Today sees the beginning of a short series I am going to be writing about “the experience of the trans partner”. It will include reference to my own experience but I want it to be more than that. A specific area I want to focus upon within the series is the narrative of loss within the partner’s story. I want to look at this in terms of thinking about what the pastoral care for couples should be where one is trans and the other is not and how to do we acknowledge their, at times, conflicting feelings.
One particular focus I will think about within this is going to be around naming ceremonies and how do those leading them navigate and provide pastoral care when for one person they are a time of celebration and for another they may be like a funeral service.
The thoughts that I’m going to express here are helping me think around some of the issues I’m going to be exploring in a forthcoming paper at a symposium.
As I approach this series I would be interested in exploring too what you the reader may want to know about or find useful. I’d also be interested in knowing about specific resources you’ve found useful if you are the partner of a trans person.
You might wonder why looking at the grief cycle and the issue of loss is going to be such a big part of this series. Well there are a couple of answers to this.
The first comes from a search around the websites of groups such as TG Pals and blogs such as Translucidity which show these are common feelings. This is something echoed in my own experience and something I have heard in many conversations with other partners of trans people.
The second comes from a feeling I have that if we can learn how to think about at this in the trans context it may help us in other areas too. One parallel I find myself thinking about increasingly is how there are similar feelings of loss through transition felt within church contexts as people either lose their buildings or forms of worship that they have felt familiar and comfortable with and which have helped them understand and describe their own identity.
The exploration of this latter wider use of the ideas may well turn into a second series of posts after the initial ones focusing on being a trans partner have been written.