Finding out your spouse is LGBTQ, while you are straight, is painful, without a doubt. My own experience only includes the “G” in the acronym, but I have had the blessing of meeting so many who can relate to the other letters, which has given me much needed insight.
The themes and feelings are mostly similar, though. Here are several:
- Reality vs. Perceived Reality
- Sorrow and Mourning
- Desire to know the truth…all of it
Then there are the questions of what to do. Can they change? Can this be fixed? Is divorce the only option? What about the kids? My church family? My extended family? Will I ever find true love again? Am I even loveable? What could I have done differently? Who am I without them?
You feel alone. Are there any books, a step-by-step program to help me through this? Is anybody out there who can help me? Give me answers. Give me solutions. I need them now!
In my own unique journey in this (because even though there are similar themes, each person’s scenario is different) I came to the realization that if society, religion, bullying and inner painful thoughts hadn’t have been a part of my ex husband’s life, maybe he could have lived authentically and not caused the hurt and pain that myself, my kids, my friends and my family had to endure. We wouldn’t have married. I wouldn’t have spent years with him building a life, a paradigm and a geriatric future with him, only to find myself alone.
But then…I wouldn’t have my beautiful Three Little Birds with him. I wouldn’t have grown to know who I am at my core. I wouldn’t be sitting here today on my amazing front porch thinking and writing these thoughts and loving others without condition.
So I stop right there. I cannot soak in regret. I am thankful that I married him.
I learned to get to know and love myself without anyone else in my life except those who the Universe brought to me as a gift. We only get one life that we really know of for sure, and wasting it away by staying stuck in the list above in is not where I want to be.
I intentionally chose to change my way of thinking about LGBTQ people, from one of a “choice” and “lifestyle” to love, empathy and acceptance. But it took me a long while to get there. Even if you don’t ever get to where I am, that’s okay. I love you unconditionally, too.
Out of all of the letters in the LGBTQ acronym, however, I have had the toughest time grasping the “T”. Transgender, for me, is tough to understand. But I am trying. I am accepting. I have empathy.
So now, we come to Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner. It is non-stop chatter in the media, and people’s true selves and ideas of “authentic life” are brought to the surface. Sometimes with support, but sometimes with vitriol.
In my high school English class this week, my students immediately brought Caitlyn to my attention, as though they were sharing brand new information. God bless them. They know me well, and often seek to know my opinion on subjects. Most of the time, we teachers have to tread lightly on so many tough subjects, but in my small charter school, it is much easier to be transparent.
“Oh my God! Did you see the cover of Vanity? Isn’t that crazy? What do you think, Emily?” (At Rainshadow Community Charter High School, students call teachers by their first names. Weird, I know, but it really is a good thing for these at-risk teens.)
What I said and what I thought were two completely different things. What I said was: “She is beautiful. It has been a long journey for her and she needs love.”
However, what I was thinking was: This must be so painful for those who are experiencing the reality of a spouse coming out as transgender. It is all over the news and they can’t escape it. They must be reliving the memories of someone they thought was one gender, but lived a lie and sucked them into it.
Like, maybe they are revisiting some of the stuff that I listed in the beginning; I dare say even more than what I listed. Maybe a wife or husband or their children are seeing a mom transform into a dad, or vice versa. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel when people joke in comments or memes about Caityln being prettier than Kris, or the Wheaties box of Bruce being changed into Fruity Pebbles. “She totally knew! No sympathy!” Or jokes about makeup or harsh comments that God only made male or female and that transgender people are pedophiles.
So I am writing this, ultimately, to support you, the straight spouse, during this most difficult time. That goes for everyone’s experiences, whatever letter describes your life in the acronym, but especially those of you who understand better than I do regarding Transgender people.
So, this post is brought to you by the letter “T” as in transgender, tough, and transition.
And for the word “transformation” for yourself, the straight spouse of a transgender individual. Because not only is your spouse transitioning, but what you are going through can at times feel tragic, troublesome and traumatic. And where you will be, after you come into your own, is something beautiful and transformed, even if you can see it yet.
Talking Ts and Transcending Travesty,