A Significant Other View
by Julie Freeman
Orignally published in "Devil Women" September 2014
Republished here by permission February 4, 2017
At a recent gathering, some interesting questions were posed by a member to a group of significant others.
Is it easier for a wife, if her father is a crossdresser rather than her husband?
Is it easier for a mother, if her son is a crossdresser rather than her husband?
A few of us talked at length about both questions and pretty much decided that a wife generally would never think of "'divorcing" her father or her son. But divorcing a husband is certainly not uncommon.
So why is this? In many cases, of course, the father may live in another town, perhaps even in another state. Certainly the contact is not the same as that with a husband.
A transgendered son, if adult, may well live in another area as well. So once again the contact with the mother may be infrequent and occasional.
But with a husband the contact of course is every day, and the issues around acceptance or rejection are up front and in each other's face so to speak. There is no time "away" from the person and the problems the crossdressing has triggered.
My mother-in-law for example has never seen her son crossdressed. She is somewhat aware of his activities, but for the most part steers clear of the subject and has made it evident that my father-in-law is not to be told.
I have no doubt that she would never have tolerated crossdressing in her husband and just chooses to look the other way when it comes to her son. Since they do not live together, she has never had to decide whether to accept or reject the behavior. She simply avoids the issue.
I have met an occasional mother who has a transgendered son. Generally, she is more accepting than the father who may have no tolerance at all for his son's decisions. The female friends of this mother are usually sympathetic and compassionate, but then it is not known just how much contact they have with the son. It is also not known just how many of these sympathetic friends would allow their children to have contact with transgendered children. For many, out of sight is generally out of mind in these situations.
I decided to ask my on-line support group what they thought. As was to be expected, most of them said it was harder with the husband because of the sexual component and possible sex change consideration. For so many wives, the dread of becoming a lesbian is overwhelming and devastating. I myself have never understood this fear, but it definitely plays a huge factor in whether to accept transgenderism or not.
One wife believed it depended on the wife's attitude towards the people involved. There is a grieving process regardless of whether the crossdresser is a father, son, or husband. Relationships will change and life will be different. When talking to crossdressers themselves about their children's acceptance, the answers vary even within families. Some children have no problems, are totally accepting. Others do not want to see the parent and are extremely intolerant.
Broken families may be the result regardless of the relationship. Just received an email where a crossdresser mentioned his sister, a psychiatric nurse, who said his behavior was "sick." So that begs the question - is it easier being the wife of a crossdresser or the sibling of a crossdresser?
As with so many questions, there is no one answer, just more questions.