Partners & Transitioning

This section is included for transitioning adult transgender or gender-diverse people who have a partner/spouse/husband or wife.

Resources can also help parents of an adult child who is transitioning and has a partner.

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Young Couple at Home
Couple in Nature

SUPPORT GROUPS & SITES FOR PARTNERS

OF TRANS & NON-BINARY PEOPLE

Pflag Canada, Edmonton Chapter
The Edmonton Chapter is a 16+ support group for parents, family, allies and LGBTQ+ people.
The Chapter also welcomes partners (of transgender people who may or may not be transitioning) to their meetings for support.

Meetings are currently online on the second Saturday afternoon of the month, and the last Wednesday evening of the month.

Contact: Lyn Markham (She/Her), Edmonton Pflag Chapter Leader
1-888-530-6777  Ext 581

Click for:  EMAIL.   FACEBOOK PUBLIC GROUP.   FACEBOOK PRIVATE GROUP.

​​​Distinction Support. Supporting partners of transgender/non binary people.   (US?)

“Distinction is a support organisation started in 2014 and is a network made up of many supportive partners aimed at supporting other partners of Trans/Non-Binary people who want to support their partner. We give them a safe space to discuss and share personal feelings.”

TransGenderPartners.com 

Support for significant others of transgender persons.   (US)

“Stimulate social conversation and raise the awareness of the effect that gender transitioning has on the Significant Others, Friends, Families, and Allies (SOFFAs) of transgender persons — especially in the early stages of transition. …we hope TransgenderPartners.com fills a need; that it gives voice to SOFFAs’ experiences and expands the support by family/marriage and gender therapists, online LGBTQ support organizations, medical professionals, clergy and others; and that it encourages support for both SOFFAs and transgender people’s mental and emotional well-being.”

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FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE

"PARTNER OF THE PERSON TRANSITIONING"

 

 

9 Ways to support your transitioning partner

By Joe Rissacher.

“A conflicting time filled with both emotional turmoil and happiness, choosing to transition from the gender identity you were prescribed at birth to the one that feels authentically like yourself can be straining on a relationship.”

Episode 7: Medical Transition: Top Surgery

By Jake and Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between. Podcast, Season 1, Episode 7. Feb 2020.  (Alberta)

“In this episode we talk about Jake’s path to top surgery and his experiences of the procedure and the recovery process. We also discuss the role of the partner and Meaghan Ray’s experience during each stage of this process.”

Episode 8: Legal transition

By Jake and Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between. Podcast, Season 1, Episode 8.  Feb 2020.

“We start by talking about Meaghan Ray’s thoughts on top surgery because we didn’t have time in the previous episode. Then we talk about Jake’s process of changing his legal name and gender marker, Meaghan Ray’s role as his partner through that process, and Meaghan Ray’s thoughts on potentially changing their name and gender marker in the future. This is the last episode in this series which has focused on the various stages of transition as we have experienced them so far.“

Finding support

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Nov 2018.  (Alberta)

“Whether you’re the one trying to figure out your gender or you partner is questioning theirs, you need a support system. This can come in many forms. Below are a few of the types of support I have found useful.  I think of support as a two way street. Ways that you are participating, communicating with others, where they know who you are. I think of resources as something you look at where the person who put it out there doesn’t know who you are. This post is about support. If you’re looking for resources, also useful but less personal, see my resources page.”

Further reading

By Distinction Support. Supporting partners of transgender/non binary people.

Media articles, podcasts, etc - list of resources.

Gender transition as a hero's journey

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Nov 2021.  (Alberta)

Followed by "My hero's journey, so far" blog post.

"The heroes in our favourite stories all start out as ordinary people. Their journeys often follow a similar pattern as they face trials and tribulations, discover their inner strength, and return triumphant. Joseph Campbell orginally described this story arc using 17 stages (and fairly problematic language). It has since been revised into 12 stages, most recently by Christopher Vogler.

    As it turns out, these stages match the emotional stages of a gender transition pretty closely. Which means trans people are all heroes or heroes-in-training!

Here’s how it looks:

    There are three parts: Departure (the beginning), Initiation (the middle), and Return (the end). These are broken down into the 12 stages.

    The journey starts with the hero in the ordinary world living in a harsh and unforgiving external light in a state of unhappiness, stress, ignorance, and/or confusion.

They move to a new, extraordinary, or special world during the Initiation phase. Here they move through darkness as they struggle to discover their own internal source of light.

    They then return to the ordinary world in a state of triumph and rebirth, having learned how to shine brightly from withinwith. They now have a new perspective, skill, or, in our case, identity.

    As I was thinking about the steps in the Hero’s Journey and lining them up with the experience of gender transition, it was interesting how easy it was to see. Some of the original wording even makes sense without changing much except the context."

Help! My partner just told me they’re trans!

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Oct 2018.   (Alberta)

I know who you are, but what am I?  A partner’s perspective on transgender love
by Ali Sands 2016.  Autobiography.
“With a refreshing voice of raw honesty and vulnerability, Ali Sands journaled her search for identity as her partner physically transitioned from female to male. Beginning with the awareness that her partner is transgender, through hormone therapy and multiple surgeries, Ali and her partner experienced many physical and emotional changes.

    In this courageous and gripping memoir, Ali shares her experiences as she navigates her partner’s transition. Holding strong to her love for her partner and her belief in her own truths, Ali persevered through family rejection and found that chosen family supported her journey. She also grew an enduring love and power found in committing to an ever-changing relationship. A poignant and searching account of a brave woman who almost lost her own identity even as she helped the love of her life establish his.”

Love lives here: A story of thriving in a transgender family
by Amanda Jetté Knox. 2019.  Autobiography.  (Ontario)

” An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family – a family who shows what’s possible when you 'lead with love.' All Amanda Jetté Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. She never knew her biological father, and while her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the situation was sometimes chaotic. At school, she was bullied mercilessly, and at the age of fourteen, she entered a counselling program for alcohol addiction and was successful. While still a teenager, she met the love of her life. They were wed at 20, and the first of three children followed shortly. Jetté Knox finally had the stability she craved – or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression and avoided school. The author was unprepared when the child she knew as her son came out as transgender at the age of eleven. Shocked, but knowing how important it was to support her daughter, Jetté Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.”

"Amanda Jetté Knox is an award-winning writer, human rights advocate and public speaker." Click to go to Amanda's WEBSITE.

My hero's journey, so far

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Nov 2021.  (Alberta)

"Here is how my gender journey lines up with the Hero’s Journey. Missed my previous post about Gender Transition as a Hero’s Journey? Check that out first and then come back to read my story.

ORDINARY WORLD

    When my husband started being identified as a man by strangers, their ingrained heteronormative views told them that I must be a woman. I started getting treated as more feminine when we were together and this didn’t sit right with me.

I had never been comfortable with the term lesbian, and instead had always called myself gay or queer.

    In grade 10 I had a gender fluid experience where I would feel like a boy named Ray for a few days every few weeks, shifting back to feeling like a girl named Meaghan in between.

    I grew up in a very liberal and supportive environment but at the inception of my gender journey I had moved away and was working in a more conservative and very hetero- and cis-normative environment.

CALL TO ADVENTURE

    Part way through my husband’s transition, I realized that I was definitely experiencing dysphoria as well. We had been attending local PFLaG meetings and had been listening to people describe a range of identities and experiences. Some of these, especially the more androgenous, gender neutral, gender fluid, and nonbinary ones, really resonated with me."

My husband’s transition – A partner’s perspective (Part 1 – Exploration)

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Jul 2018.  (Alberta)

My husband’s transition: A partner perspective (Part 2: Social transition)

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Jul 2018.  (Alberta)

My husband’s transition: A partner perspective (Part 3: Medical and legal transition)

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Jul 2018.  (Alberta)

Reaching for hope: Strategies and support for the partners of transgender people

By Suzanne DeWitt Hall. Nov 26, 2021.  Book. 

"Can relationships survive when one partner comes out as transgender? For many couples it isn’t easy. Adjusting to new realities which present themselves takes time, patience, education, and soul searching. The process can feel scary and isolating. Reaching for Hope offers companionship for the journey in the form of reassurance, support, and strategies, all delivered in bite-sized nuggets, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by information.
     Can your relationship survive? That remains to be seen. But this book offers help, if you’re willing to try."

The reflective workbook for partners of transgender people – Your transition as your partner transitions

By D.M. Maynard. Jan 2019. Book.   (US)

“Partners of people in transition go through their own transitions and may or may not be conflicted as to whether they will remain in their relationship. This unique self-help workbook was created for and focuses on the partner's perspective and own journey. By providing the support and structure needed for partners to reflect, this resource helps navigate the unexpected transition that affects both of their lives.

   Providing an essential tool that is currently missing, this book gives guidance and advice specifically designed for this situation, alongside activities, quizzes, and personal anecdotes. By combining portions of the author's self-exploration-as the partner of someone who began to transition after 17 years of being in their relationship- with the experiences shared by those who attended her workshops, this workbook examines the challenges, uncertainties, and possible grieving some partners experience throughout the transition process. With space for responding to reflective questions, exercises and games, this workbook offers partners a safe haven to discover their own wants and needs and will be of interest to both couples and individual counselors.”

Resources

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog.  (Alberta)

“The following are a list of resources that I have found useful during my husband’s transition (FTM), during my own gender identity exploration process (non-binary/genderqueer), and during pregnancy and parenting.”

Resources for significant others, friends, family and allies of transgender people

TransGenderPartners.com website.  (US)

She said she said: Love, loss, & living my new normal

By Anne M. Reid. Apr 2018. Book.   (US)

“ ‘My husband wanted to be a girl.’ Imagine discovering the love of your life, the father of your three children, the person you devoted your life to and moved halfway across the world to be with, was living a deeply concealed lie. Late one night, without warning, Anne's husband of ten years delivers the news: 'I have gender dysphoria'. Her world shifts in an instant. How could she not know? How could she be so completely oblivious? What does this even mean? 

   Anne begins examining, researching and recording events in an effort to retain some sanity. These events triggle a powerful and intimate memoir. With clarity, empathy and candour, She Said She Said provides the rarely heard voice of the partner of someone going through gender transition. Humour, goodwill and a great deal of personal courage are required - and that was just to get through the first Mother's Day.

She’s not the man I married: My life with a transgender husband

by Helen Boyd 2007. Autobiography.  (US)
“Helen Boyd’s partner, who had long been open about cross-dressing, was considering living as a woman full time. Suddenly, Boyd was confronted with the reality of what it would mean if her partner were actually to transition—socially, legally, and medically. As Boyd struggles to understand the nature of marriage, passion, and love, she shares her confusion and anger, providing a fascinating observation of the ways in which relationships are gendered, and how we cope, or don’t, with the emotional and sexual pressures that gender roles can bring to our marriages and relationships. She’s Not the Man I Married is a more expansive examination of gender in relationships for couples of all sexualities and readers who fall anywhere along the gender spectrum.”

Supporting your partner through transition

By Dylan, a love is respect advocate

“So, your partner just came out to you as transgender. Maybe you saw it coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way, you’re probably feeling a lot of emotions right now. Perhaps some are positive, some are concerning, or maybe you’re just altogether confused; perhaps you’re wondering what you should say or do next.”

The trans partner handbook: A guide for when your partner transitions

By Jo Green. Aug 2017

“Individuals who transition from one gender to another are often in some degree of a relationship, and over 55% of these relationships endure through the transition process.

   While more resources are emerging for trans people themselves, there is very little information available for their partners. Through first-hand accounts and vignettes of successful partnerships, this book presents detailed descriptions of everything involved in the transition process, with specific guidance for those supporting a partner in transition.

   Topics include disclosure, mental health, coming out, loss and grief, sex and sexuality and the legal, medical and social practicalities of transitioning. In this essential guide, people whose partners are across the transgender spectrum speak out on their own experiences with personal advice and support for others.”

The Trans Partner Handbook provides a wealth of information and ideas, to become more fluent with the terminology and lingo used when discussing trans matters. When you transition, everyone around you does too. It's a time of adjustment for all. This book is absolutely jam-packed full of information on the topic of being trans, particularly for those at the start of their transition. -- Fox Fisher, Trans activist and author of Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?
The Trans Partner Handbook is just that - a step-by-step guide for how to approach a partner transitioning. Jo Green addresses this topic with sincerity, honesty, and openness, weaving together their experiences with those of other partners of trans people to paint a picture of the breadth of challenges and joys a partner's transition can bring. -- Laura Erickson-Schroth, author of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves
The essential topics in this handbook offer critical information that trans partners can use throughout their partner's transition. -- D.M. Maynard, Author and Educator”

Trans wisdom: The power of community

“Community has experiencial knowledge”

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Apr 2021.  (Alberta)

“Many things in life, including transitioning, are difficult, complex, and not well understood by the general public. Navigating these experiences is difficult in part because there is so little information available about what to expect, what to avoid, and what resources are available and helpful.

   Communities are full of people who have gone there before you. They have way more knowledge and information that is tried, tested, and true than any professional or google search can provide. The bigger the community, the wider the range of experiences and suggestions you will find and the more likely you will find something that works for you.”

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RESOURCES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE

"PERSON WHO IS TRANSITIONING"

(WHO IS A SPOUSE AND/OR A PARENT)

4 Years into our marriage, I came out to my wife as trans

By Kelsey Borresen. Updated Dec 2020.

“When Galen Mitchell came out to wife Laura in 2015, they didn't know if they'd be able to stay together. Today the two are closer than ever.”

Episode 8: Legal transition

By Jake and Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between. Podcast, Season 1, Episode 8.  Feb 2020.  (Alberta)

“We start by talking about Meaghan Ray’s thoughts on top surgery because we didn’t have time in the previous episode. Then we talk about Jake’s process of changing his legal name and gender marker, Meaghan Ray’s role as his partner through that process, and Meaghan Ray’s thoughts on potentially changing their name and gender marker in the future. This is the last episode in this series which has focused on the various stages of transition as we have experienced them so far.“

Finding support

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Nov 2018.   (Alberta)

“Whether you’re the one trying to figure out your gender or you partner is questioning theirs, you need a support system. This can come in many forms. Below are a few of the types of support I have found useful.  I think of support as a two way street. Ways that you are participating, communicating with others, where they know who you are. I think of resources as something you look at where the person who put it out there doesn’t know who you are. This post is about support. If you’re looking for resources, also useful but less personal, see my resources page.”

My husband’s transition: A partner perspective (Part 3: Medical and legal transition)

By Meaghan Ray. Purple and Green and the Life In Between blog post. Jul 2018.    (Alberta)

My transgender transition tracker:

Track your truth with this schedule planner, med reminder, transition journal.

By Transtastic (publisher). 2020.

"Track your transition to your true self with this Transition Tracker!

Keep track of your medical information and medication; emotional, mental and physical changes; schedule and appointments with this stylish and portable 6" x 9" journal.  Note unexpected side effects to your medications and be better prepared for your medical appointments with your doctor, therapist, and/or transition team!  Weekly prompts guide you through your journey into LIVING YOUR TRUTH!"

No, transitioning doesn’t always spell the end of a marriage

By Sydney Bauer. April 2021.

 “My relationship with my partner went through ups and downs—but my transition brought us closer together.”

Purple and Green and the Life In Between

By Meaghan Ray. Blog by the non-binary partner of a trans person.  (Alberta)

She’s not there: A life in two genders

By Jennifer Finney Boylan. 2013. Book. (US)
“The bestselling, seminal work of trans literature: a story of love, sex, selfhood, and understanding from Jennifer Finney Boylan. When she changed genders, she changed the world. It was the groundbreaking publication of She’s Not There in 2003 that jump-started the transgender revolution. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan – a cast member on I Am Cait; an advisor to the television series Transparent, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times — explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of love and family. She’s Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us—ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change—and still be recognizable as the one I love? Boylan’s humorous, wise voice helped make She’s Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American–and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them.

     This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny’s wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo. “Love will prevail,” said Boylan’s conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter’s identity. She’s Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible.”

Stuck in the middle with you: A memoir of parenting in three genders

By Jennifer Finney Boylan. 2014.  (US)

"New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting that discusses how families are shaped and the difficulties and wonders of being human.
  A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. 
  Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships between fathers, mothers, and children; people''s memories of the children they were and the parents they became; and the many different ways a family can be. With an Afterword by Anna Quindlen, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising—and on being—a child."

Where’s the mother? Stories from a transgender dad
by Trevor MacDonald. 2016
“In a time when to most people ‘pregnancy’ automatically means ‘motherhood’,” what is it like to get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed a child all while being an out transgender man? When Trevor MacDonald decided to start a family, he knew that the world was going to have questions for him. As a transgender man in a gay relationship, Trevor has gone through the journeys of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing all while exploring (and sometimes defending) his role as a trans dad. Trevor and his partner tackle all the questions new parents are familiar with, such as: Should we feed our baby breast milk or formula? Should we have a hospital or home birth? Other questions are much less familiar: How can a man cope with gender dysphoria when going through such female-coded rituals as childbirth and breastfeeding? How can a person breastfeed after having had chest masculinization surgery? How do we find donor milk to supplement our own modest milk supply?

    Luckily for the reader, Trevor explains his own answers to these questions with grace and humour. His stories convey the intimate and sometimes surprising realities of the transgender parenting experience. This memoir is a book about being a breastfeeding parent and a transgender man, and the many beautiful, moving, and difficult ways these two identities collide. It shows us that, ultimately, the parenting journey is beyond all our assumptions and preconceptions. Where’s the Mother? is a memoir about love and family like no other.”
 

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COMING OUT TO YOUR CHILDREN

Coming out trans to your children

A transgender parent shares her insights on coming out to one’s kids

By Cassie Brighter for Medium e-zine. 2018.

“I just recorded a video with my recollections from my process of coming out to my kids — and our journey together through my evolution from “Dad” to “Mom.” I figured I’d post a recap here, along with some additional insights.
I’ll start by discussing some important pre-requisite considerations you should keep in mind before you ever open your mouth.”

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