This week a reader is trying to keep his marriage together as his husband decides to become a drag queen. Concerned that the relationship is about to fall apart he writes to THEGAYUK’s Dannii Cohen.
I’m a bit lost on what to do. My husband has decided to become a drag queen – and he’s actually become quite well-known in a relatively short time. Problem is that it’s tearing us apart and we never see each other anymore.
We used to have very similar jobs with similar hours – but now he’s always travelling the country and abroad. I’m not jealous of other guys. I know he’s being faithful, but I can’t see this working. He’s changed a lot, personality wise, he’s become a lot more feminine, and I feel him drifting away from me. He’s started talking a lot more about his work, how his drag half is really important to him and that sometimes he just wants to hang about as his drag persona – even when he’s not performing. Could he be wanting to transition?
As I said, I’m just not sure, But I’m really unhappy about the changes, but at the same time I don’t want to throw away 6 years of our relationship.
What should I do?
This is an interesting and difficult problem. Not knowing all the details, except for the ones you have given me in your letter it is hard to give you any concrete advice but I will try to.
Has your husband ever shown any interest in drag or transgender issues prior to the last few months? No-one suddenly decides to become a drag artist so it should be something that has been on his mind for a long time, bursting to come out. As this is a big step it is understandable that it brings a lot of changes with it and some might be uncomfortable to his friends and family.
Starting out in drag and sustaining a professional career in it can be very all-consuming so his obsession doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to transition. If you watch documentaries about drag or something like RuPaul’s drag race you can see that to most drag artists it’s their whole life. But not many of the contestants want to be a full-time women. It is just building a character and finding the right look and act that takes a very long time to perfect. Dressing in drag around the house could be part of this: a lot of drag artist do this to keep in touch with the character and make her feel natural to them.
Becoming a little more feminine is only to be expected as over time the character might slip into day life sometimes. Becoming successful relatively quickly might also have something to do with it.
My main suggestion is to talk to your husband: begin by showing an interest in what he does. Compliment his outfits/jokes/characters. Have you seen his act recently? Join him on a few shows that are nearby. If he’s travelling in the weekend, try to join him on a trip. Stay in touch by texting, calling, Skype.
Showing an interest might help both of you as you become more familiar with his life and his act.
This will help you get more involved in his new life and over time it might feel less strange to you.
Showing that you are actively trying to understand is especially important because if you were to just out of the blue go: “I feel a bit awkward about this”, or: “are you transgender”, it might come across as hostile or even an attack or insult.
Ask how being a woman makes him feel then, one day ask, as casual as possible if he’d want to be a woman full time.
If he says yes you can make up your mind about the relationship and if you’d want to continue as a couple or remain friends.
If he says no but you still feel unhappy about all the changes, sadly ending the relationship might be best.
Always with love,
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Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.