"She’s been my biggest supporter, my biggest advocate."
Facebook is a wonderful thing. I've been able to share my experiences and my frustrations with my FB friends and I've found solace and comfort in reading the experiences and frustrations of others. Not just those in my friends list but from all over the world. Facebook enables you to see a lot of things you would not otherwise experience. Some of them good some of them not so good but then that's pretty much life in general really.
My support for equal rights in marriage means that all sorts of opinions and stories appear on my Facebook feed. My support for the LGBTI community in general also means that I am now well informed about the issues that impact on their lives too.
Today the Equal Marriage Rights Australia Facebook page is featuring an article about "Christian Rocker Trey Pearson". Apparently Trey is the front-man for Christian band Everyday Sunday. The article refers to an interview he gave on the television show The View. He talks about his Christian upbringing and his life as he grew up gay in a family and community that believed that his sexual orientation was a choice and that he was making the wrong choice if her chose to live as a gay man.
As a consequence he married a woman and they had two children together. In the article he says "I grew up in a Christian home and church where I was taught that God hated homosexuality and I could choose to be straight,” he explained. “And I tried for a really long time. And I don’t think I was ever trying to lie to anyone. I was trying to convince myself that I could be something I wasn’t."
He goes on to say "he found support at home – from the woman he was married to for seven and half years, and has two children with. “By the time I was able to tell myself and tell her, she just hugged me and cried and told me how proud of me she was for being able to be honest with myself. She’s been my biggest supporter, my biggest advocate.”
I am glad that his wife was able to give him the support he needed. I did the same when my husband of 28 years told me he had always wanted to live as a woman. What I'm not glad about is that yet again the woman who was his greatest support gets a fleeting mention in this story of his greatest challenge.
There is a comment from a reader who acknowledges his wife's support " How good is his wife? That's love, right there. " This is encouraging but I still find the whole thing so dismissive.
I can't speak for her and wouldn't presume her story is anything like my own but as I see more and more stories around people who are now living the lives they have always wanted to live, I am wondering what about the people who are left behind.
There are of course stories of couples remaining happily together and to those couples I say "Congratulations and may your life continue to be all you hoped it would be". To those, who like myself, found that this new life was not what they had signed up for I say "It's not just about what your partner wants - you have rights too."
I have shared my experiences in a very public forum; I have written a book and I've published it and I hope that many people will read it but it has occurred to me that the next step for me is to create a forum that respects the decisions of those who are now living their lives "honestly" but gives a voice to those who, without choice or consultation find their lives going in a completely different direction to that which they had planned.
I liken my experience to being on a speeding train hurtling toward a ravine where the bridge is out - we have no control over where the train is going so we just hold on and hope that it stops before we end up at the bottom of the cliff among the wreckage.
I'm going to create that forum, with the help of Facebook and this website and hopefully we can support one another to pick up the pieces. If you have a story you would like to share or you would like to talk or meet with people with similar stories then please contact me via the contacts page and let's see what we can do to restore the balance in the stories that aren't making the headlines.