It troubles me that virtually every discussion about transgendered individuals centers exclusively on their triumphant resolution of their perceived problem, and the assumption that in order to be loving and loyal, their spouse must stay in that marriage. I had the same reaction to all stories about male-to-female Jennifer Boylan, where the wife Deedie is presented as being the good wife because she stayed married despite not being a lesbian and not wanting to be married to a woman and subverting her own desires in so doing. NPR's Story Corps had a story in 2012 about Les and Scott GrantSmith, in which the wife became a man, and the husband stayed.
It seems there is only one "acceptable" way to react to one's spouse changing genders, and that is to (cue Tammy Wynette) stand by your man. The spouses of transgendered people are apparently supposed to tolerate the end of their sex lifes as they know it, and utterly give of themselves for the benefit of their partner's discovery of self, in order to keep the family together. No one has the same expectation when a partner comes out as gay or has an affair or otherwise undergoes some large transformation, but the push to accept the notion of transgender individuals and the process has meant a distinct flattening of the acceptable reactions on the individual levels to simply delighted acceptance, no matter what the emotional toll may be on those who are left behind by these "journeys of self." I also think it is troubling, given the controversial public behavior of this contributor, that Christine Benvenuto's voice is not seen as important, because she did not stay married to the person who was her husband. I am disappointed in On Being for covering this issue in such a one-dimensional fashion. It's not much of a conversation when only one view is allowed.
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