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Belle

Hi I'm Belle

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Belle

Hello everyone! A little over a month ago I came to terms that I am a trans woman. I'm a conservative evangelical Christian with a wife and children. I love them all very much and don't want to lose them. I also don't want to lose those in the church that I love and love me. So my world is crumbling and I have no support.

 

I came out to my wife a few weeks ago and her world is crumbling too. She doesn't believe there is a difference between gender and sex. She quickly outed me to several people in our church so that she "could have support." So now I'm also getting "support" from people who care about me but really have no clue what I'm going through and are doing the opposite of helping.

 

I'm hoping to find support here, especially from those who may have been in a similar situation. 

 

Love, 

Belle

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Carolyn Marie

Welcome to Trans Pulse, Belle.  Our journeys are hard enough even under the best of circumstances, and your situation could never be described as anywhere near the best of circumstances.  You have my sympathy and my empathy for what you have and will go through.  Whatever you need in terms of support we will do our best to provide.  Being trans is not a choice, so please don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise; and they will certainly try.  None of us asked for this, but it can turn out all right.  My situation did, and my wife is a strong Catholic, as is her community.  But our family has stayed together, so there is hope for you, too.

 

HUGS

 

Carolyn Marie

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Belle
40 minutes ago, Carolyn Marie said:

Welcome to Trans Pulse, Belle.  Our journeys are hard enough even under the best of circumstances, and your situation could never be described as anywhere near the best of circumstances.  You have my sympathy and my empathy for what you have and will go through.  Whatever you need in terms of support we will do our best to provide.  Being trans is not a choice, so please don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise; and they will certainly try.  None of us asked for this, but it can turn out all right.  My situation did, and my wife is a strong Catholic, as is her community.  But our family has stayed together, so there is hope for you, too.

 

HUGS

 

Carolyn Marie

Thank you so much Carolyn! Every story like yours gives me a little more hope. I'm so desperate for hope right now. 

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Jackie C.

Salutations Belle!

 

It's a pleasure to meet you! The truth is, some people won't understand. Some people will act with good intentions and make poor choices anyway. I like those people better. People who want to learn can be taught. Carolyn has it right though, being trans isn't a choice. I can't imagine anyone actually choosing it if it was. It's a little like dropping an atomic bomb into the middle of your life.

 

You might lose friends. You might lose family. You don't have to though. I have a single family member who no longer speaks to me. My wife (Baptist) and her family have all accepted me for who I am and have embraced the person that I've become. Thinking about it, the parent that accepted me was raised Baptist too. I wonder if there's a connection. Admittedly the person I've become is a much nicer person, but the transgender thing isn't an issue for them. I've been included in all the family events and I have yet to be misgendered by anyone but my wife (who tries really hard, but she knew me for almost three decades as a man so... she's trying though and that's all that really matters in the end).

 

So yeah, there are going to be hardships and bumps in the road, but there's hope and I wish you nothing but the best. We're a friendly, supportive community and we'll try our best to help you out with any difficulties you might have. We're here for you.

 

Hugs!

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DeeDee

Hi Belle, pleased to meet you.  I would be happy to comment more in depth in the Christianity section on the conservative evangelical label, but suffice to say that I firmly believe that being a transwoman and being a Christian are NOT mutually exclusive and I hope that you and your spouse find the genuine support that you both need to start to understand your changing frame of reference. Read through the forums and blogs, ask questions for you or your spouse.

Accepting who you are can be really, really hard, but we are in advent, the season of hope. Take heart!

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NB Adult  (Inactive)

 

Hello Belle, welcome to an ever growing family!

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TammyAnne

Hi and welcome, Belle.

There are texts out there that deal with gender transitioning and Christianity. As well as a YouTube channel speaking in terms of love and acceptance within the church.

But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the degree of support you'll find here.

And as mentioned above, there is a forum here for Christianity, so that you can discuss some of the issues you're facing in much greater depth with like minded folks.

In the interim, a big warm hug!

TA

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Belle

Thank you Jackie :) Was it crushing for your wife in the beginning? 

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Belle
1 hour ago, DeeDee said:

 I firmly believe that being a transwoman and being a Christian are NOT mutually exclusive

I'm beginning to see that. I have such high regard for God's word, so I'm very careful to not try to put something in there that's not intended. 

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VickySGV

Hi Belle, interestingly enough I am even more active in my Christian denomination now that I am out than I was before to the point of being a known entity even at its national level of leadership.  Big reason is that I am more honest and genuine than I was ever before.  I agree with DeeDee that actual discussions of the faith go on in the Religion Forums much better, and there is a huge library of talk over there.  Marriages do survive once the non Trans partner realizes that the same real person is there, and gets off of the sexual focus.  If that is the only thing they can think about, the relation was in trouble anyway.  Your spouse does not become a lesbian by staying with you if that is her worry.  There are a growing number of churches that are beginning to be fully accepting of us and yes, even LGB people as well.  The church cannot "heal" you of being Trans, but if it accepts you, you can be wonderfully involved in it.

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Jani

Hello Belle, 

 

Welcome and all my best to you.  I've been married 44 years so it can work out. 

 

Jani

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Astrid
4 hours ago, Belle said:

I came out to my wife a few weeks ago and her world is crumbling too. She doesn't believe there is a difference between gender and sex.

 

Not everything is as binary as it may seem.  A primary example are people born with Intersex characteristics. (Wikipedia has a thorough, dispassionate explanation of the variants that are seen of this.)  It's not a "decision of God" whether an intersex person is labeled as M or F -- it's usually doctors who decide shortly after birth, often on purely visual inspection, sometimes with surgery involved.  Thankfully, that practice is slowly beginning to change, with the recommendation to let the individual decide (or change) their designated sex at a later, appropriate time. 

 

In my case, coming out wasn't initially easy for me or my spouse, as she is a Christian pastor (!), but we're progressive rather than evangelical, which provides a much different perspective.  We both found it valuable to work with a qualified gender therapist -- together -- and she provided a lot of third-party insight (explaining things that I took for granted, but were entirely new concepts for my spouse).

 

So, finding a gender therapist for you both could be a way to start moving forward, together.

 

Hugs and best wishes,

 

Astrid

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Belle

You are all so helpful and understanding. I'm really glad I found this place.

 

Tonight I came home and my wife started out with "I don't want to talk about it with you any more until we're in counseling." Then she proceeded to tell me how wrong I am and how her mind isn't going to change. I just kept my mouth shut as she wished. 

 

It wouldn't have been helpful anyway to tell her how today for a while I was actually able to fully embrace that I am a woman and ignore all the doubts from others. When I did that the anguish and pain in my chest (anxiety) released. It's back now but it's a sign I'm headed in the right direction from a mental health standpoint.

 

Love you all, beauties!

Belle

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Astrid

If at all possible, make sure that you find a qualified, experienced gender therapist, not a marriage counselor. After all, this stemmed from your perception of your gender, not your perception of yiur .marriage. 

 

Courage!

 

Astrid

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SaraAW

Welcome Belle. It sounds like you may have a tough road ahead. While I can’t relate with the religious aspect, many other parts you’ve shared so far has some similarities to mine and I’m sure many others stories. You’ve come to an amazing and supportive place. Share, ask questions and I’m sure you’ll find at least some of what you looking for here. As has been mentioned above, a gender therapist is a really good idea to start to help sort some things out in your mind. 
 

*hugs*

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Belle

I have my first gender therapist appointment on Monday finally. Today I feel like I'm going to shrivel up and die. I don't know what I have the power to change and what I don't. Am I a victim or the perpetrator? Is it an illusion or reality? Will it go away or get worse? I want it so badly and I despise it just the same. I feel guilty but don't know if that's necessary. Will I look back six months, a year, ten years from now at the catastrophic remains of a life that was good and didn't need to change and ask why, and was it worth it? Am I only facing two options, that or death? Which would be better for those I love? 

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Jackie C.
18 hours ago, Belle said:

Thank you Jackie :) Was it crushing for your wife in the beginning? 

 

I wouldn't say crushing. She was confused at first and had a lot of questions. The funniest was, "Have you been wearing my underwear?" At the end of the day it was, "I love you. The rest doesn't matter." Also, she'd be the first to agree that I'm much, much easier to live with now. It hasn't been quite two years since I came out to her, and our marriage is stronger than ever.

 

Don't be nervous. All my appointments with gender therapists were very positive experiences. Just be open and honest. Your therapist is there to help you.

 

It sounds like you're thinking of being trans like it's something you're doing. It's really not. It's something you are. If you had, say, green eyes would you be be inflicting that on someone? You deserve to be happy. You spent... I don't remember how old you are... OK, just scrolled up and checked your profile, you didn't say... Anyway, you spent your whole life up until now pretending to be something you're not. Most of us (probably all of us, but I don't want to assume) did the same. Personally, I was absolutely rubbish at pretending to be a guy, but that's what society expected of me and that's what I did. Until I couldn't anymore. It would have killed me to keep pretending. Not right away, but I was killing myself by inches through deliberate neglect. Really, I was about one really bad day away from taking my life.

Then I realized that what I was doing was really, really stupid. I contacted a therapist. I came out to my wife. I shed the extra weight. Now I go to the gym every day (had a lovely conversation with a 75-year old immigrant from Lebanon today while I was on the exercise bike) and watch what I eat. I'm likely in the best shape of my life. I'm happy, healthy and my only real regret is that I didn't do what I needed to do sooner.

 

I think the people who love us, love us. The people who only love who they think we are don't really know us. With trans-people, that's partially our fault. We weren't able to share who we were fully and often weren't being honest with ourselves either. Your wife probably feels betrayed. You're not who you said you were. Not completely. You need to work on that relationship and show her that you still love her. Your friends are likely confused and drowning in a sea of misinformation. They probably just need to be educated. I'm guessing you've been fed a lot of things about trans people yourself. Your gender therapist will help set you straight. Therapy helps and the community is here for you in whatever capacity we can be. Best of luck with your appointment, but you probably don't need it (the luck, not the appointment, you NEED the appointment). Your meeting with the therapist will be fine.

 

Hugs!

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NB Adult  (Inactive)

All valid thoughts, we do these introspective inventories and it's an ongoing process. Remember that line from an old Elvis Presley song? "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." It's good advice, we need to take it slowly even incrementally. We can benefit most by making incremental changes to our outward appearance and physiology via hormonal changes and clothing so that those observing us can absorb it easier without going into shock. It gives us time to assess and make mental upgrades to our personal thoughts on how we are impacting those around us that we love and don't want to lose. Finessing it is the key.

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Belle
49 minutes ago, NB Adult said:

We can benefit most by making incremental changes to our outward appearance and physiology via hormonal changes and clothing so that those observing us can absorb it easier without going into shock. It gives us time to assess and make mental upgrades to our personal thoughts on how we are impacting those around us that we love and don't want to lose. Finessing it is the key.

Wow, that's a really helpful thought. Others do need the opportunity to absorb who I truly am, and they can't do that the way I currently present myself. 

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ShawnaLeigh
2 hours ago, Belle said:

I have my first gender therapist appointment on Monday finally. Today I feel like I'm going to shrivel up and die. I don't know what I have the power to change and what I don't. Am I a victim or the perpetrator? Is it an illusion or reality? Will it go away or get worse? I want it so badly and I despise it just the same. I feel guilty but don't know if that's necessary. Will I look back six months, a year, ten years from now at the catastrophic remains of a life that was good and didn't need to change and ask why, and was it worth it? Am I only facing two options, that or death? Which would be better for those I love? 

I went through all these same thoughts and anxieties during my coming out and My initial gender therapy appointment.   I was a hot mess and cried a lot.  Day and night.  It passed. 
I too am looking at this ruining my marriage but I hold out hope she will come to a better understanding in what I am going through, the choices I have to make and the things that are not a choice at all.  I’m afraid for my future but continue working everyday to just be me and hope and help as much as possible.  
Welcome to a wonderful place.  I love it here.  

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Belle

 

1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

I wouldn't say crushing. She was confused at first and had a lot of questions. The funniest was, "Have you been wearing my underwear?" At the end of the day it was, "I love you. The rest doesn't matter." Also, she'd be the first to agree that I'm much, much easier to live with now.

I wish my wife could accept it so readily for her sake. 

 

1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

It sounds like you're thinking of being trans like it's something you're doing. It's really not. It's something you are. If you had, say, green eyes would you be be inflicting that on someone?

Transitioning is "doing", and it's the major conflict with my wife. She actually says she knows I have strong feminine qualities and those are things she likes about me. But she says she sees me as fully masculine still. And she doesn't like the idea of me even thinking of myself as a woman.

 

1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

I think the people who love us, love us. The people who only love who they think we are don't really know us. With trans-people, that's partially our fault. We weren't able to share who we were fully and often weren't being honest with ourselves either. Your wife probably feels betrayed. You're not who you said you were. Not completely. You need to work on that relationship and show her that you still love her.

I don't feel like it's my fault. I didn't understand what had been going on inside of me. I never fully processed it as a child because it was inconceivable to me that there was a separation between sex and gender, regardless of the fact that I always identified with my mother rather than my father. Through the teen years, peer abuse forced me to start being aware of my body movements and speech patterns. I was constantly worried I was being seen as feminine and the social consequences that would have. To this day I am acutely aware of how I am walking in public. I don't walk subconsciously.

 

Ultimately I just don't feel like I was ever lying, because I didn't know. Now through counseling, getting in touch with myself in an attempt to combat depression and anxiety, I have finally put the pieces together. And once my eyes were opened I haven't been able to think about anything else.

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Astrid

One analogy I can think of is how a dam bursting can be similar to the dynamics at play when coming out:

  • From the perspective of the dam (we who come out), there is a sudden and tremendous release of pressure.  All of a sudden we can breathe, we feel different, and all that built-up stress is, at least for the moment, washed away.  
  • From the perspective of those downriver (your loved ones to whom you come out), there is an sudden and unexpected wave of confusion, they now are uncertain of the future, and there is a build-up of stress, and sometimes, anger.

Which is why the advice to communicate with your loved ones clearly and openly, to take your time (this is a life journey, not a sprint), and to work through issues jointly (assuming your spouse is willing to do that) with the help of your gender therapist can really help ameliorate things from spiraling out of control.  I had to learn that lesson myself; much of the advice came from trans friends and from the good folks here.  Little tips on how to do/wear/think things in such a way that you're not perceived as being flamboyant, and that can help others adjust in their perceptions of you over time, and for them to observe that the (incrementally) New You is a much happier person to be around.

 

Good luck with your upcoming initial gender therapy visit.  Know that there are not there to listen to your story and then make a diagnosis that you're non-binary or trans or whatever.  They are there to assist you in working out for yourself who you perceive yourself to be.  It can change over time (not unusual at all) as you work through it all on your journey.

 

Hugs,

 

Astrid

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Belle
58 minutes ago, ShawnaLeigh said:

I went through all these same thoughts and anxieties during my coming out and My initial gender therapy appointment.   I was a hot mess and cried a lot.  Day and night.  It passed. 
I too am looking at this ruining my marriage but I hold out hope she will come to a better understanding in what I am going through, the choices I have to make and the things that are not a choice at all.  I’m afraid for my future but continue working everyday to just be me and hope and help as much as possible.  
Welcome to a wonderful place.  I love it here.  

Shawn, I have read through a lot of your posts because they turn up in my keyword searches since you're currently in a similar situation. I'm rooting for you and your marriage! I don't know if I could survive losing my wife.

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Susan R

Hello Belle and welcome to our affirming family community here.  The advise on this forum just keeps getting better with time.

 

2 hours ago, Belle said:

Am I a victim or the perpetrator? Is it an illusion or reality? Will it go away or get worse? I want it so badly and I despise it just the same. I feel guilty but don't know if that's necessary. Will I look back six months, a year, ten years from now at the catastrophic remains of a life that was good and didn't need to change and ask why, and was it worth it? Am I only facing two options, that or death? Which would be better for those I love? 

I can't tell you how many times I mulled over these same concerning questions.  Most of us here have at some time in our journey.  We all want to make sure we've thought of everything before taking the next big step.  Some of these questions we'll never be answered until we take that next step.  As others have said, take it slow and deal with the important stuff first...and you are.  The upcoming therapy appointment will hopefully help you answer some of these questions for you and your wife. If the therapist is good, it should at least help point you both in the right direction.

 

18 hours ago, VickySGV said:

...interestingly enough I am even more active in my Christian denomination now that I am out than I was before...

This has been the case for myself also.  My own introspection with my transgender issues helped me determine what I wanted for myself spiritually.  My beliefs didn't change but the way I looked at the church as a whole did.  I now realize that not every Christian denomination is going to accept or affirm me for who I am and that's ok.  I accept this and looked for the best 'fit' for my wife and I, and of course, one which was inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals.  We did attend different churches temporarily but eventually decided that worshipping together was what we wanted.  Now we have found exactly that.  I tell you this to give you some hope that there are real Christians who will stand with you and love you for who you are.  It might take some time to find the right one but they are definitely out there.

 

Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life with us here.  It will be nice to read how your story unfolds.  Be patient and hopeful.

 

Warmest Regards,

Susan R🌷

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Belle

Thank you Susan! It's very comforting to know I'm not alone in this experience. 

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