I realize my post from earlier today was a bit maudlin, but I would like to say we had a great conversation overall with Jello. Another portion of that conversation I had with Jello in the car from Ikea was about boundaries. Mainly about what he felt comfortable with me talking about publicly about our relationship pre-transition.
To give a little feedback, I am on several FtM blogs/tumblrs/etc and some of the posts indicate that the transitioning husband (and wife sometimes) did not want their significant other of several years to keep pictures or talk publicly before they transitioned. Basically they were upset that their significant other wanted to keep pictures public, talk about publicly or in any way reference about the relationship pre-transition.
First, I want to say I understand why some people who transition want to do so in a stealth manner. They are in a situation that could be violent, lose their job, etc. Or perhaps they just don’t want to acknowledge it. I completely understand that viewpoint… However (and you knew there was going to be a “but” in this) I don’t think its entirely fair to the significant other that they have to forget about publicly at least (and in some cases they weren’t supposed to talk about the relationship pre-transition privately as well).
As the spouse of a transitioning person (and I would have felt this way beforehand), I don’t think its very fair to have someone who is not transitioning not only have to adapt to the changes of the transition, but not acknowledge or even celebrate the relationship that happened before the transition. So not only does that person have to grieve the loss of the dynamics of the previous relationship, they have to burn the entire set of publicly talking about those memories of that relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the transitioning person feels this way so its that dissonance between what the two parties that worried me on how Jello felt. I am reluctant to even consider not talking about Jello being my wife for 20+ years. I have a ton of pictures of him then, some of them even were quite sexy.
So we talked about it. I suspected he would be ok with me talking publicly and still keeping pictures and stuff like that. He confirmed it though, he has no problem with it. Then again he isn’t trying to stealth, and is fairly loud about being someone who is transitioning. He especially believes this is needed to give outside people more context about transitioning people. The more outside people see that, the more they realize that people that are transgender are not weird, unusual or anything other than their neighbors, family and friends.
I don’t know how I would have felt about getting rid of all photographs, but I was definitely willing to delete the super sexy ones. He reiterated he was fine with it. That is who he was for 40+ years. This means you will probably see pictures of Jello pre, mid, and post transition.
This helped a lot with my anxiety yesterday. It really offset the gut punch I had felt a few minutes early (and that was my problem, not Jello’s to begin with). I am very happy that I am married to a hot guy, but I am still allowed to show off and be proud I married a hot woman 21 years ago. I was worried that he would be uncomfortable with old pictures of himself, but the opposite seemed to be how he felt. It felt good to know I didn’t have to bury my history as I head into the new part of my life with the best spouse in the world.
That is about all there is on this subject at the moment, its early morning and I notice my post is starting to ramble, but I really want to write these things as they pop up and not let the posts slip away.
Fine way of describing, and nice piece of writing to take information regarding my presentation subject, which i am going to
convey in college.
I have many of the same feelings as you — it’s hard to figure out how to handle the remaining connections with the person that used to be, but I also think that partners need room and not just to have the years erased. I find that as transition goes on I feel more uncomfortable with those old images and ideas, but I wonder if that will fade and mellow a little since I think a lot of my discomfort is about reducing my own cognitive dissonance. We are having a trouble specifically with pictures right now, it feels both hard for everyone to have so many old images in the photo albums but it would also be hard NOT to have them there.
Oh, and it’s great to read your writing here, so thanks for it!!