This Post is for Katie

This blog is about my perspective as the wife of a transgender woman watching the early stages of their spouse’s transition. I chose to write because I needed an outlet for this energy, the emotional output that has drained me over the last year, replacing my blood with new cells, regenerating my identity. I also felt a sense of obligation to share my story with three distinct audiences:

The first audience is my family and friends. It is not a secret that I’m not very good at taking time for myself and that I am skilled at filling space where people need space filled. I knew that those who loved me would be worried, that they would want to know how I’m doing. To ease the frequency with which I have to update those who care, writing became a resource for them, helping them understand that I’m okay, or that I’m not.

The second audience is the spouses of those who are transgender. There is this group of people in the universe who have found and will continue to find themselves in a precarious gender identity dance, blindfolded and without an instruction manual. My story is in no way universal of this specific audience, but my hope was that writing about my experience would give others what I so desperately needed when Katie first came out: connection to someone who understood the precariousness of my experience. The balance supporting your loved one and also attending to your own needs is difficult and there is rarely space for both. As you attend to your loved one, you lose yourself. As you attend to yourself, you lose your loved one. To stay connected requires patience and communication unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The community of understanding created by those of you who have reached out to me is truly beautiful and I am so grateful for it. It will never be dissatisfying to know that kindness can exist in the thoughts of a stranger, that you really don’t have to be alone. All you have to do is trust.

The third audience is the general public. I do believe it is only through the education of others that change can take place. If my perspective on this experience remains secret, how can I expect to impact the social norms that are currently stressing my new life? I believe people should read and learn and converse with people like me and Katie with open minds. No person is immune from the responsibility and obligation of compassion. It is so much easier to judge the unknown than expand your own understanding. True wisdom comes in the acceptance that we cannot control what’s going to happen next and we cannot judge how people handle what is given them. All we can do is listen with patience and show empathy.

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to record an interview with Katie for the post I publish on the anniversary of The Outing. This blog is written entirely from my point of view. I do try and give Katie a voice where necessary, but from my own perspective. Readers have informed me several times that my blog is selfish and that I don’t understand what Katie is going through, insinuating that I do not have a right to my feelings. What I believe this opposing perspective lacks is the understanding that Transition, no matter what kind of transition you are experiencing, is selfish. It has to be. How can you transition any part of your life without turning inward? Even what I now view as simple transitions (moving, getting a new job, loss of life, or starting a family) require inward reflection of the self, a strengthening your own understanding of who you are so you can arm yourself and survive with the least damage possible. Gender Transition is no different. What is lost in the opposing perspective is the very idea that gender transition is not solely about the person physically/emotionally/hormonally transitioning, but also about the people in their lives completing their own transition alongside them. As those who support the transgender person work to ensure their needs are met, we also have to grapple with our own needs. I think it’s only fair that I give Katie a chance to explain what this this year has been like for her. So, while on top of Buckhorn Mountain over Labor Day Weekend, I did just that.

It should be noted that throughout the recording, you will hear clicking from many grasshoppers fluttering in and out of the landscape before us. Airplanes fly overhead, quieting our voices a couple times. The wind is our now-credited Third Whispering Character. We both shuffle frequently, readjusting our tired muscles, attempting to get more comfortable as we sat against a rock. You can hear me brushing away lost ants that mistakenly crawled across my legs. I’m also very aware that there are times where I interrupt Katie and cut her off. What can I say? I’m not a professional interviewer. This also became more of a conversation than I intended it to be. Whoops.

All of this said, this post is for Katie. Today marks one year in our new life, a year I could never have dreamed possible when we went on our first date. It is a year I wouldn’t wish on anyone and I am so glad I had her to hold my hand through it. No matter how difficult this year has been for me and for us, I am so grateful I get to know her from this vantage point. I used to not be able to imagine a world without Kyle in it, but now I can’t believe I was in a world with Kyle at all. I wouldn’t take this year back for anything. One year. I really cannot believe it.

For perspective, below is the view during my conversation with Katie. We really live a charmed and magical life.8Nz7FGvbS3mfT3N8gGjBxg

7 thoughts on “This Post is for Katie

  1. Meggan

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your thoughts with us through this blog! My husband came out to me as trans just over 4 months ago, and we have been navigating things since then. It’s been really hard – she actually ended up in the psych ward for a week and going on medical leave from her job – but we are taking it one day at a time, and she is doing much better now.
    When she first came out, it was hard for me to find any information about how other couples have dealt with this situation, because (as you’ve said) most couples don’t stay together, and there aren’t a lot of resources. Finding your blog was exactly what I needed…even when our situations aren’t quite the same, knowing that someone else is dealing with the same thing as me has been incredibly helpful. You and Katie are months ahead in the process, so it’s nice to be able to see where you are and imagine getting there.
    I can’t wait to keep reading about your story – I hope you continue sharing it! I will be forever grateful to you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Meggan! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to reach out. I’m sorry that this journey has been so difficult for you and your wife. This is a long road and while I can’t predict the future, I can tell you it does get easier and suddenly you look back and you’re in a different place than when you started. It’s truly remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! As I was listening to the recording, I was struck by how similar Katie’s and my stories, thoughts, and even speech patterns are!

    I have a theory about my own use of language – that when I was really young (2-ish), I had an interaction with another little girl where she told me that “you’re a boy and I’m a girl, and boys and girls don’t play together”. I was incredulous – I wasn’t a boy! But when I went to the adults, they told me that I was being silly – of course I was a boy. I was speechless – literally – I had no words to respond and tell them they were wrong. My theory is that I had felt so failed by language that I subconsciously resolved to never be at a loss for words again, and I’ve worked hard to study and hone my language ever since.

    Thank you for the fantastic blog! You’re filling an important void – the need for partners of trans people to have a community.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Marina

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve commented before that my wife and I follow your blog and it’s been such a great help in understanding that there are others out there going through very similar challenges as a couple.

    I try to refrain from posting in the comments as I feel like I might be intruding a bit into a space meant for spouses to support one another. But I really just wanted to say that hearing Katie tell her story was incredibly moving. Navigating childhood without being able to completely understand or communicate what you’re feeling was crippling at times. I learned early on to copy the boys and blend in to avoid standing out. Looking back, “masculine” wasn’t a word that described what I *was*, it was something that I *did*. It was an act. And I performed my life for way too many years by the script that the world had laid out for me because I didn’t know any better. In that time, I almost convinced myself that I was a “boy”. Almost.

    Many people don’t understand how you can just suddenly figure out that you’re transgender later in life. I suppose that in their minds, this reinforces the idea that it’s a “phase” or some kind of “illness” that you’ve contracted. I know that it was difficult for my wife to understand that this wasn’t some dark secret that I’d kept from her throughout our relationship. I know that she felt betrayed. But the truth was simple. I’d never understood what was wrong with me and I’d repressed so many memories of what made me different throughout my life to make it through.

    Thank you again for such an intimate glimpse into the relationship that you two share. It’s clear that it’s stronger now, tempered by such a difficult upheaval. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Stephani Fluke

    I am going to start this with a formal apology to you and Katie for getting a wee bit heated in this one but it has to be said. …..

    I get it and as a trans woman I thought this tidbit of info may be helpful to not only you and Katie but to any one that reads it.

    Let me touch base on the first group you mentioned. Friends and family…. in my experience those are the most confused people in this gender revolution as it’s been labeled by Katie Couric.. I believe that is because they knew the person from pre transition days and need time to adjust ( I am two years on HRT and my family has either completely written me off or still use my old name and gender even though that’s all been legally changed ,Sept 1st, 2017,) to the new names and pronouns.

    The second is for spouses….. it’s ok to tell them transitioning person that you need a “me day” and treat yourself. After all how can you help someone else if you can’t help yourself. Don’t get me wrong it may seem selfish for someone to transition, but isn’t it even more selfish to ask that person to not transition or stop transition to make your life easier even more selfish. After all this “new” person is the same person they were before. Just in a new body, and how is it fair to make them deal with life in the wrong body, but not fair that they want to, or are transitioning.

    And finally for the general public….. grow up and read a book, article in a paper or magazine, something just freaking educate yourselves. And why is it up to you how I live my life, how I live in my house. Am I hurting you or your loved ones being transgender….. no I just want to live my life free and how I choose …. not you. And as a combat veteran of this great country I believe I have earned my right to live how and who I want to be or am.

    Let us take a look at recorded history where transgender people have been listed as anything from godly persons and being on a new level of being while getting worshipped to where we are now being hunted just because we are different. Just grow up and focus on your family and not mine.

    Liked by 1 person

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