These Chains That Have No Name: Interview with Trans Widows Voices – Pro- Trans- Groups Use DARVO and other Narcissistic Manipulative Tactics on Trans Widows
Can you imagine, you’re a woman married to a man, and after so many years of marriage, your husband informs you one day that he wants to identify as a woman? Lord. There are times I am glad I never married. Seeing stuff like this is one of those times.
By Donovan Cleckley
Trans Widows Voices is a website that works to support the former partners of males who have socially and medically transitioned, and to amplify the voices of women, those who are most forgotten in the narratives of men’s heroic journeys to conquer ‘womanhood’ as theirs.
Under the “Our Voices” heading of the site, we see a selection of stories from women. Despite charges that these women make their male partners into monsters, these narratives show us new dimensions in the subjection of women.
Most relationships in these cases involve married heterosexual males, many of whom have fathered children, ‘coming out’ as ‘women’ after many years of crossdressing behind closed doors. “It is their wives who suffer,” Andrea Dworkin wrote in a review of Amy Bloom’s book Normal in 2003.
To voice their experiences, these women write under pseudonyms, staying anonymous, primarily because of how relentlessly their former husbands would pursue them to punish them for speaking.
The case of Christine Benvenuto, author of the 2012 memoir Sex Changes, exemplifies this sort of situation, where the husband’s identity appears to matter more than his wife’s humanity.
Men seek to silence women for speaking the truth of gender as a reality in which men possess women.
As Dworkin said in 1995: “Gender itself—what men are, what women are—is based on the forced silence of women; and beliefs about community—what a community is, what a community should be – are based on this silence.”
Women Are Human presents for our readers an exchange with the founder of Trans Widows Voices. And, as Dworkin would tell us today, in our time: remember, resist, do not comply.
[From the interview with a woman whose husband claimed he was a transwoman after they married]
I know that I felt very isolated during my marriage. Being your husband’s secret keeper and sharing his ‘closet’ is claustrophobic.
When my ex-husband started to think about leaving the closet, he quickly gained a Greek chorus of online supporters cheering on his progress toward transition. I had nobody until very late on when I told my best friends.
I didn’t find any groups or support networks for trans widows, indeed that name didn’t exist back then. The only thing I found was the Women of the Beaumont Society (WOBS), and this seemed to consist of older women putting up with teeth grindingly miserable relationships with crossdressers – or younger women in what I now know to be abusive relationships with autogynephilic men. I didn’t relate to either of these.
…The other pressure on women to stay comes from society. The rewards for staying can be great on one level – praise from the LGBT community, opportunities for book deals and lifestyle blogs. The women who stay are able to write about their experiences under their own names, whilst those of us who leave generally have to be anonymous for fear of reprisals.
But the cage that these women are in is the most insidious in my view – as they are totally dependent on the approval and acceptance of the transgender community. If they put a foot wrong, online retribution can be swift and merciless.
[Interviewer says] While husbands ‘coming out’ as ‘women’ generally receive support in being ‘wives,’ with their wives expected to be their supporters, it would seem that the wives who have been women all along tend to receive far less support.
…A narrative that we hear most commonly has been that, if the husbands cannot have their wives’ fullest submission, the men will die by suicide. As we also know, seldom do such discussions, presumably concerned with mental health and well-being, discuss the situation of the wives.
In your experience, what have you found most revealing about this inconsistency in concern for males over females from otherwise progressive people, especially coming from those who claim to be feminists?
[The site founder responds]:
You correctly identify that one of the main leverage tactics that trans widows’ husbands tend to use is saying if they do not do this or that, whatever it might be, then they will become so depressed they will inevitably kill themselves.
Aside from enabling them to get their own way, it enables them to free themselves of any blame or guilt for their actions. This use of suicide threats cuts through the whole transgender rights movement – parents of trans identifying children are subjected to it, too, and it’s a common claim of groups like Mermaids.
Threatening suicide is a well-known manipulation tactic. In the UK we have a brilliant organisation called (Link): the Freedom Programme, something I recommend all trans widows complete.
The Freedom Programme teaches women―in particular, domestic abuse survivors―how to identify and avoid being subjected to further abuse, by showing abuse tactics as different personas of a template domestic abuser, who is called “The Dominator.”
The side of the abuser that uses suicide threats, according to the Freedom Programme, is “The Persuader,” who controls by threats and coercion.
At the same time, as suicidal ideation is being used as justification for transition, many LGBT organisations take the understandable upset and confusion which trans widows experience, which may result in suicidal thoughts, as attempts to abuse and control the transitioner. This is a DARVO tactic, which echoes the way trans widows are treated in the home.
The despair and grief of the trans widow as she loses any control over the future of her marriage is reframed as an attempt to abuse and control her husband – and the language of domestic violence is appropriated.
It is a narcissistic tactic. LGBT organisations actually postulate that it is domestic abuse if a trans widow does not ‘affirm’ her husband’s gender identity.
No doubt it is part of a strategy to silence trans widows into compliance. The wife is not even allowed to feel upset without it being framed as her being transphobic and controlling toward her husband.
[The interviewer asks about autogynephilia, and the site owner replies]
My view of autogynephilia is that it is a fetish, which damages women by its very existence – as by its nature, it is never victimless.3
It can damage women directly, because they are coerced into participating in it in the bedroom, or in everyday life where a man gets off on crossing women’s boundaries and making them uncomfortable.
Women are also affected indirectly, because autogynephilia perpetuates a patriarchal – and ‘sissified’ – version of womanhood.
[She explains that a lot of men with this hang-up have “submissive” sexual fantasies and pressure their wives to participate]
…One example of this, which I found particularly upsetting, involved a woman who was coerced into ‘pegging’ her husband with a strap-on, even though it caused her pain to her caesarean scar.
Throughout this, the husband was role-playing that he was a ‘slave’ and she was his dominant ‘mistress.’
….This is connected to something which I call the trans widow’s conundrum. During our marriages, to a greater or lesser degree, we see our husbands go through some kind of struggle relating to their identity.
Often, we see them move from secret crossdresser to identifying as a ‘trans woman.’ There comes a point where they have to make a choice between continuing to live in a ‘male’ role, so to speak, or socially and medically transitioning.
If they choose to transition, rather than live secret lives as crossdressers, then they very quickly have to start to project the idea that it was not a choice at all, but rather was really inevitable.
Usually, they will say that they had to make the decision to transition – or else, as it goes, they would have killed themselves. They also have to begin to say that they were “born this way,” despite all the evidence to the contrary that the wife will have seen of her husband.
This tactic aligns with ‘queer theory,’ attempting to bring the crossdressing husbands’ situations into line with that of LGB people.
…For ‘born this way’ to be true, it is necessary for ‘the transgender child’ to exist. We are expected to believe that the middle-aged male transitioner, both a husband and a father, has so much in common with teenage girls who are struggling with their sexuality and gender identity. This expectation is why many of our exes become very vocal in supporting the idea of children and young people being ‘transgender.’
…Additionally, men with autogynephilia do not want the world to know that, in reality, they are motivated by a form of fetishism.10 To this end, they deny the existence of autogynephilia, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Read that interview (Link): here
(Link): Thumb-Sucking, Male Pedophile, 60, Who Identifies as a Five-Year-Old Girl Comes to Court Dressed as Elf (There’s A Good Chance That If You Support Trans Rights, This Is Part of What You’re Supporting)
(Link): Perverted Company Sells Infant Shaped Butt Plugs So Biological Males Who Like to Say They’re Women Can Pretend to Give Birth – Also: Men Faking Periods, Sucking on Helium to Inflate Their Stomachs