I am a transwidow. I was married for a long time to a man who suffers from male late-onset gender dysphoria or “autogynephilia”. He finally walked out on me and his family, leaving behind emotional and financial turmoil. The man I thought I had married had in fact “died” long ago or never existed at all. He is a very confused biological man. “Widow” implies the end of a man’s life and grief – grief that he has no insight into his confusion.

This was in 2006. I have only been divorced from him recently, and our two children have never known the person I married. Although he traveled past our door on the way to the Gender Identity Clinic for three years, he never once visited us. Of course I never guessed any of these events when I married him in 1992.

My ex-husband asked me just before we were married: “Do you believe in androgyny, the idea of a third sex?” We were in a busy restaurant, I had no idea why he raised the subject and, when I looked back with a blank expression, he immediately dropped the subject. He rightly understood that I would never, ever suspect that he suffered from a life-long hidden mental disorder. It was a question with an ulterior motive. It was the most glaring of his subsequent “ambiguous” utterances which I now know to be narcissistic teasing. Others included assertions that he had “small feet” and “shapely legs” for a man. Although I have since put two and two together, I was not suspicious because I was not trained in psychiatry. His behaviour seemed within a normal range. And I was not looking for reasons not to marry this charming, intelligent, but rather reticent man who was very attentive to me.

Decision to publish and be visible

There are only a handful of websites written by and for transwidows. Many of the UK’s 3600 MtF people with Gender Recognition Certificates were married, so there must be quite a few transwidows. It takes time to overcome the shame and, more simply, to learn the language of “trans ideology”, of psychiatry and of “gender criticism”. It is 2018, the year when we celebrate the centenary of some women obtaining the vote (1918). There is a ferment of interest in “transgender lives” as a fashion or lifestyle choice. But there is a distaste for facing squarely the biological reality of sex as one of two organizing forces (the other is money!) in all human societies. Young people especially are frustrated in their economic outlook and and seek to evade this uncomfortable truth (“rainbow genders”). And finally everyone is uncomfortable with the trauma and moral outrage of the abandoned wives and families, who accuse psychiatrists of corrupt complicity with their patients and of insufficiently exploring the co-morbidities of GD sufferers. So transwidows are totally ignored.

And all because transwidows don’t stand up and shout about their grief.

Long-standing issues

  • Recognition of our pivotal role in holding our children’s welfare and peaceful development (free from fear) at the front of our concerns.

  • Possible prosecution of “gas-lighting” or criminally abusive husbands/ex-/partners under S76 of Serious Crime Act 2015, “Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship”. This provision has not been used as it should be to push back against psychological torture. Wives/female partners should report gas-lighting to the police to boost their self-confidence, once they are strong enough to testify to specific examples of systematic lying, manipulation or coercion. S76 should be the psychiatric equivalent of prosecution for physical sexual attacks, #metoo. Both are misogynist attacks.

  • Changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004: appalling proposed changes to allow “gender self-ID” in the UK must be discussed and resisted. Fair Play For Women has produced a set of guides to completing the public consultation on the proposals which ends on 19th October 2018.

  • Pushing back against the Trans activists and “trans ideology” by publicizing the primitive state of psychiatry. In 2008 a Medical Director for Mental Health Services admitted this to me and nothing has changed. There is no universally accepted (1) theory of emotional development in babies and children or (2) theory of what constitutes emotional balance in adults. So psychiatrists are talking in ignorance and with no reference points. Their approach to gender dysphoria is to eliminate alternative diagnoses, to get other colleagues to talk to the patient and to agree a collective opinion (Dr James Barrett: “Transsexual and other disorders of gender identity – a practical guide to management”, Radcliffe Publishing, 2007). Imagine if we postulated a cancer diagnosis on this basis?!  There are no objective tests or “markers” in psychiatry (Dr Richard Corradi: Psychiatry Professor: ‘Transgenderism’ Is Mass Hysteria Similar To 1980s-Era Junk Science).

  • Last but not least, the children of mentally ill parents can have a very difficult time separating truth from fiction out of the mouths of those whom they (wrongly) trust. The trauma can last many years and exact a heavy toll on the child’s own mental health.

Biology and evidence, not ideology and relativism