S2 Ep 11: The Cis-Spouse Bill of Rights

Guest: Helen Fitzgibbons

What’s the “right” way to respond when your spouse comes out as transgender? Cis-Spouses often hear plenty of opinions on the matter, especially from people who have not experienced the gender transition of a partner. Family members may pressure the cis-spouse to divorce their transgender spouse and cut ties, even if the cis-spouse wants to maintain the relationship. Conversely, the cis-spouse may hear that they are supposed to stay with their transitioning spouse and “love the person, not the gender,” even if that is at odds with their own sexual orientation and authentic sexual expression. Cis-spouse Helen Fitzgibbons created a “Cis-Spouse Bill of Rights” to empower cis-spouses to honor their own experience of their partner’s gender transition, whatever that experience may be.

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2 responses to “S2 Ep 11: The Cis-Spouse Bill of Rights”

  1. Lizzy says:

    Thank you for the great podcast!

    My partner came out as a transgender nearly 2 years ago. After the initial shock (which brought me to the hospital due to acute stress reaction) I somehow managed to be supportive towards my partner. I encouraged him/her to dress up as a woman in public and recommended him/her to get a referral to the gender identity clinic etc.

    I didn’t personally feel ashamed of her/him but have to admit it was a turn-off for me to see him/her wear lacy knickers and a bra … I didn’t appreciate him/her trying on my clothes withou asking me first, either.

    He/she decided not to get any hormonal treatment or operations then. I thought I could live with him/her dressing up…. He/she stopped doing that for some reason, too! I tried to talk but didn’t really get any proper answer.

    Now at this point we are both unhappy. I also miss intimate life with a person whom I love. The last time was… eh… 7 months ago. . I feel ugly and unloved because of that.

    I think I must have been living at a strange ”denial/bargaining ”state during the past 2 years …. and don’t quite know why myself.

    At an intellectual level I know this is never going to work: he/she can’t and shouldn’t deny her true being and I cannot imagine myself mysteriously turning to be a Lesbian, either. I like men in a romantic sense. Period.

    Despite of all that, why is it so hard to give up? When do these mixed feelings of anger, love, betrayal, self-hatred, affection etc. become any easier to bear? I’d love my partner to have a honest and open discussion before separating, too, but I fesr I’ll never get any answers that would make my healing at least a little bit easier.

    I’d very much appreciate feedback from others who are or have been in a similar situation, please.

    • Kristin Kalbli says:

      Lisa, There is a robust dialogue and support happening in the OurPath private group for Partners of Trans People. Are you in that? If you aren’t, submit a request for a support contact through the website and request to be put in that group! There is also a virtual meeting just for Partners of Trans people.

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