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Advice and Anecdotes appreciated

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Hi all,

My girlfriend is a trans woman who came out to her family well over a year ago. Last night we were at her relatives for a party, where one of her aunts asked some invasive questions. In the process she brought up the deadname and that specific item made my girlfriend really uncomfortable during the rest of dinner.
My girlfriend spoke to her aunt privately after dinner and came back in tears, then told me we had to leave. I offered to drive home and she got in the car as quickly as possible. As I'm leaving the house, the aunt stands on the stoop of the house with my girlfriend's mom yelling at me to get her back out here so she can explain, or for me to go tell my girlfriend the (what she considered) perfectly sound argument about why my girlfriend shouldn't be upset because she hadn't offended her (her words, not mine). 

My girlfriend really wants her family to remain in her life, and it's been incredibly difficult for her to come to terms with the difference in treatment she's experienced since coming out to them. And since she hasn't told me she wants to cut ties with anyone specifically, I didn't stay and argue with her aunt in front of her mom. I just said that we were leaving. Still, I feel awful about the situation, and knowing that there will likely be more similar ones in the future (as long as my girlfriend decides to attend family events, in any case), we know we both will need to be better prepared, mentally and emotionally. I hope some on here could share their own advice about dealing with particularly combative family when it comes to respecting trans people's requests. I understand if anybody's first suggestion is to cut ties with a toxic family member, etc., but at the moment that's a decision that rests on my girlfriend's shoulders, and I'm here to support her. At the moment I'm working on the assumption that she wants to stay around all the family she can, provided they show a willingness to educate themselves, listen, and respect her wishes.


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The two of you did nothing wrong by separating yourself from the situation at that time.  I am going to suggest that your GF go over this with her therapist and develop a 'reaction drill" of what to do when this sort of mess comes up.  The therapist can help her go through some scenario role play, maybe with your help in taking a reaction and then disengaging in a boundary setting way.  Rehearse the situations so that the response is automatic.  The big problem is to be able to detect when this may be a gang-up session, those should be fully avoided.  Have you GF get in touch with her mother, by phone or internet message and see where mom stands or for that matter understands what must have happened. 

I hope the two of you have discussed what your GF understood the situation, what you describe is a little vague there for specific suggestions.  Do not try to convert someone with religious views though.,  Sadly, that will cut the family ties with a blow torch.



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Welcome Lishy.  


Great advise from Vicky.  The issue I see is the aunt obviously doesn't see that her comments were offensive to your GF.  She sounds unable to understand another's point of view.  While staying in contact with family may be important, it may be a lost cause (at least with some members).   Your GF may want to have a private, heart to heart conversation with her mother.  This may set the tone for events going forward.  


Hugs, Jani

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@VickySGV and @Jani shared which wonderful advice, I will only add my hopes and wishes go well with you and your gf. She is very lucky to have such support coming from you. 

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