Tarot spread for partners of transgender people

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A while ago, I found a tarot spread for transgender people (designed by nami) that dealt with their transition. I was immediately inspired to create a spread for partners of transgender people so they can check as well how any changes might impact them. Now I’m finally sitting down to do just that.

At first, I wanted to make one huge spread that included all potential steps and aspects of a transition. But that quickly seemed overwhelming and not very useful, especially since we’re talking about quite a long period of time here (let’s face it, transitioning is a rather drawn-out process, even if you’re lucky, and how we feel about things may well change during the process). So I decided to make a general spread that can be used for whatever is the next step someone’s transgendered partner is considering/going to take. You could still use it to read about the transition in general, though.

I strongly suggest not mixing this spread with questions about how to best support your partner, but to do a separate reading on that after you’ve clarified where you stand yourself.

This is because I’m operating on the assumption (drawn from my own experience and observations) that partners of trans people are most often cast only in the combined roles of supporter, sounding board, caretaker, cheerleader, main gender identity confirmer, and general safe haven (if we are cast in a positive light, that is). There is often very little space for us to talk about our own issues with our partner’s transition, especially if we feel less than cheerful about certain aspects of it. In fact, if we voice the slightest question or criticism, we often find ourselves being accused of being transphobic and unsupportive.

Therefore I would like to acknowledge that trans partners often find ourselves in a position where we decide to stay with a partner through their transition (or at least start out the process with them) and then are subject to a whole list of unforeseen side effects of that decision, not all of which are fun and easy for us (even if they are a reason to celebrate for our partners). We may have doubts or fears or even plain old stupid prejudices, and we need to work through that in our own ways for the sake of our own health and sanity (and also occasionally for the sake of our relationships). Even if we are wholeheartedly supportive of the transition and the changes it’s bringing, we may still have things to say goodbye to and grieve about. I hope this tarot spread is one more resource that is useful for doing just this kind of work.

That said, I believe the spread can easily be adapted to be of use to a trans person themselves. Of course it could also be adapted for friends, family, or other people in the trans person’s environment who want to reflect on their own role in the process (in that case, you might want to change position 5 to something else or leave it out altogether). All it takes for either adaptation is a few changes to the wording of the spread positions.

So, here it finally is. The spread for dealing with your trans partner’s next transition step.

The layout is shaped like an arrow to emphasize that transitioning is a process, not a fixed state.

—–9—–
—7–8—
3–4–5–6
—–2—–
—–1—–

You could also lay it out sideways:

——-3——
——-4–7—
1–2———9
——-5–8—
——-6——

  1. This symbolizes the next step of your partner’s transition (e.g. dressing differently, name/pronoun change, taking hormones, having surgery) seen through your eyes.
  2. How you can best prepare for the next step.
  3. How this step affects your sense of identity/how you feel about yourself.
  4. How this step affects how you feel about your partner/your relationship.
  5. How this step affects your sexuality/desire (for your partner and/or generally).
  6. How this step affects your relation to the community (draw more than one card if there is more than one important community/family/group that is relevant here).
  7. What you can do to best take care of your own needs while this next step is happening.
  8. Where you will find support as you deal with the changes that the next step brings.
  9. Summary of where the next step is going to take you.

I’d love to hear what you think, even if you’re neither transgender yourself nor a partner or loved one of a trans person. Is this spread useful to do what I meant it to do? Is an important aspect lacking? Are there spread positions that could be renamed or removed? Is this applicable to a wide range of trans people’s partners (because a lesbian whose girlfriend transitions into a life as a man will find herself in a different situation with different concerns than a married woman whose husband transitions into life as a woman)? What do you think?

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