Doctor’s Note: Today’s column deals with trans issues and trans identities. Because of the nature of the topic I will be riding hard on the comments. Misunderstandings and sincere attempts to learn are understandable. Misgendering, perpetuating negative propaganda about trans people and general TERF bullshit will mean getting the banhammer.
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
My husband and I were each other’s “first” and now we have 2 kids and 15 years together. Over the last several months he has started exploring a more androgynous gender presentation, and a few weeks ago we had a long heart-to-heart in which he told me he wants to see a therapist who could help him sort out how to possibly transition to living as a woman. I’m pansexual (although it’s always been a moot point until now) and I will love him no matter how he identifies or dresses. If it makes him happy, I’m all for it.
That’s the easy part. The hard part is that we live in a deeply conservative part of the US and I can predict with 99.9% certainty that transitioning here would/will SUCK. His parents won’t understand, he just started a new job at a place that’s almost entirely cishet white men with beards, our kids will have a harder time at school, etc. Obviously transitioning would/will be a huge step and not one we could come back from.
My question: what can I do to support him finding what he needs? I have no problem telling his dad where to shove his “jokes” and our immediate circle of friends would be fine, but every time I think about how much crap he would/will have to face, it makes me feel sick. He hasn’t decided yet how much he wants to change (clothes? body? pronouns?) but trans/nonbinary people are all but invisible around here. I’d be happy to go out guns a-blazing but obviously it’s not about me and I don’t know how to prepare to be the supportive partner he’ll need.