needle scalpel and the damage done.
Even before the obvious signs of maleness, Tom’s laughter disappeared from our lives. Overnight, it seemed, he stopped smiling. He no longer took pleasure in anything. He looked ill. He complained of fatigue, stomach ailments and dizziness. He lost his appetite and began to lose weight. But my sincere attempts to sympathise with him alternated with bewilderment and rage over the close, secret relationships he’d apparently formed with women confidantes, over his insistence that his urgent need to express his femininity outweighed every other concern.
“I have a medical condition,” he insisted. “A fatal condition that’s going to kill me unless I get treatment.”
“Who decides the treatment?” I asked.
He didn’t seem the same. He didn’t act the same. His values seemed to change along with his personality.
“What if you knew that doing this would destroy one or all of the children?” I asked him. Ice cold, the man I had once thought a wonderful father replied, “I would do it anyway.”
When I eventually got round to reading other women’s accounts – that is, the accounts of women who stayed with their transsexual husbands – they said about their partners what my husband said about himself: he’s still the same person inside. “Where inside?” I wanted to shout.
This argument reached an absurd zenith on the day he declared, “You only loved me for my gender!”
“Yes,” I said sarcastically. “Since nobody else had that gender, I had no choice but to love you.”
Such moments packed a breathtaking array of meaning and emotion. All at once there was the pathos of witnessing a middle-aged man – the husband I loved and had admired – taking pleasure in gazing at the woman he evidently saw when he looked at himself in the mirror. His satisfaction with himself. His in-my-face “I’m going to do this and you have no choice but to accept it” attitude towards me. The painful fact that such moments represented his departure from our marriage and from the person he had been, and that I was forced to watch that departure not once but over and over again. The terrible feeling of intrusion into my space, my privacy. Like a rebellious teenager, he wanted me to know: you aren’t the only woman around here any more. He wanted me to know: absolutely nothing will be left to you. My basket had become a public receptacle marked All Women’s Things Go Here. Like womanhood itself, it was no longer my domain.
Tom found a circle of women to sympathise with, encourage and dress him. Once, he left his laptop open to a message from one of them that read, “Your wife has to accept losing you.” He reported that another had urged him to “Do it all quickly!”
From his cheerleaders I learned that in the new political correctness, female solidarity is out. A man in a dress is in. Among women who consider themselves feminists, a man who declares himself a transsexual trumps another woman any day. One of Tom’s supporters would eventually sum up this perspective most explicitly: “He’s a transsexual. Anything he does is what he needs to do.”
These career women told Tom, and some would later tell me, that my wifely role was to support my man and to get my children on board with the project. My responsibility was to Tom. Tom’s responsibility was to Tom. In the Valley of the Politically Correct, being a transsexual means never having to say you’re sorry.
In the shitlib victimhood hierarchy, transgenders are at the very summit. For now, anyway, until the Furries (or something even more bizarre) start getting a little more PR traction. Rod Dreher calls a spade a spade:
The wife is Christine Benvenuto; here is a link to the memoir she wrote about this experience, from which the above essay was taken. Her ex-husband Jay now lives as Joy Ladin, and is celebrated as a brave pioneer.
This Pride Month, our media never tell us the stories of people like Christine Benvenuto and her children — those whose lives were shattered by men like Jay Ladin, following their dream. They are the collateral damage on the way to Utopia. Jay Ladin ought to be ashamed of himself for what he did to his wife and children, but of course he — a professor at Yeshiva — moves from strength to strength in this family-hating culture of ours.
What is so interesting to me about this story is the way Ladin changed almost overnight from being a normal person to being a selfish monster after he came out as trans. I saw a similar (though not remotely as consequential) change in a guy I had been good friends with in college — until he came out as gay.
Mind you, what N. did to me was not remotely on the same level as what Jay/Joy Ladin did to his wife and children. But it is at the far end of a spectrum.
To be clear, I am not claiming that this is how all LGBT people behave! In fact, one of the friends during that time who comforted me in my shock and anger at N.’s betrayals was (is) a lesbian who was just as appalled as I was by what N. had done. My point is simply that some people, when they switch sexual or gender identities, stop seeing and feeling responsible to other people, except to regard them as obstacles to giving them what they want. It’s as if they become possessed by a malicious spirit. I don’t understand it. But I recognize it, and I recognize that we live in a culture now that celebrates and rewards this malicious narcissism, and that regards the tragedy suffered by people like Christine Benvenuto and the Ladin children as politically inconvenient, therefore disposable.
Just part of the larger Progressivist program to destroy whatever remnants are left of the traditional family; as such, the wreckage and pain are a feature, not a bug. Monstrous and despicable as he sure as hell is, even Ladin himself might be seen as part of that collateral damage, in a way.