Trans widows

Often trans people marry in their assigned gender, and transition later. Women married to trans women often stay married, as a loving couple, or they may split in a reasonable, amicable manner, remaining friends, caring for children together, making sure the split is as fair as possible. Unfortunately, some women refuse to move on from the relationship, though it has ceased. They believe they have been wronged, and find online communities which affirm that. They can become the most obsessive anti-trans campaigners.

“Trans Widows Voices” is a particularly poisonous site. It encourages women to stew in their hatred, and foments the myth of autogynephilia. The self-righteous victimhood damages the relationship with the former partner, and harms both the divorcing wife and the trans woman.

“Women report feeling like their male partner has died.” In the loss of her relationship, the woman will go through a process of mourning. She has suffered a trauma. However if there is any blame, it is on the wider society, which so stigmatises trans people that we are in denial, and terrified to admit our true selves. It is not on the trans woman who has found the courage to express herself at last.

“This site uses correct sex pronouns.” That is, it denies the trans woman’s experience and the reality that trans people exist, and transition in the most awful circumstances. “We also support women having the language to accurately describe their own experiences and to represent their reality.”

“Shalyn’s story” is pitiable. They may have married too young: she graduated from university after marriage. The couple should never have married, and the wife appears to have been in denial throughout. “I thought we had a great relationship,” she writes, after writing of things she found a turnoff: the trans woman’s shaving her legs and acting submissive in the bedroom. Some men are submissive. Some women are assertive.

The trans woman did not handle it well. When her wife repeatedly confronted her, each time she would promise not to cross-dress again. The wife says the woman insisted they start a family, and eventually have three children, though she complains of the lack of sex in their marriage.

Mary Joan says it was a lie when her trans woman husband said “My wife always knew I was transgender”. She knew the woman liked to wear women’s clothes during sex. She calls this “autogynephilia”, spreading misunderstanding. “Even now, I still grieve for my lost husband and I think I shall always do so.” Oh, the poor woman! You have to be able to move on. Ending a marriage is always traumatic. Wallowing like this, “many years later”, is deeply unhealthy for you and your children.

She admits her ex-spouse pays maintenance for the children, so her account of the trans woman’s chaotic lifestyle may be exaggerated. I would not trust her to give a clear understanding of transition, because she projects all the blame on her former partner.

The FAQs encourage a complete inability to deal with the situation in a healthy way. They say a woman whose husband cross dresses is a trans widow. It’s as if cross dressing is such a betrayal that the husband disappears.

“Isn’t the term offensive? Many actual widows understand that the analogy is appropriate.” “What about the women who are happy with their trans woman husbands? We are here if and when their situation changes.” They are modelling a complete denial of the trans experience. Nothing can be admitted which might show that the cis woman was at all at fault- except, perhaps, for initially going along with the trans woman’s transition. The trans woman is called a man, a pervert, a betrayer.

Who runs the site? TinselAngel, a trans widow, who supports trans widows on Mumsnet, Twitter, and other channels. That is, an obsessive, who seeks validation of her obsession by drawing others in.

“Why didn’t you leave sooner? We understand how difficult it can be for a woman to leave a marriage.” So do I.

“Are you transphobic? No. We believe that our reality is as valid as that of our ex-husbands.” Er, um. In each of these stories, a blameless woman has been fooled into marriage and deceived throughout. When marriages end, the story is always more complex. Even when one person is wholly a victim, unable to do any better, the other is rarely entirely a wrongdoer. They can’t see this as transphobia, because they think they are entirely good, and transphobia sounds like a bad thing.

Challenged that “Autogynephilia doesn’t exist” she merely states “We don’t believe that we are propagating a myth.” If she cited various articles, as she could, claiming it exists, I would have more respect for her. “We are merely reporting our own experiences,” she says, as if only her perspective matters. That is the way to stew in grievance forever, and actively to prevent moving on.

“We will provide an evidence base,” she says. She only provides evidence of her own failure to move on, or to understand from another’s point of view.

It seems this TinselAngel is the main campaigner demanding that women stew in victimhood and rage rather than seek a healthy relationship with their ex-spouse or a way to move on. She tweets as Trans Widows’ voices, and writes articles for other groups. There is not enough demand, even on Ovarit, to have other specialist “trans widow” groups.

Uncommon Ground’s mission statement denies it simply attacks the Left, and says “The solutions for the world’s problems are to be found in compassion tempered by reason,” but Tinsel Angel’s article is in starkly Us and Them terms: she complains of feminist groups accepting trans women, and says she needs help. “Who is more important to the Womens’ Liberation movement: me or my ex-husband?” Ideally, both. However, she goes on to criticise WPUK for not being transphobic enough.

The trans widows site has twelve personal stories, of women raging against their trans ex-husbands. Any woman who can’t bear her husband’s cross dressing, or wish to transition, should avoid it like the plague.

To the wives of trans women, who want to leave them: you should not be pressured into supporting your husband if you don’t want to. Sex is usually an integral part of marriage, and you don’t have to stay if it changes. In Britain, your husband’s cross dressing or wish to transition would count as “unreasonable behaviour”, entitling you to a divorce. But try to maintain an amicable relationship, for the sake of any children and for your own sake. You are entitled to define your boundaries, but please do not get trapped in this profitless hatred.

12 thoughts on “Trans widows

  1. I used to joke, sometimes, by introducing my wife as “my first wife” – but that is no longer a joke, at all. Our relationship changed about thirty years into our marriage, when I began to realize that my “hidden” female-self was more than a mere desire to “secretly” lock myself up in a room, all dressed up in women’s clothing and wearing wigs and makeup. If ever there was a time in our marriage when she could have been a trans-widow, it was then. Had Trans Widows Voices been around, at that time, I imagine my wife would have joined it. I wouldn’t have blamed her, either.

    We are now approaching our forty-ninth anniversary. My wife will tell you that she had to mourn the death of her husband years ago. Fortunately, she came to realize that there was more to our love than the idyllic husband-wife relationship. Our marriage may be different than it once was, but it is certainly more honest.

    My wife could joke, now, by introducing me as “my late husband.” I doubt that she would ever do that, nor do I expect her to ever call me her “first wife.” Despite my poor handling of my gender dysphoria for so many years, earlier in our marriage, we still remain the closest of friends, albeit now “without benefits.” I’ve had to mourn, too.


    • People change over decades of marriage. They can create new ways of being together, or they can split amicably. Anything is better than stewing in rage like these women. A cis woman on facebook, a supportive partner of a trans woman, says the “trans widows” hound her, abusing her partner and calling her an “abused wife”. “They are horrific,” she says.


      • OK. That does go toward my concern over how other cis women may judge my wife. And so, I will ask, maybe these disgruntled ex-partners of trans women are jealous? It really shouldn’t be of any concern to them, at all. Some people can’t be content with their own misery, as if projecting onto someone else would ever alleviate it.

        Gender transition is not for the faint of heart; not for the trans person or the family of a trans person (who are, of course, involved in their own transitions).


  2. There should be websites about good transitions too…. But complaining and gossip spark more attention than rejoicing, and it has been so since humans began to speak, I think… In French, we say: les gens heureux n’ont pas d’histoire: happy people don’t have a tale to tell…


    • Ouai.

      The blogs- even this one!- spend a lot of time angsting about transition. Often, though, as people recount their medical appointments, there is a steady sense of progress, and the blog, with few or no new posts, sits on the web, a record of a struggle well-borne.


  3. the AGP trope continues to exist as convenient narrative for those who prefer that existence be black and white and convenient. We know otherwise of course and naturally occurring variants are merely part of the normal spectrum that is human diversity. We are further than we used to be but still have some ways to go in allowing people to just exist for who they are and be left in peace.


    • For anti-trans campaigners in Britain, autogynephilia is a way of making trans women into bogeymen- “Look, they’re all perverts”. They try to make people frightened of us so they will drive us away.

      Whereas in reality, while, yes, some of us, like some of any group- left handed people, for example- are criminals, even sex criminals, most of us are just ordinary people trying to make a go of life under difficult circumstances, just like everyone else.


  4. Disgusting misogynists. I hope you all rot in hell for sucking me into supporting this crap for 20 years then finally killing ( literally) my husband with it. I’m so glad the tide is turning and real women’s voices will be heard regarding this horrific experience. That voice is only going to get stronger. We certainly are not jealous of aging men in wigs, dresses and excessive make up in highly face apped selfies… Nor do we care what you do as long as you don’t try to force yourself into women’s spaces where you do not belong and better yet, into women’s lives. Keep your fetish indoors with your AGP issues and your fantasy lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. Your suffering is pitiable. It comes from you denying reality. Your voice of hate is indeed getting stronger, amplified like all hate by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Charles Koch. You hurt yourself with it.


  5. When I read through some of the stories on Trans Widow, I think what struck me was that the trans woman had possibly an underlying of a personality disorder or maybe another form of mental illness, and that seemed to be the root cause of the abusive behavior. (Reading it from the lens trans widow, it looked more like narcissistic abuse, then issues with being transgender. Although being transgender was blamed). The transgender part seemed to be secondary, but since it was the most external or maybe it’s more tangible then mental health/personality issue, that is like the easiest to blame. Or maybe it just unconscious bias. I don’t know if that makes sense. However, I think the trans woman spouses had underlying personality, mental health, or behavioral issues — and that’s ultimately what causes the breakdown of the marriage. Not necessarily the being transgender part — although it seems easy to blame it on that. A lot of the common themes I got from the trans widows, were feeling isolated, misunderstood, having minimal/none support systems, overwhelmed with work and child rearing, and not having anyone to talk to about their experiences. Many of them seemed overworked and burnt out, which I am sure does not help in any relationship, and for their own mental health.

    I wonder if there were increased support systems for these women, if the outcomes would have been different. Another common theme in many of the trans widow stories is that they had to really hold in a lot of their feelings of shock, anger, loss, grief, trauma, of their partner transitioning. I believe it would have been beneficial for them to be able to speak to a neutral and supportive person, who could give them space to work out their feelings. Maybe these trans widows and other trans widows, need a space to say things that may not be PC, and not feel like they have to hold in all of their feelings, even if their feelings are ugly or transphobic. In order to address trauma, one needs to be direct and honest about their inner turmoil and feelings. Not that they should say these things directly to their partner, but maybe a support group or an individual therapist. A lot of the women felt pressured into being advocates that are 100% on board with their partner’s transition, when deep down they had insecurities and a lot of unprocessed emotion. If these trans widows had a safe person to talk to, in a judgement free zone, to work through their feelings or prejudices, or whatever, the outcomes could have been different. It felt like a lot of times the trans widows were holding in so much and they never felt safe enough talk to someone about it, because they had fears that the people around them would judge them harshly. They didn’t feel safe with their feelings in LGBT spaces or groups. People need to feel heard and understood. Maybe they needed some validation and comfort, to then take the next step of working out their anger, bias, prejudice, grief, loss, etc. Maybe they would benefit from their own individual therapists to work through their feelings, and then there wouldn’t be so much rage, anger, hostility, or feelings of betrayal.

    It also seemed like there were a lot of problems and sexual incompatibility prior to the partner’s transition. Also a lot of poor communication, denial, and lying on both sides throughout the relationship. However, it was never addressed and kept getting swept under the rug. Their relationships already didn’t seem very healthy, strong, or filled with trust from the start. Most of the trans widows and their partner, probably were never a really good match to begin with. And then their partner’s transition, was kind of what broke the camel’s back. There wasn’t a strong enough foundation to carry them through.

    Finally, I do want to note, that divorce is almost never easy. It can be very contentious with straight couples. There are many cis straight and gay couples who get divorces, and during the separation, divorce process, and after the divorce they can be just downright awful to each other. You hear about all these ugly custody battles. In the aftermath of divorce, many of the cis spouses still harbor a lot anger and resentment towards their cis exes. Is it healthy, no. But does it happen, yes. It’s not just trans widows, who are angry, resentful, and unable to let go, etc. I think it just happens in some breakups and divorces. It may not just be as a result of “may partner is trans” and I will hate them forever. They may have been like this towards their partners, if their partners were cis, and they separated or divorced.


    • I dislike the term “trans widow”. Nobody died. Divorce is painful, but I don’t think campaigning against trans rights does these women any good.

      Listening to preliminary matters in Perth Sheriff Court, I was struck by divorcing people’s different perspective. From their affidavits it appeared each was a saint, whose only mistake was to marry a monster. Once Sheriff Wheatley emotionally expressed his misery and perplexity- how is he to find the truth from these accounts?


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