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A Journey of Rediscovery

Our series continues...

Reflections on My Transgender Journey as a Father

A continuation of our “What About The Children” series.

In the ever-changing tapestry of human existence, identity serves as the thread that binds our personal narratives. It is a complex and intricate part of who we are, often evolving as we journey through life, continually self-discovering and self-defining. For me, this journey has been a challenging yet enlightening one, as I grapple with my transgender identity in my late years. Rediscovering my connection to my female side, Gwen, at the age of 59, after years of suppression since I was 15, has been an experience characterized by self-realization, vulnerability, and resilience.

Being a transgender individual, particularly at an older age, presents a unique set of challenges. The societal norms and expectations ingrained over the decades have made this rediscovery process an uphill battle. However, these struggles are not solely mine. They also extend to my loved ones – my wife and my two children.

My children, a 25-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter, have both been made aware of my female side, and while their reactions differed, their love and support remain the same. My daughter, perhaps due to her generation’s broader understanding of gender diversity, appears to be more adjusted to the revelation. She has demonstrated an openness and acceptance that has been nothing short of a balm to my heart. My son, however, has been wrestling with this new understanding of his father. His struggle is a poignant reminder of the societal pressures and prejudices that still exist against the transgender community.

While my children have seen pictures of Gwen and are aware of my transformation, they prefer not to meet her in person. This preference is not a rejection of my identity, but rather a sign of their ongoing process of adjustment. It’s a testament to the depth and complexity of their emotions, a mix of surprise, confusion, and perhaps fear of the unknown. Yet, in their own ways, they are trying to understand and accept the changes in our lives.

My wife has been a rock in these turbulent times. Though it has not been easy for her, she has shown a strength and resilience that I deeply admire. She too is on a journey of her own, grappling with the person she married and the new side of me she is now discovering. Her struggles are silent but significant, and as we navigate this together, our bond grows stronger.

One of the most significant challenges I have faced is reconciling my role as a father with my transgender identity. As Gwen, I am still the same person who has loved, nurtured, and provided for my family. My love for them has not changed, and I want them to understand this above everything else. I am still their father, regardless of how I present myself or what name I choose to go by.

Coming out as transgender later in life may bring unique challenges, but it also brings unique joys. I have finally found the courage to be true to myself, to acknowledge and embrace my female side that has been suppressed for too long. This honesty and authenticity have not only liberated me, but they have also deepened my relationships with my family, as we navigate this journey together, learning and growing from each other’s experiences.

In this journey of rediscovery, I’ve learned that being transgender does not diminish my capacity to love or be loved. It does not lessen my role as a father or a partner. Instead, it adds another layer of complexity and richness to my identity. As I continue to navigate this path, I remain hopeful that my family will fully accept and embrace Gwen, not as a separate entity, but as an integral part of who I am.

Throughout my struggles and triumphs, my message to my children and my wife is unwavering: I love you, regardless. Love, in its purest form, transcends societal norms, expectations, and even our personal understanding. My transition does not alter this fundamental truth. I am still the person who held you when you were scared, comforted you when you were upset, and celebrated with you in your happiest moments. The essence of my love for you is unchanged, whether it comes from your father or from Gwen.

My son, in the midst of your struggles to understand, I see your efforts. I see your courage in trying to navigate this unfamiliar terrain, and I am grateful for your patience and your willingness to grow. Please know that my love for you is not contingent upon your immediate acceptance or understanding. I see you grappling with this change, and I want you to know that it’s okay. It’s okay to be confused, to have questions, to need time.

My daughter, your acceptance and understanding have been a source of immense comfort. Your willingness to adjust, your efforts to understand, are a testament to your maturity and kindness. I am so proud of the woman you are becoming. I hope that as you continue to grow, you will carry this compassion and openness with you, spreading it to those you meet.

To my wife, my partner, my rock – thank you. Your strength, resilience, and unwavering support have been my guiding light in this journey. Your love, even in the face of adversity, is a testament to your beautiful heart. This journey is not just mine, but ours, and I am incredibly grateful to have you by my side.

As we move forward, I hope to continue fostering an environment of open dialogue, empathy, and understanding within our family. While we may stumble and falter at times, it is important to remember that we are navigating this journey together, and that our bond as a family is stronger than any challenge we may face.

In the end, my story is not just about my struggle as a transgender father but is a testament to the enduring power of love and acceptance. It’s a tale of rediscovery, resilience, and the unbreakable bond of a family. It’s a journey of becoming, of accepting, and of loving, no matter what. And in this journey, one thing remains constant: my unending love for my family. Because no matter what, I am still their father, I am still their partner, I am still me – I am Gwen. And I love them, regardless.

Dr. Gwen Patrone

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9 Responses

  1. Gwen,
    Wow, that was very powerful. What you wrote is extremely similar to my situation, I do not have a daughter but one son who seems to feel exactly like your son does. He struggles with accepting Sherry from the moment he unexpectedly walked in on me when I was home alone. I have told him that I am still his dad but seeing me really left a mark he cannot erase. My wife, like yours, has been amazing but we certainly struggle at times.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sherry

  2. Gwen,
    So much of your story resonates with me , the dilemmas we face when when attempting to be open and truthful about ourselves .
    Thoughts on your son and daughter , perhaps I can relate to mine the slight difference being that my daughter is 45 with a daughter of her own and my son is 42 with two sons . Kandi is in the process of posting a thread of mine on this subject but the crux is both are fully aware in fact I’ve been out with daughter many times and my son recently collected me in his car to view a rental property . Do they have a problem ? The answer possibly lies with a mutual respect for each other , as you say dealing with our true identities . The big difference is my wife isn’t on board and at times she makes the situation more difficult than it should be for herself and everyone else .

    The point I wished to make is that your children seeing your isn’t a real problem especially when they know you go out in the world as Gwen . Perhaps you should ask if the problem is more in your mind ? That also poses the next question of how consistent do you want to be with your appearance ? Personally I feel that is the crux of my situation , I have gone full time to subdue my dysphoria , whether my children fully understand that I can’t say for certain but at least they respect me for that committment , they have lost very little in accepting that .

    Possibly a subject for all of us to discuss for the future but I was thinking recently how different humans are to any other species on planet Earth . The ability we have to communicate in so many ways , speech , expression , gestures and how they affect emotions in each other , the cruelty and pleasure we exert . That is on a human level and then we have the enormous brain power to communicate all that on a global scale , one person now has the power to reach another person in almost every corner of the world and influence them in some way .

  3. Hi Gwen,
    I don’t think you will like what I am about to say, but I may be wrong.
    As someone who has dressed all my life and been seriously affected by the desire and has interacted with many many other people who crossdress I have come to the realisation that men who have successfully functioned as men and then state that they are really women are full of self deception.
    I know many men who have decided that they would rather be women and have destroyed their families and their lives through a desire to be seen as women.
    My closest friend who is a very passable transwoman stated to me that she wishes she had of stayed a crossdresser and not ruined her life and lost all she had in her desire to live as a woman full time.
    I see this over and over again.
    It is sad.
    Believe me I to have almost travelled this path so I feel qualified to speak on this subject.
    I love presenting as a woman, wish I was a woman, but I know I cannot be a woman.
    I wish no one harm and do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings especially the wives and children of those of us who think wearing ladies clothes beats living our authentic lives.

    1. Jan,
      Whether we like or dislike your comments is missing the point but then we have to consider living a life of crossdressing often dictated by the thoughts of others or living the life as a transgender person dealing with gender dysphoria . It’s often a heated debate when we claim to live the life of a woman , those who undergo surgery come as close as it’s possible , is it wrong to deny them that claim ?
      I personally could not live a life as a crossdresser because it didn’t deal with the fundamental problem , the actual life I live is as Teresa , to achieve that identity has been a difficult road , every step forward often meant taking two heart wrenching steps back . In my experience it has been worth it , I have no regrets . So what is my chosen lifestyle status ? I turn the question round by saying I no longer live as a man , my preference is to live like a woman , on a daily basis I don’t consider I live a transgender life because it never enters my head and it never enters into the conversation in normal life . No one has questioned me in the last 5 years when I first made the decision , the only time it arises is when I meet up with crossdressing trans friends , that is partly why I no longer attend trans meetings , they have served a purpose and now I’ve moved on to where I wish to be .
      The basic problem with crossdressers and some transgender people is retaining the male status , some wish or choose not to lose it and some are forced not to lose it either way there is no way a life as a woman can be considered and accepted by others . From my own experienec I know it’s possible and can work very successfully .

  4. Gwen, reading between the lines of what you say confirms my own suspicions that sons and daughters will react differently. Read any post here and the stories of affirmation are almost always from women. That’s not to say that they’re never from men as both Kandi & Dee have recently posted accounts of their interaction with male friends but it’s usually women who are immediately accepting. We can state the obvious and say they accept because they understand the joys of being female but women also tend to have more empathetic personalities too.

    But there’s another big factor that I think tends to get overlooked and that’s that women have little idea of what it’s really like to be a man. Sons of course do and have to deal with the double whammy of the personal issue – their own father likes to dress up as a woman – and the general issue – trying to get their head around why any guy would want to do it.

    This is a side of me that, notwithstanding my wife’s demand that our kids should never get to know about this, I want to keep completely separate from family life anyway so I have no plans to disclose anything about this side of me to them. However if I did I would expect that my daughter (who is in her 20s) would be supportive whereas my son (late teens) would probably shrug his shoulders and say something along the lines of ‘whatever’. However it is him that I would worry about far more, both from how it affected him emotionally and from a concern that he may think that he could no longer discuss things with me because I had ‘left the room’ so to speak.

    Of course, either or both of them may have already put 2 and 2 together and worked it out!

    1. Amanda ,
      Your point about women having no idea what it’s like to be a man is true but can also be expanded to them having no idea what it’s like for a man to have gender dysphoria . I made that point very clear to my wife when I tried to expain the driving force behind the need for some of us to crossdress . Obviously that argument can be turned around when applying it to female to male transgender people , it’s often forgotten that the . split is almost 50-50 with as many women wishing to become men . I often consider it unfair at times that transgender men are singled out far more than women as weirdos etc , a woman can invent herself is so many ways without the same stigmas

  5. I too plan on my own post, especially since I suggested this series as a result of a post from Amanda J.
    I am divorced and have two kids in the early 30’s. All know I wear panties ever since I left a pair of thongs in the rubber ring on a front door washer. All know that I wear 4 inch heels everywhere. It doesn’t bother my son, but my daughter doesn’t like I wear heels.
    I will write more later, but I want to point out that it’s not always the daughter that is more accepting.

  6. Thank you Gwen . I love the way you write about you experiences and that you share them with us. All the things you have written here are what I think about every day of my life.

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