The Need for Post Transition Support (Part 2)
A follow up to the Mike Penner/Christine Daniels saga.
A few things stand out as contributing to the suicide:
- A very painful separation and divorce from her wife. Complicating matters was the fact that they worked in the same office and wife expressed her wish to avoid all contact with Christine. (I’m certainly not blaming the wife for contributing to the suicide; I’m just saying that the separation and circumstances were painful for Christine.) There was also the loss of the wife’s family, who Penner was close to.
- Being a public figure, she got some harsh (and ignorant) public criticism of her ability to “pass”, which was hard on Christine.
- Christine being thrust into and accepting the role of spokesperson for transgender issues when she probably wasn’t ready or personally strong enough to deal with the media scrutiny. Then having disagreements with trans activists who objected to Daniel’s emphasis on appearance in her blog.
- Daniels withdrew from friends, church and public appearances.
- Daniels’s mother died.
- Daniel’s focused on her transitioning as the root of all her problems and tried to de-transition in hopes of reuniting with his wife.
What are the lessons that can be gleaned from this?
- There is a great need for support during and after transition. Don’t underestimate the need for supportive people and institutions. Including friends, family, support groups, therapy, religious institutions, knitting circles, etc… Its like drinking water in the desert – you have to do it even if you’re not feeling thirsty – if you feel thirsty its too late – you’re already dehydrated.
- Withdrawing is not the answer. It will only make things worse.
- Very often when people find themselves a part of a new group they feel they have to be a spokesperson/activist/possess complete knowledge of said group. That’s great if you want to do that, but it should be a conscious choice and not an obligation.
Find out about Psychotherapy when dealing with Gender variance in yourself or someone close to you.