Elizabeth Morris: Conundrum

This is a companion piece to my blog on Jan Morris. You can read the post on Jan Morris here: 👇

Jan Morris: Conundrum

Elizabeth is largely missing from Jan’s narrative except as a kind of muse, or a midwife to the birth of James’ reinvention as “Jan”. This started life as a twitter thread but, since Morris passed on, there have been more critical assessments of Jan Morris’s legacy, it seemed, therefore, timely to get this in blog form.

Jan Morrris dedicates his book, Conundrum, to his wife and one of his sons. He claims that his marriage was a successful one despite the perception that it ought not to have worked. We don’t have a firsthand account, by Elizabeth, to counterbalance Jan’s dominant narrative. We do know that Morris spent long periods away from the North Wales home, where Elizabeth devoted her time to bringing up their brood. Jan Morris also claims the marriage had a “divine inspiration”.

Here is a revealing observation about the fantasies of himself as a virile, male lover, whilst consummating this divine marriage: Could this be Morris acknowledging his self-love of himself as an image of Elizabeth embodied in his post “trans” embodiment as a woman?

Morris claimed that he deferred his “transition” until he could be sure that Elizabeth was fulfilled as a mother. This doesn’t quite square with his earlier account that he became a father as the next best alternative to becoming a “mother” himself. Morris also concedes that he was not much of a father figure except as the adventurous, paternal role model.

In his later incarnation Morris saw himself in the role of a kind but interfering aunt to his children. His re-invention as Elizabeth’s sister-in-law saw his wife condemned to a sexless marriage; something that he publicly proclaimed.

Morris then recasts his relationship to his wife as if it were always a marriage brought about by their similarities and he is keen to claim that they were similar in their physical appearance right at the inception of their relationship. Like brother and sister.

Morris says they were perfectly attuned to one another and shared the same thoughts.

This claim is well worth reading alongside some of the accounts of wives trapped in relationships with men who identify as a woman who turns out to be not unlike their wives. There are enough similarities in the accounts to at least question whether Elizabeth’s experience shares some characteristics with these women.

Psychological Impact: The Wives

This is how Morris describes their travels abroad. Jan enjoying the flirtatious men they met along the way.

Of course the couple are now re-imagined as a couple of girlfriends and Jan finding the attentions of men ridiculously flattering.

Jan revels in being patronised as a “woman” but he does betray an element of competition with Elizabeth which he reveals, in this aside, which suggests that Elizabeth is recast in the “male role” of the payer of restaurant bills.

Elizabeth Morris. Wife of Jan Morris

Honest reviews of Jan Morris’s book do note the absence of Elizabeth’s voice and the fact we only see the story from the man’s perspective. Since this comment, to Germaine Green’s coverage, 👇 Suki has written a longer form piece as the child of a male “transitioner”.

Morris also claimed that his wife accepted a new “open” relationship.

Sadly we are now unlikely to hear Elizabeth’s story unless any account is uncovered after her death. She is, I believe, still living, as I write, but suffering from senile dementia. Whilst alive Morris seemed to attract little constructive criticism of his account of a life post “transition”. After his death his daughter offered a more critical assessment of his role in her life.

Jan seemed determined to get the last word on what Elizabeth’s life meant. He saw it as a shared life, of one life. Here is him talking about their eternal resting space which Jan took care of before his death. Even in death Elizabeth is subsumed into her husband’s identity with no life of her own worthy of memory.

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Psychological Impact: The Wives

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:

Wives Experience

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.

Trans Widows Voices

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Jan Morris: Conundrum


This started life as two twitter threads, one on Jan and one on his wife. Since Jan’s daughter has recently spoken out (in an article in The Times) I thought I would take the time to turn it into a blog post, or three.

Jan Morris considered himself a “transsexual” and was treated as a national treasure until his death, earlier this year. Because his name kept cropping up in “trans” world I decided to read his memoir “Conundrum”. It was quite a revelation. I had seen quite a lot of praise for Morris, from feminists, and assumed they had not read his book. On this I was wrong. My thread drew a series of outraged replies from a blue tick feminist / journalist who found my thread “patronising”. It turned out the journalist in question had interviewed Morris. A fact I was not aware of, at the time. I have never found the interview. She ended with the (not at all patronising) suggestion that I simply was unable to recognise good writing and clearly had not read as much on the topic as she, ouch! 😂. In fairness to her, many of us did not know how to spot the signs of autogynephilia and many of came out of the #BeKind stable until we realised the cost, to women’s rights.

The book begins with the usual, ret-conned narrative, that he always knew he had been “born in the wrong body”. If you have read as many of these narratives as I have this is a familiar strategy. I say “strategy” because it is an attempt to deflect from the real route to “transsexuality” for heterosexual men; by which I mean autogynephilia.

Later on Morris makes a bid to be regarded as a “true transsexual” distancing himself from the notion he was cut from the same cloth as transvestites or that his “gratification” takes the same form. He also distances himself from homosexuals, of which more later. j

Just for emphasis. Jan recognised no pruriency to their condition. An emphatic denial of a sexual motive is not uncommon. Even when that sexual desire is turned inward and you, yourself, are the object of your erotic fantasies it is still sexually motivated. Autogynephilia seems a reasonable assumption to make about Morris.

We travel with Jan through the male world he inhabits. He describes his attraction to the “feminine principle” and assigns women the traits of gentleness, forgiveness, giving and, of course, helpmate status rather than leadership. Our Jan is quite the sexist.
But #BeKind

He shares a rather weird anecdote about the school matron who undressed in front of him for reasons that were unclear, perhaps to check a lump on her breast. Completely inappropriate behaviour but Jan sees this as evidence she saw his feminine essence. Of course it could be fantasy, there is now no way of verifying it at this stage.

In his confusion he wondered if every boy wished to be a girl and it is clear he has put women on a pedestal. He has clearly missed large swathes of biblical, historical and literary pronouncements that see women as the source of all sin. He shows a paucity of understanding, or interest in, women’s lives and history; we exist only as the male fantasy he cherishes.

We learn that Jan’s earlier sexual encounters were with males. I would suggest it is significant that he mentions being “flogged” by one the week before and that he preferred to “play the role of girl”. A pre-internet version of “Sissy Porn” ?

This is also a revealing excerpt about those early homosexual encounters. He revels in his beauty and playing the “girl” role whatever that means to Morris. A passive recipient of his fellow male advances seems likely.

Jan then talks about his envy of the female role in procreation which he sees as more fundamental and closer to the life cycle. Recognising he could never be a mother he describes Fatherhood as the next best thing. He also craves the company of girls yet craved for a “man’s love”. Indeed he writes with great sensuousness about a love affair with Otto, only to be crushed, he claims, by Otto wishing Morris was a woman.

More than once Jan reflects on what it means to claim womanhood and to claim to think like a woman. His later pronouncements show he thinks like a man, who “others” women to create a refuge for himself. He creates a prison for women to satisfy his own needs.

Jan was able to find much to celebrate about his maleness. Like a lot of late transitioners he had a degree of prowess in pursuits he only associates with males. Women, he states, cannot claim to feeling this way about our bodies. A man telling women about our bodies. Shocker! {At the risk of feeding the lie we are all biological essentialists, I will just add, that I have never been as aware of the power of a woman’s body while giving birth}.

The context for this immense self satisfaction is a successful assault on Mt. Everest. Jan takes a rather paternal tone he as he condescends to describe this feeling to his “women readers”.
Women! Climbing MOUNTAINS! Heaven Forfend.
We might break a nail.

Quite a paean to masculinity, for a man who has always known he is really a woman. Is mastering womanhood just another tempting summit! once you have assaulted the worlds greatest peak maybe the next one is #PeakTrans?

Apparently women are not team players so it takes males to mount a successful expedition. Odd isn’t it that a man who think women don’t have any solidarity aspires to join the “sisterhood”. He has no idea about the strength of women, when we work together, because he never experienced it.

Next is a revealing lament for the disappearing stiff upper lip and the trend for men showing weakness. He is also not keen the breaking down of barriers between the “genders” . He is not keen on mixed sex expeditions and slyly notes no mission will ever be as successful as his. The All Male one.

There follows a lot about meeting his wife who deserves her own thread. I will return to him age 35. Married with children and preparing to embark on “transition”. Here’s Elizabeth, his wife, eventual a kind of Trans Widow but, he tells us, a “loyal” companion after divorce.

Following the death of a daughter he begins to experiment with hormones. This is a common narrative from these men who centre themselves when there is any danger of attention being focussed elsewhere. His wife would also have been dealing with this bereavement but Jan is focused on himself. He’s “despairing” , he tells us, this was the worse period of his life. Something tells me it wasn’t a barrel of laughs for Elizabeth either.

Interestingly what seems to trigger a lot of resentment about his situation is his exclusion from women only spaces. Notice that when we hear about women it is always how they gratify his need to be recognised as “feminine”. “Cisters” are there to serve our new “sisters”. He began to hate his connection to the male sex and dreaded the absence of women but was gratified when female associates validated his “femininity”.

This theme is fascinating. Men are associated with the public sphere and women with the private sphere. (Sound familiar?) The Ministers & The Ambassadors office bore Jan. He yearns for access to the inner world of females of which more later.

Jan, I think, recognised he has reached the summit of his ambitions as a man. He is by now quite successful. He turns his back on worldly success, which he equated with maleness. He is going to retreat to impotence, which he associated with being a woman. Thanks Jan.

Woman as a de-sexualised, passive member of society is what he aspires to…more of this in the post I will do about Elizabeth.

He would father three (surviving) children with Elizabeth and is living, en famille, in bliss in Venice. He relays an encounter with a blind, destitute, beggar woman to whom he was in the habit of dispensing charity. She has a walk on part in Jan’s fantasy and her only role is to sense the woman in him.

Elizabeth, rather magnanimously, we are told, is Jan’s supporter as he begins to embark on what he thinks of as “change of sex”. I wonder if anyone asked her? Or interviewed her?

Jan then turns to his own assessment of what makes a woman. He lists body parts, chromosomes and hormones and psychological sex. You can guess which he prioritises in order to force his way in to the category to which he does not belong.

“Sex is merely the tool of gender” . Jan wants an identity so “brace yourself I’m coming in” …like a crap version of foreplay, in he comes.

No more sexual favours for Elizabeth as he blithely informs us. On the bright side (for Jan). Life looks brand new. He is getting closer nature & talking to flowers. Women as the quivering sex but also simpler, closer to nature.

Jan reflects that living in female role results in being patronised / ignored and no longer being presented with the bill. I find it noteworthy that he makes a point of saying waitresses frequently gave the bill to Elizabeth which suggests an element of competition about being “more womanly” than she. (A similar competition was noted in a prominent AGP male who makes a cloaked difference at his menopausal wife and how he now boasts more “female” hormones than his wife). Also notice he comments how the “motherly” waitresses have lower expections in terms of tips. Would any other men get away with this rank sexism?

At other times Jan seems not to have understood the #MeToo movement. It’s not supposed to be “me too” can I have some of that! On more than one occasion he welcomes attentions women fight, sometimes a losing battle, against.

Clearly Jan had no intention of joining the militant feminist wing of womanhood. More comfortable in the Surrendered Wives branch of the Barbara Cartland Party.

Here he rather offensively claims his post surgery self was akin to a woman post hysterectomy. Oh the irony. So many TRAs claim GC/Radfems are reducing women to their reproductive parts..Seems this may have originated in the Granddaddy of TS In the UK. 👇#WombEnvy. None of these men seem to understand basic biology and realise that the last thing the surgery grants them is a vagina.

Along with a load of sexist claptrap about how much more womanly he is post transition there’s this corker. Actually talking about women with penis envy and why we are right to be so!!!!
Sexism on Steroids. And maddeningly so call feminist orgs. are yielding!

Honestly I think this book is being used as a training manual for TRAs about what to claim to feel as a woman. 👇. Woman as incompetent, weak, gossipy, focussed on the domestic sphere etc. Women aren’t Stepford Wives. FFS.


Women as children!

He throws transvestites under a bus by talking about the quiet thing outloud. Transvestic Fetishism. This now comes under the Trans Umbrella. Our politicians have no fucking idea what they are unleashing on women. Men who get off on hiding a penis in women’s clothes/spaces. 😡

I will return to Jan Morris’s book to cover what we can glean about the life of Elizabeth and his daughter.

You can support my work by taking out a paid subscription to my substack or donating below. All donations gratefully received and they do help me cover my costs and also to keep content open for those not able to contribute.

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Researching the history and the present of the “transgender” movement and the harm it is wreaking on our society.