Watching Someone Else Grieve

Recently I met a woman whose spouse just came out to her as being transgender (we will call her, the cis spouse, Sarah).  The interesting thing about Sarah’s situation, for me is, she is the first person I have met who was seeking help so early in the process.  They say when your spouse comes out to you, they put you in the closet, and that was very much the case for me.  While, Emily did allow me to tell whomever I wanted from the beginning I was not in a place to do that so I hid.  I hid what was going on, I hid my feelings, and I hid my tears.  Sarah on the other hand is not doing this.  I am not saying it is right or wrong, good or bad I am just saying it is interesting and it is a very different experience watching someone go through the beginning stages of grief over their spouse coming out to them than it is going through it yourself.

Sarah seems to be going through the first two stages of grief; anger and denial and at the same time. She is mad at her husband because she is hurt and not truly believing that he is trans.  To make matters worse other people are telling her he isn’t really trans.  I think that could be a complication with telling people too soon, you are still learning what this means for you, your spouse, and your family and the last thing you need is to hear 100 opinions and experiences.  On the other hand talking is therapeutic for many people.

For me there are things about Sarah’s journey that are hard to watch and I am trying my best to be empathetic and remember that things she is saying are things I thought and felt, but the difference is I didn’t have anyone to say them to so listening to it is a whole new thing for me actually hearing it out loud.  She uses trans phobic language, as did I, I thought I had the right to say what I wanted because I was hurting.  It’s hard for me when I hear Sarah say these, I have worked so hard to fight for trans rights and the rights of my family and that language isn’t acceptable, yet I know I said the same thing because I had my own feelings and I just didn’t understand.

I will continue to educate others those who are on this journey with me and those who are not.  I will continue to set an example, educate others on how to respect trans people, and teach correct terminology.  The way to fight ignorance is with education so that’s what I will do!

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