Transitioning together: A narrative analysis of the support accessed by partners of trans people

Twist, Jos, Barker, Meg-John, Nel, Pieter W. and Horley, Nic (2017) Transitioning together: A narrative analysis of the support accessed by partners of trans people. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 32 (2). pp. 227-243. ISSN 1468-1749 Full text available

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Historically trans people have often wrongly been advised that the gender role transition process will result in the breakdown of their relationships (Lev, 2004), and couples have often been provided with little support through this process. This paper presents an in-depth narrative analysis of the accounts of six cisgender women who have been partnered with trans individuals. It focuses on the support that non-trans partners accessed while their partner progressed through their gender transition. Support was deemed important by all participants in relation to their aim of remaining together with their partners. In terms of whom they accessed support from, participants spoke about interactions with other people in similar situations, with professional therapists, with the Gender Identity Clinics (GICs), and with their partners. In regards to therapy, some reported that their partner’s transition was a topic they did not need to discuss. Many reported they had to take an “educator” role in therapy, suggesting that more training for therapists is required. Those who attended GICs with their partner were ambivalent about whether they would have utilised support there if it had been available there, stating that locally situated support was preferable. The paper draws out the clinical implications in relation to these areas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transgender, Trans, Couple Relationships, Cisgender, Partners, Support
Subjects: Couple & Family Therapies > Couples/Marriage - Social Welfare
Sex Psychology > Transsexualism
Sex Psychology > Gender Identity
Department/People: Special Units

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