My life in sex The wo­man whose hus­band is tran­si­tion­ing

The Guardian - Weekend - - Body & Mind -

I’ve been mar­ried 27 years to a man I love very much. We’d al­ways been happy and our sex life was pas­sion­ate un­til 10 years ago, when he an­nounced he wanted to live as a wo­man. There was no warn­ing, no dis­cus­sion, and I was shell-shocked; I told him that were he to have surgery, the mar­riage would be over.

We even­tu­ally ar­rived at a truce, whereby he agreed not to have surgery and I am try­ing to live with the way he presents him­self, which is stereo­typ­i­cally fe­male – us­ing makeup, dresses, tights and a bra. I find this hard to deal with; al­though I was very at­tracted to my part­ner as a man, I find it im­pos­si­ble to be at­tracted to him as a wo­man.

We get along well day to day, but I no longer want to make love to a per­son who wishes they didn’t have a pe­nis. I have no prob­lem with gay mar­riage, but this is not what I en­tered into. I firmly be­lieve that sex­u­al­ity is not a choice; you are gay or straight (or bi­sex­ual) as part of your makeup. If your part­ner de­cides to change gen­der, you are ef­fec­tively ex­pected to switch from straight to gay (or vice versa). A great deal of at­ten­tion has been paid in the past few years to trans peo­ple, but very lit­tle to their part­ners.

We have three chil­dren in their mid-20s: my two daugh­ters are fine with the change, but my son (our youngest) is very dis­turbed by it, and now lacks a male role model. Our friends ac­cept the change; as far as I know, I’m the only per­son who calls him by his old, male name.

We are hav­ing coun­selling and I hope one day we can ar­rive at a place where we are both happy. I’ve thought about life with­out him, and it’s just not an op­tion.

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