Per my best calculations, (see About TGP) there are approximately 5,600,000 SOFFAs in the United States today. That’s over five-and-a-half million Significant Others, Friends, Family or Allies dealing with someone close to them going through gender transition.
So, who exactly are SOFFAs?
On one hand we are women and men who are tearing our hair out in the daylight hours and gnashing our teeth to powder at night. We are helplessly crying to ourselves one minute and nervously laughing at the absurdity of our situation the next. We are braiding our male-to-female’s hair, helping them with their eyeliner, and showing them how to walk in heels. Or we are shaving our female-to-male’s hair, tossing out said heels and buying a second set of plaid shirts and jockey shorts.
We are taking the blame or refusing the guilt. We stutter the words “he” or “she” and then chastise ourselves (or get chastised by our partner) when we get it wrong. We are accommodating our mate’s—or father’s, or daughter’s or friend’s needs while more than not, overlooking our own.
We want to dump the bastard, embrace the lost soul to help support his or her liberation, or simply see love in a different light.
Our jobs and friendships are affected—and in all cases—so is our view of life. We are trying to change our own sexual orientation or are giving up the idea of sex altogether. We are secretly angry with the people we love because to say so out loud would make us look selfish, politically incorrect, insensitive or unfeeling.
We are taking a stiff drink or praying to our Gods, walking like zombies or hiding from friends and family all to beat down our feelings of loss and betrayal—or shame for having been duped.
We are adapting and carry on our relationships in new way, or struggling with the shocking life changes before us.
And because our voices are seemingly less significant next to the legitimately suffering man or woman forced to live in a body opposite their gender identity all their lives…
….most of us are doing it alone.
By the way, Alex Morris, in one of the few stories written on the topic of SOFFAs by a major magazine, (“My Wife is My Husband Now,” New York Magazine’s, The Cut, September 2015) wrote that,
“…the spouses of transgender people face their own dramatic transformations—only no one celebrates them.”
Well, it’s high time we were heard.
Got other descriptions for SOFFA? Write and let me know.