Monday 12 September 2011

sic transit

Ten years on, my transition from male to female is pretty much something-I-once-did, and the main transitions on my mind these days are the ones from young to old (or (eek!) from middle-aged to old), and from occasional seafarer to illustrator. And whatever other transitions life throws at us all, of course.

There are people I know, and count as friends, who are at earlier stages of their own journeys, and with destinations uncertain. Which can be hard going, sometimes. I was just reading a blog by the wife of a MtF transitioner, which made uncomfortable reading because I recognised, in the description of the transitioning partner, some resonances with my own transition; my self-centredness, my selfishness, I suppose. I also recognised that sense of simmering resentment from the wife. I recall a friend whose partner worked hard to develop a musical career, while she supported them as best she could, paying the bills, cooking for the musos who were always around the place, trying to be positive and not feel marginalised. And after a few years, the partner said, "I've changed; I've been mixing with artistic and creative people..."

Some of us have growth spurts in our self-development. If we're lucky, anyway. If we're even luckier, our partners, if we have partners, will be developing in their own way and with a sufficient overlap of sympathies, affection, or possibly love, for the relationship to survive, or (better still) to flourish.

Some people stay together through insecurity or inertia, and put up with a large pile of personal unhappiness. Sometimes you don't recognise how unhappy you have been until it's all over, and one day you wake up and spend a while wondering what this strange feeling is that you've got, and then you recognise that you're happy. Been there.

And some people break up, and you look at them and think what a shame it was, because they seemed to be so good for each other.

No hard and fast rules. We're all on different paths, and write our own happy endings. Being trans is quite a big thing, but there are lots of other big things out there too. It's not uniquely wrong or evil to transition; it doesn't disqualify you from rights or responsibilities, any more than coming out as a musician. Say.

Good luck, everyone who's journeying or who's with someone who's journeying (which is a journey, too, of course, though possibly with someone else at the helm). I wish you well.


  1. That you for your wise words, Dru - they come at an apposite time.

  2. Yes, it's both a creative and a destructive process, with winners and losers, and 'collateral damage' that can never be repaired.

    The link led to the blog of a lady I have actually met - I met the transitioning half as well - and like you I find it uncomfortable and indeed upsetting reading.


  3. I hope all is well, Catherine. Maybe time for cup of tea and chat?

    Yes, it was uncomfortable, Lucy. But I also want to point out the sometimes disproportionately hostile response to a transitioning partner, from spouses and wider circles of acquaintance. Not that I'm suggesting it is the case here; but I have seen partners behaving really very badly and come out of it smelling of roses because the nature of their actions was thought more socially-acceptable, or at least more common. And people transitioning who've been treated rather badly, because they are thought to have gone beyond the pale by doing so. ...guess I'm just saying that you shouldn't beat yourself up too much for being trans if you're trying to do the right thing too.

  4. Thank you Dru,as Catherine said, for your wise words. The blog does make for upsetting reading, but I suppose whatever we do affects others, and it's unrealistic to think otherwise. It's just that sometimes it all feels like a bit of a damage-limitation exercise.