ones who use children as a way to live vicariously. They exert pressure to conform and succeed in a life they have imagined for their children. This is not parenting, it is slavery.
Sisters, brothers and children of a transsexual might find acceptance difficult but we need to give them time and let them realize that the alternative to transition is in fact death. No one goes through gender reassignment and all that goes with it for a lark. So, in time and with information that assures them that their parent, or sibling is still the same person, just healthier and happier, we can only hope that they will accept and build a new and hopefully stronger relationship.
Now a few words about spouses.
There seem to be all sorts of reactions to finding that your man isn't quite as manly as you expected. Some marriages manage to survive, even into transition. For a while (and incorrectly I will add), stories like this seemed to say something bad to me about my wife. "Why couldn't she be tolerant?" "Why doesn't she love me that much?" That was in the past. My perspective on this now is that it says nothing about my wife, but instead says something about those spouses who are able to accept and build a new relationship. Perhaps they could have fallen in love with another woman at any time. The fact that their current spouse revealed that side caused less upset for them because for them, love is love and they are comfortable as a lesbian.
My wife has always said she married a man and expects to live with a man. When my therapist and I discussed this, she suggested that if there is real unconditional love, then it shouldn't matter. I felt very uncomfortable at that suggestion and its implication that somehow my wife was flawed because she just didn't love me enough to accept this part of me.
The truth as I see it now is that my wife is not one of those who could ever have fallen in love with another woman. She is not comfortable becoming a lesbian. It seems my wife and I both have conditions that are not negotiable. I am transsexual. She is heterosexual.
I can hear that chorus telling me these are not the same sort of thing, so let me elaborate. For my wife to continue to live with me, either I need to remain visibly male, and hide the feminine parts away, or, she needs to become a lesbian. If she tries to be a lesbian, as someone who has the 'heterosexual condition', she will suffer from dysphoria. In other words, for me to be cured, we must separate, or she must get sick.
It is over two years since the start of this blog, my search for a way to stay a man on this strange planet, even though I was becoming more and more female.
Somehow, I must find the balance between self care and martyrdom.