Dear one,

I am very disappointed in the email you sent to K last night.  I write not because she asked me to, but because she will not speak up on her own behalf.  I write because I believe you are a better person than the anger and spite in your email. I write because I believe you love K and want to have a relationship with her. I could be wrong, but I hope I’m not.

Fifteen months ago she shared with you something intensely personal and intimate, that she finally had come to understand who she was — who she was, not he.  Do you know how difficult that conversation was for her?  She loves you, and she respects you, and she admires you.  You matter to her a great deal, and your continuing love and good opinion matter to her.  But you didn’t respond to her, didn’t engage with her in conversation of any sort, not even to say “I don’t understand this, and I don’t agree with it, and I think you’re wrong.”  Just nothing. You rejected her.  You rejected someone who had shared with you an awareness that took decades to develop, an awareness so intimate that it is in the bedrock of her identity.  You think you are ignoring one flaw, but the truth is that you are rejecting her entire person, her entire identity, her entire self.

After months of continued silence and rejection, K sent an email to you yesterday, attempting to reconcile your relationship. She asked you to pray for my mother, who will undergo a surgical procedure in the next couple of months.  You responded with passive aggression, in a way that K would know exactly what you meant, even though you didn’t use the actual words.  You think you can call yourself innocent — “Well, I certainly didn’t say those things. I can’t help what he reads into them!” — but the truth is that this manipulation is unhealthy and unhelpful.  It is no less painful to K that you used a precisely aimed dagger instead of a broadsword in your needless attack.

What you did is an act of anger and abuse that is beneath you.  I said I’m disappointed, and that is true. I’m also angry as hell. And the real crux of the matter, the really important part?  This is not about you.

Let me say it again:

THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

It isn’t. K’s identity as a woman has nothing whatsoever to do with you.  Nothing.  Period.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel uncomfortable or to struggle with her journey.  This doesn’t mean you can’t be confused or angry.  It doesn’t even mean you can’t disagree with the idea that the gender of one’s mind and heart and spirit might be different from the gender of one’s physical organs.  And it doesn’t mean that you can’t decide to just abandon your relationship with her forever.

What it means is this: You are not entitled to be a manipulative, passive-aggressive, abusive bitch to my wife.  You are not entitled to attack her with surgically-precise, “perfectly innocent” words.  You are not entitled to act with such rage and spite for someone who has made herself vulnerable to you at such a deep and intimate level, for someone who loves you and trusts you to love her.

When you commit these actions, you will experience consequences.  K’s love and admiration for you continue to tarnish and blacken.  K’s support of you dwindles further each month you continue to reject her with your silence. K’s relationship with you becomes what you have made it: rubbish, tossed aside without care or regard.

If that’s what you wanted, then congratulations! You got it!  But if you doesn’t want this — if even the smallest part of you loves K and wants to have a relationship with you — then you will need to begin a path of reconciliation with her, confronting your own anger, and doing the hard work of journeying with her.  It may not be easy, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

With love,
hedwyg

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3 thoughts on “an open letter on behalf of my transgender wife, who is too polite to speak up

  1. I am also partnered to a trans woman. I’m sorry your wife is experiencing negativity from this person, but your letter is a great response. It is inspiring to see other wives who are strong allies for their transgender spouse!

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    1. Thank you, Ariadne! It has been a disappointment for her, to be sure. She is a much stronger woman than she knows. Many hugs and prayers to you on your own journey.

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