The Family My Children Lost Through Transition
For some strange reason when my wife first came out as transgender, I became very protective of her. I was ready to basically go to battle with anyone who had something negative to say. A family member, a friend, a coworker, or someone we met out in the world. My stance was, if you cannot support my partner then you don’t support me. Therefore, I have no room in my life for you. I was adamant and unapologetic about the way I felt, and I put up a post on my social media account so friends, family, and acquaintances all knew.
I tried to mentally prepare myself for the losses. I knew that there would be some people who would remove themselves from our lives, and I was ok with that. As a result, our extended family began falling off the face of the earth. I went through a period of mourning that I was not prepared for. I felt it was similar to the mourning that partners talk of when their significant others come out as transgender. I did not feel like I was losing my spouse, but I did lose my family.
> "LOSING THREE OUT OF MY FOUR SIBLINGS AND MY PARENTS ALL AT ONCE WAS HARD."
Losing three out of my four siblings and my parents all at once was hard. It was similar to them all being in a tragic accident. They were there one day and gone the next. Some of them were toxic and all of them very conservative Catholics, but it still hurt. My oldest sibling became totally unhinged when they found out. They are a severely toxic person to begin with, so it was not hard to walk away from that relationship. Nevertheless, I definitely went through the stages of grief, and it was something that I totally didn’t expect. Thankfully, I was in therapy at the time and my therapist helped me to work through it.
I was however blind to the fact that this was effecting my children as well. I guess when you are going through a tough time you don’t always stop and do a mental check of those around you. It sounds selfish writing that down on paper, but I was just totally unaware at the time. When I had realized that the loss of my family was hurting my two older daughters, I became angry. What did they do to anyone? If you have a problem with my wife being transgender, and the decision that I made to stay, talk to me about it. Why take it out on my kids? How immature can you be?
> "THE EMOTIONAL DAMAGE THAT DOES TO A CHILD IS ALMOST IRREPARABLE."
From the time that they could understand I always told my girls not to let the hurtful things that my family would say sink into their brains. Such as all the times and all the different ways that my mother would say that I was stupid and worthless. The emotional damage that does to a child is almost irreparable. It took me until I was an adult and in therapy to realize how listening to my mother constantly put my father down had affected me. What an appalling way to grow up. I refused to raise my children the same way. I always tried to fill our house with love and acceptance, not ridicule and disdain.
My oldest says that between the family we have buried and those who choose to walk away in the last few years, they will all have very small weddings. So I have made it my mission to teach them that they are better off alone, than in the company of toxic people. That includes partners, friends, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and extended family. Not to mention that if they truly loved my kids then they would not blame them for a decision that someone else made. My wife living her truth has nothing to do with any one of them picking up the phone and calling one or all of my girls to see how they are. The fact that I am now in a same sex relationship should not stop them from seeing my girls when they are in town or inviting my girls out to see them. Anger and fury are the only words I can muster up to explain how this makes me feel. I am blessed to have three beautiful daughters who would all do anything for one another and a wife who loves me. The rest is just static.