Contributing to the Change
A Significant Other View
by Julie Freeman
June 8, 2009
Editor's Note: Ms Freeman is the long time wife of a crossdresser. Her column "A Significant Other View" appears regularly in Devil Woman. She has given permission to reprint what follows.
Contributing to the Change
As many of you know, I belong to an on-line support group for wives and partners of transgendered individuals. This group ranges from women who are completely supportive and understanding of their partner's transgenderism to those who are hostile, repulsed, and completely intolerant. Most are somewhere between the two extremes, so emails can flow hot and heavy as viewpoints are debated, questioned, argued, and even ridiculed. Emotions run high, and it is rare indeed when anyone can look at an issue completely dispassionately.
Currently, the theory being suggested by those more unforgiving of their partner's transgenderism is the belief that those wives who support their husbands may in fact be contributing to their husband's march towards transsexualism. These wives feel that if they become supportive, they are giving the green light to a crossdressing husband becoming a transsexual partner.
This belief may explain why so many wives refuse to attend support groups for wives and partners. They truly believe that if they join a group, their husbands will not only believe they have been given carte blanche to crossdress whenever and wherever they please, but also to transition if they so desire. They may arrange to meet another wife for lunch to learn more, but then simply not show up at the last minute. This is so common that arranging meetings at the convenience of a "newbie" backfires more often than not.
For those wives who do venture out to support groups or do join on-line support for help with the crossdressing, listening to others suggest that by becoming supportive they will be encouraging a sex change terrifies these women. Who knows just how many drop out of support groups because they are subjected to tirades by non-supportive wives. On-line groups are very difficult to track as people come and go for a variety of reasons.
It becomes important for all support groups to reiterate over and over, as necessary, to their members how important it is that correct information be given to the wives. And for that matter correct information be given to the transgendered individual as well. We all know stories of crossdressers who believed they were transsexual and rushed to make changes without thoroughly investigating the repercussions of their decisions and sometimes not even consulting a medical professional first. They often did not consider how their changes would impact families, friends, jobs, etc.
So accurate information must be available to both the wife and her transgendered spouse. The wife needs to know that a crossdresser does not simply become a transsexual. That he will need to follow guidelines set down by the medical community to help determine whether he truly is transsexual or just a crossdresser who is like the "kid in the candy store" where more is better. And he needs to know that simply thinking oneself is transsexual is not the same as actually being transsexual.
Now, it is probably likely that if a husband is truly, medically, a transsexual, it will be easier for him to pursue that course of action if his wife is supportive. For those who are truly transsexual, having an unsupportive wife may impede their journey and they may, indeed, postpone any thoughts of surgery as their families remain more important to them. Unfortunately, for both crossdressers and transsexuals, having an unsupportive partner can lead to depression, anxiety, and undue stress. But whether or not a transgendered individual decides to transition is a medical procedure with proper protocols in places, not dependent on a wife's support or non-support for that matter.
So frightening wives into believing that they may be responsible for their husbands' transitioning because they become accepting and understanding is wrong and irresponsible. There is already too much despair in many relationships without adding biased and incorrect information into the mix. How sad to think that incorrect information being circulated by hostile significant others could prevent a potentially supportive wife from becoming more positive in her partner's expression of his transgendered personality.