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a precarious balance

I got a text on my cell this week from a trans person I hadn't seen for over 10 years. At that time each of us was married (he remains so to the same woman) and we met in a Montreal café which no longer exists to compare life experiences on being trans. The conversation flowed and we lost touch after that. But he reminded me during our brief text exchange this week how challenging living with dysphoria while being married can be; all the more so when that union is strong and we wish to keep it that way.

When I was being treated at the hospital gender program in 2007 they were struck by how apologetic I was for being trans. I didn't give myself an inch and over time I came to realize that part of self acceptance comes with a little self preservation. So while our spouses tell us how hard it is for them, we wallow in repression and unfulfilment. Far from saying that we ignore the partner's wishes I am proposing that balance is not keeping our identities hidden in a closet. But our instincts carry us there because guilt is part of our everyday lived experience so when they wince we back away apologetically.

I am in the situation, whether enviable or not, where I won't do that any longer because I simply cannot.

Of course balance is a highly subjective thing for a couple and what some would find acceptable others would deem grounds for divorce. My only counsel would be to carefully evaluate what balance truly means especially if you value your health. Because at its worst, gender dysphoria is a debilitating and life draining beast. If you are a transsexual as I am you don't have a choice for it is permanent and unrelenting and you must find a way to grapple with it. Sometimes sheer will isn't enough (which was the case for me) and I was slowly sinking.

If you can stay married and balance your life it is by far the best solution but each must add some water to their wine; not just the trans person.

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Comments

  1. What I know from walking that path might bring little comfort, yet here it comes.

    As you might know, when I started blogging, my only purpose was to find a way to keep my marriage, and somehow learn to live as a male. I failed in both. I desperately wanted find a balance.

    Eventually, however, self-preservation dictated that I had to stop living to please others, whether they were family or friends or strangers who might find out I am different.

    Along the way, the balance point shifted, over and over until finally I accepted myself.

    I had to give myself permission to become me.

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    1. your words don't bring comfort to those who are striving for that balance but I am in complete agreement with you Halle. We cannot be someone we are not to please others because it is too difficult to keep that up. However if some formula works for both it may be possible to bridge the gap. I have tried desperately over my life to walk that tightrope and it ultimately did not work hence what is left is to give myself permission to be myself...

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