Society wants to keep us in the "man" box or the "woman" box. As a result, many transgender people deal with shame and self-doubt in confronting these pressures to conform. If a transgendered person finds someone they truly love or is in a relationship with someone and begins to discover that their prescribed gender may not be fully representative of who they really are, they may feel compelled to end the relationship. But how do you attempt to leave your partner if society is constantly telling you that they may be the last person who will love you?
Many experience violence resulting in self-doubt. We may even want to help our batterer and protect our children, believing that the abuse they experience might be better than potential future abuse, lack of financial resources, and a sense that there is nowhere to turn. For people who do not conform to traditional gender roles, these feelings are often magnified by the experiences they have had with a society that insists that they conform.
Batterers often use society's lack of knowledge about transgender people and the general "don't ask, don't tell" attitude to their advantage. The threat of "outing" carries the risk of losing a job, alienating family, or being denied medical access. The batterer is likely to intimidate a transgender partner who attempts to leave a relationship. The option of staying in a hotel may be denied, they explain, or they be asked to leave a restaurant where they try to get something to eat. The batterer knows these facts and is quick to remind the survivor of them.
The repeating cycle described earlier (the three phases of tension building, battering incident and honeymoon), are present in Transgender situations as well. Name-calling, criticism, verbal harassment, humiliation, and minor battering lead to a major destructive act of physical violence which is followed by feelings of remorse for the behavior and acts of apology which reinforce the victim's hope and can encourage the victim to stay in the relationship.
Likewise, there are myths associated with the condition, though with some variation.
If you are transgendered and in a violent or abusive situation, you need to take steps so you will be able to leave. Explain to counselors and human service providers about the effects of relationship and discrimination violence. Since society already supports the batterer, you will need to be courageous. Here are some things you do if you are the victim of domestic violence:
[For more on Domestic Violence and LGBT-related issues, read Richard Niolon's essay from PsychPage.com
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