There and that she had lost the person
There are many different concepts brought up in the article Love Beyond Gender by Alysia Abbott. Including different perspectives, great visuals and impactful quotes. One of the experiences mentioned in the article is from Marcia Liverpool and Michael Shattuck who is now known as Trisha Shattuck who transitioned after being together for many years. Another experience mentioned is about is Sunni Drydum and her husband Mac Drydum who transitioned before they met. These experiences really demonstrate some of the work that goes into relationships when one partner comes out as transgender, and how it can be very complicated.
One of the several experiences mentioned in the article is about Marcia Liverpool and Trisha Shattuck. It mentions their past experience of being together for a decade and having two daughters. It then later talks about Michael’s process, and how he went through suicidal thoughts and even talked to a suicide hotline. At that hotline, they directed Michael to a discreet meeting group for people with gender dysphoria. After going on a journey of self-discovery, Michael became Trisha and slowly went through the process of altering her appearance. Although this was a good journey for Trisha, her partner Marcia was filled with anguish. She felt betrayed, and that she had lost the person that she had married. Which resulted in many fights, visits to therapists, and almost getting divorced several times. With time, they both came to the realization that they could get through this and that their relationship was really unchanged.
“We’re living in a time of unprecedented visibility for transgender.” A very true quote, which also helps to explain the presence of transgender people in the media. The presence of people who are transgender is very unprecedented and is something seen mostly in our generation in shows such as Transparent, and Orange is the New Black. It is a positive thing that transgender people are in the media, although a lot of details are not mentioned. Such as the experiences of those couples who choose to stay together through a gender transition. The usual situation used to be that a married man around the age of 50 comes out and his wife takes the kids and leaves. Although that is not really the case anymore. As Coolhart said, “more and more couples are staying together.” Even though more couples are staying together, it really varies how the partner will react. But with more overall acceptance trans people are coming out younger ages.
Another experience mentioned in this article is about Diane Anderson-Minshall, whose problem with the transition was not about her girlfriend Suzy, who now goes by Jacob, but a problem with self-identification. She used to label herself as lesbian, and with her partner’s transition, she really questioned if she could use that label for herself. She was very proud of that identity and bringing that into question caused her much stress. It led to backlash and overcompensation in many situations. Although that did not stop them, they continued in their relationship, and Diane came to realize that “she didn’t have to give up her own sexual identity to continue loving Jacob.” And that she is “part of a community, the sisterhood doesn’t go away.”
“It’s not just the individual who transitions but their loved ones as well.” Many of the experiences that the individual goes through can easily be transferred to their partner, if be the stigma, and assumptions. In relationships where a heterosexual male is dating a transgender woman, it was noticed that the partner received more stigma, due to people making assumption that their partner was just a coverup to them being gay. A man by the name of Thomas Matt talked about his experience and how when he went to Thailand and experienced his first encounter with someone who was transgender. But later dating a transgender woman from Thailand in a different experience, and being reluctant to tell other due to fear of judgement. And after returning from Thailand the second time he did research about issues faced by transgender people. And wrote an essay about his experiences. He then later met his now girlfriend Jannicet who is also transgender, meeting due to the writing of his paper.
This article also mentions the experience of Sunni Brydum. She identified as bisexual and did not experience any problems when she met her boyfriend Mac who transitioned before they met. Although neither of them were looking for a relationship at the time, they had an amazing connection and finally got together. The experience did not lead Sunni questioning her identity due to a strong sense of certainty.
In conclusion, this article shows many different perspectives, that many people would not have heard otherwise. More articles like this could lead to more informed and accepting of people in our communities.