NHS website - 'My trans partner'
Jules works as a vocational trainer. Her partner of 25 years, Dawn, lives as a man most of the time, but has a strong feminine side. Here, Jules describes how she met Dawn and how she feels about telling people that Dawn is trans.
"I got to know Dawn through mutual friends. We first met in a nightclub, and Dawn was dressed as a woman.
"Because I disapprove of people in the military, and I knew that Dawn was in the services at the time, I wasn't particularly interested in him. It was only when we met again that I felt attracted to him.
"My very small niece came to stay with me and had an accident. Instead of going to casualty, I took her to see Dawn because he's a nurse. Dawn, who was dressed in men's clothes at that time, was very kind and helpful when dealing with this small child.
"That's what attracted me: his personality. I like men who aren't very macho. Prior to meeting Dawn, I'd had several partners, and I'd also been married before.
"My first husband turned out to be gay, which is something I wasn't aware of when we got married. Then I had a two-year relationship with a transvestite man. Through him, I met quite a lot of other transgender people.
"Unlike many women, who find out many years into a relationship that their partner is trans, I knew about Dawn from the start.
"We've been together for nearly 25 years now. In that time, we've made new friends, including many trans people. We know several couples where the wife didn't know and then found out about her husband.
"The wives and partners of many of our trans friends were extremely unhappy, initially. They felt that this person wasn't the man that they married.
"You also feel that it reflects on you as a woman. It's similar to when I discovered that my first husband was gay. I felt there must be something wrong with me.
"When we go out and Dawn is dressed in women's clothes, it's obvious that we're a couple. We often confuse people. I have quite a curvy figure, but I'm very tall and have been mistaken for a man many times. I've been 6ft tall since the age of 12 or 13, and I'm used to being called 'sir', 'son' or 'mate'.
"When Dawn and I are out in public and Dawn is dressed as a woman, I avoid calling him by any name because it's very easy to call out the wrong name. And that can make people notice us.
"A lot of my girlfriends know about Dawn, and others don't. It depends on who I think it's appropriate or relevant to tell. Dawn doesn't want to hide it and would like everyone to know, but I think it would change our relationship with some friends.
"I don't think of him as Dawn all the time. He's Dawn when we go out and he's dressed in women's clothes. The rest of the time, he's not.
Support for partners
Finding out that your spouse or partner is trans can be traumatic. It can also be very difficult to come to terms with how it will affect your relationship.
Organisations that provide support to partners of trans people include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight loss & management
- Stop smoking
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