Gendys Conference 1998.
This conference was set up by the Beaumont Society which began as a support group for men who cross-dress, for erotic purposes, and eventually set up a sister organisation (Beaumont Trust) to support the wives of these men. This is an article presented at their conference in 1998.
Diana opens by recognising the gains made by the “transgendered” individuals, in the last three decades of the twentieth century, but laments the lack of recognition of issues affecting those women who were damaged by their association with the cross-dressing men; though Diana refers to them as afflicted by “Gender Dysphoria”. Diana is keen to assure her audience that she is not intending to censure the men in this community.
G.P.s. were apt to dismiss the experience of the women, caught up in these marriages, who find they do not meet with the same compassion their “transgender” partner expects for himself. The impact on the wives resulted, in some 100 cases, in a need for psychiatric care. That’s an estimated 5% of those who contacted the Beaumont Trust. Likely to be the tip of the iceberg as any woman, who knew the origins of the Beaumont Trust, would be unlikely to seek their support. To give Diana credit she doesn’t fail these women and presents two horrific case studies to the Gendy’s Conference. How I would love to know the response from the men present.
Aitchison lays out the background: The wife’s become some sort of “muse” for their husbands. His intense interest in her stems, not from love, or desire, but from a kind of identity plagiarism or identity theft.
She has plenty of experience of the wives experiences, having taken calls from over 2000 women over ten years. The wives who contact her are overwhelmingly shocked, many she describes as “frightened”. Some of their husbands, once discovered, declare their intention to have surgery on their genitals.
For anyone who wants a detour to explore Peggy Rudd’s story, mentioned above, here is her book. I confess I am not tempted.
We can thank Trans Widow’s voices for challenging the dominant image of the “gender dysphoric” subject. Far from being prey to a debilitating condition many appear largely to be in the grip of a porn fuelled obsession. Their partners /exes are the collateral damage.
So, why are these wives so defeated and traumatised? This 👇 sounds like living with your stalker, but with no escape. These men are practising a sort of vampirism of the soul. Aitchison describes this mimicry as the commonest complaint from wives. It’s clearly not an aberrant minority.
Mrs A : Case Study 1
First is the example of Mrs A. She discovered her husband wearing her nightgown and impersonating her sleeping position. It was not his first offence, He ignored her efforts to complain, sulking if she attempted to remonstrate with him. She ends up deciding to say nothing.
Like many an abusive husband he tortures her with “mind games” and accuses her of being mentally ill. After this gaslighting she does have a severe breakdown. His quest for “identity” stripped her of hers, because her husband had appropriated it, she was an unwilling “muse”.
I am no expert on trans widows but I have seen enough parallels with the treatment of domestic abuse victims (which these women clearly are). One of the common complaints is how galling is the assumption that only the weak would fall prey to these men. It’s the same old “Why didn’t she leave him?”. As Aitchison points out the women don’t realise what is happening and by then they may be more entrapped psychologically and, perhaps, financially. How many of these men wait until their wife has children and is financially dependent before unleashing their paraphilia on their wife?
This comparison took me by surprise. The breaking down of the wife’s will is compared to the techniques for breaking the spirit of a wild horse.
The wives may not even know they are being subjected to this “shadowing technique” , I am assuming the husbands are not so vile as to deploy this as a conscious strategy to break their wives’ spirit. Perhaps I am wrong and they know exactly what they are doing.
This is a form of coercive control likely undetectable to the victim let alone an outside observer. Even worse he may look like a devoted spouse and she unhinged and possibly unkind.
Barbara’s Story: Case Study 2
Barbara’s story if even more stark. Notably, Diana is keen to point out that Barbara is anxious to make it clear this was atypical behaviour. Maybe the ones writing to trans widows voices are atypical or may be these are the ones who have managed to escape?
Barbara’ story gets darker. Her husbands behaviour emerged after the birth of her second child and only four years into her marriage. He also appropriated her night clothes and informed her there was nothing she could do about it, she would remain married to him for another 31 years despite the end of their sex life,
His domestic abuse wasn’t confined to the psychological abuse he was also violent to both her and her son. He displayed a different side to his daughter thereby ensuring he ruptured the bond between mother and daughter. Naturally he also became preoccupied by pornography.
In another echo of domestic abuse scenarios he made sure to cut his wife off from any potential support avenues. After lying to her sister she would be estranged from her for thirty years. He made sure to perform his role, as a loving husband, in public whilst being cold and distant in private. At the same time he insisted on wifely obedience from Barbara. Of course he was a transvestic fetishist, something he concealed from their children. Some of these men are being platformed by women’s rights organisations to the dismay of Trans Widows.
Eventually, once the children had left home she broke down and finally realised she could leave the marriage. Fearful of him she signed over her share of the marital assets but he still sent threatening messages to her and continued to disparage her as “mentally ill”.
He remains in her daughters life as a grandfather and she has discovered he is taking hormones. Barbara has lost any close bonds with her children, one too damaged and one living in ignorance of her fathers true nature.
Barbara now helps other women in her situation. Many are bewildered and shocked and some discover their husbands secret life after thirty years.
Not all the women who make contact are middle-aged some young women make contact. Like Barbara they have young children. At the same time they fear their experience will not be understood or believed.
I suspect the Beaumont Trust was not likely to have developed comprehensive support for the women subjected to abuse by cross-dressing spouses. The Trust was set up to support wives to, in turn, prop up their husbands and is predicated on their remaining with their husbands.
Original is here:
For any one going through something similar. There is an organisation available. You will find many similar accounts on this website. I will be adding a post about Elizabeth Morris, wife of “transsexual” Jan Morris, but I wanted to add this post about the wive’s experience, though I can’t draw a direct comparison to the state of the Morris marriage.
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