I am reading “From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life: Stories of Transformation“, a book about women who were married to men prior to coming out in later life as lesbians.
If people recall I have in the past used a phrase I learned from a writing instructor at the Women’s Building, “All coming out stories are the same only the details are different.”
Hence I can pick up the memoir of a gay man or lesbian who came out young and find the same elements of struggle against the social oppression of being that I find in my own journey to coming out or the written journeys of other people with transsexualism who come out young.
When I first came on line some 15 years ago I asked some of the same questions of sisters who come out in middle age as people ask now. And I asked those questions with the same hostility and skepticism that many today continue to employ.
On some level I probably, at least at first, wanted to pathologize people. After all how could they be like me and go off on such a different tangent?
It’s way too easy to condemn people whose lives took different paths as somehow not being the same as me.
Then I encountered a sister named Robyn on a list called Trans-Theory. Robyn was my demographic twin. We were born the same year. We grew up in small towns far from the big city and any sort of LGBT/T folks. We lived around the corner from each other in the Haight, may have even met each other. Yet I came out in 1969 while she married and raised children.
Now a rather vicious cabal of people pushing Bailey, Blanchard, Raymond and Greer attacked the Trans-Theory list pathogizing mainly people who came out in middle age with “autogynephilia”. I looked at the quiz given to determine the two categories and smelled the stench of bullshit bigotry.
You see I had come to the conclusion that many who came out young were the most obvious, either had supportive families or had been thrown out of their homes. They had little to lose.
Whereas those who didn’t come out until later in life, knew or suspected and yet went along with the expectations of family and society. Maybe even thinking that doing these things would be a cure.
So when I am reading this book that tells the stories of formerly married women who come out later as lesbians what leaps out most at me is how virtually identical the stories are.
I didn’t know. I thought if I did what was expected of me these feelings would go away. I was afraid I would lose custody (visitation) rights with my children.
The stories are often not only the same but so too are the details and words used.
How can that be when being lesbian is not a psychiatric illness but being transsexual is?
Politics and money. Politics were behind the removal of L/G from the DSM. Politics and money were behind the invention of GID and its inclusion in the DSM.