This is a “must read” for both crossdressers and their wives. I related to this book on so many levels; first as a married crossdresser, then as a sailor, a small business owner, a writer, and lastly because I live in the tropics. It’s the story of Rae Ellen Lee and her husband Tom, now Rebekah Jane, written as a memoir by Rae Ellen of their years spent on St. Johns, Virgin Islands.
Paraphrased from Amazon, “Rae Ellen and Tom head for the Caribbean to open canvas goods shop and live the tropical paradise life. There is relentless hard work, endless bureaucratic frustrations and the challenges of living side by side with numerous creatures, inside ones home and out, from pet tarantulas to humongous spiders. But beyond this, there is Tom’s discovery that he is transgender, and Rae Ellen’s gradual understanding of how life-changing this discovery was to become. She is a master of description infused with emotion that brings the island of St. John to life introducing us to its beauty and to a variety of local characters. And as Rae Ellen and Tom’s life together unfolds, we come to know her courageous, generous, and compassionate heart. As in many things, the reality is so much more than the dream.”
We also get a look at St. John, Virgin Islands; its weather, the geography and the culture, which is as laid back as you might expect. If you ever wanted to know how canvas bags are made or what the life of a small business owner is like, you learn the details in spades.
The story overlays the basic conflict between Rae Ellen and her transgender husband and I can attest to the validity of the story through personal experience. We follow Tom’s desire to dress through the various milestones of evolution for a crossdresser, from early discovery to online support groups (Tri-Ess) through meeting other crossdressers and then dressing in public. All this has the expected emotional impact on Rae Ellen and we come to understand her thoughts and fears as she confronts the future and the likely demise of her marriage.
We see her confusion, anger, sickness and various unsuccessful attempts to deal with the issues confronting them both, even while Tom is often oblivious to what is happening to Rae Ellen. She wonders, “does anything I tell him register”. The dissolution of the marriage is cemented when we hear Rae Ellen say, “my particular symptoms can result from not feeling cared for and safe” as this is a basic tenet of male-female relationships. Her feelings towards her husband continue to diminish as his crossdressing becomes more and more the focus of their lives and what they too often talk about. At one point she says, “so how do you feel going through puberty dressed like a 1950s housewife’ I wouldn’t have married you if I known you’d evolve into someone else entirely” She views this transformation as a bait and switch, which is so often true for many crossdressers, who after denying themselves for many years, pursue their new found needs with vigor in later life.
The good is that they remain friends even after divorce. The unfortunate and heartbreaking truth is that two people who love each other must now begin to live their separate lives.
Great Blue Graphics, Publisher
Paperback edition: 6×9 format, 300 pages
ISBN 978-0-9619328-5-5, $14.95
E-book: ISBN 978-0-9619328-4-8, $4.99
Available from the publisher or Amazon My Next Husband Will Be Normal — A St. John Adventure