The only people who don't know about Natasha at this moment are her father and step-mother and a few of our very distant friends (and, of course, most people here in town). This morning, I told my brother and sister-in-law. Before I tell you how they reacted, I need to explain what their faith is:
K and E are Messianic Jews. I'm sure you all know what a Jew is (without the horns and bag of gold around the neck, of course). Religiously speaking, Jews believe that there will be a second coming of a messiah. A Messianic Jew believes that Jesus will be that messiah. They are kosher, too, and observe the Sabbath (no cars or stuff from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. Yeah, I know. They sound kinda like Christians, what with the whole Jesus thing. That's for another blog. For now, you get the idea. In addition, K & E have refined their beliefs in certain ways. They object to homosexuality and abortions, for starters. In general, though, they are good people. They will always be there if their family needs them and, regardless of whether or not a person will end up in Hell for lack of faith, they will pray for you.
I was very unsure about how they would take this news. I had predicted that they would send their children out of earshot, and I figured that they would not change their feelings for me or our kids. I did think that they might tell me that Natasha would not be welcome in their home or at the rare family get-together. That didn't happen, though.
K and E were calm but clearly shaken. So far, no one has expected to hear that J was going to become Natasha. My brother took notes, since I started out by explaining that my spouse had Harry Benjamin Syndrome (not officially, but it's pretty much what's going on). I made sure that they understood this was a medical condition that affected gender, as opposed to a "sexual preference." What my brother focussed on, however, was my comment that neither of us want this to be happening.
He said: "If you don't want this to be happening, then you can't accept it." What he meant was that we should be willing to do WHATEVER we could to try to stop it from happening.
K and E have had back luck with the medical industry. E had been misdiagnosed for years, resulting in a lot of pain and stress, until they found out through their own research that she was allergic to gluten. My brother hoped that I would be willing to accept that doctors (and psychologists) don't always know everything and that, perhaps, there might be a cure out there that they don't yet know about.
My brother wants me to be open to their god... my god, technically, since I'm a Jew, too. If Natasha and I, or maybe just I, were willing to open up to the possibility of a higher power (we're atheists with some spirituality), the result might very well be an unexpected cure. He couldn't guarantee that, but with hope there is possibility.
So, I guess that went over well. I told him that I would consider it, but in my heart, I can not believe in something I don't believe in. :-)
I don't know how many people are still in denial. I do know that one of my brothers-in-law does not want this to be happening. I wouldn't call it denial because he talks about it rationally. I think he's still in something like a state of shock. He just found out that Natasha will, indeed, transition entirely and I think he thought she was going to try to live in limbo... or maybe he knew it would happen but not very soon (not that it will happen very soon unless you consider a few years to be soon).
In a way, I think that my brother-in-law is like my brother. Both understand what is happening and accept that this is a truth; yet, they also want to find a way to stop it from happening more than want to let everything progress. Trust me: I'm with them. I would MUCH rather someone find a way to "cure" transsexualism without the gender reassignment. If someone could discover how to reassign the brain to match the body, well, wouldn't that be preferred? Natasha says that at this point, she wouldn't want to go back. But would she really say no if, having not yet had GRS, she could stop taking hormones and her brain and body would align and her wife and children and friends and family would not have to continue through this process with her? This is not reality, though, and while I understand their desire to find another choice, I am not looking for it anymore. I accept reality as it is so that I can look into the future with a sense of certainty. I think that works better than looking into the future with a sense of uncertainty, at least about this. I think that would be too stressful, preventing me from fully embracing my spouse's new outer identity.
I love my brother and my brother-in-law for caring so much about me and my spouse. I love that they so very much want to find a better outcome for us. I wish they would stop looking for their own sakes. I don't think they will.