I have been reflecting on what that means to have a moral compass, in relation to our leaders who seem to have no sense of what that means, but more so about myself. I have always though I had a good sense of morality and a reasonable moral compass yet with reflection, and the benefit of hindsight, in reality that is not the case.
In my defence, always best to get that in first, I never set out to cause deliberate harm or pain. I have mentioned it before that you become compromised when you hide a secret, live a secret life. It doesn’t matter that you persuade yourself that you are not hurting anyone, what they don’t know won’t hurt them. However, that just isn’t true. If you live a lie with someone then nothing is genuine.
I have had three partners. The first I did not say anything to as I was still hiding what I was from myself and would disappear secretly to dress and feel guilt and shame afterwards. It is not surprising she had other relationships as I was not able to be the husband she wanted. By the time I got to my second partner I knew I was trans, what sort of trans I was not sure at that time and I told my partner. I felt good that I had been open and there was a basis on which to build. It was not a good relationship for many other reasons not based on my being trans and again it ended up with me pursuing my trans identity “on the quiet”. Superficially within agreed limits, actually going way further as I realised I was transgender and started taking feminising supplements in secret.
Finally with my third partner, this was complicated. What more than the others? Yes it was a part time relationship for some fourteen years where she spent four days a week living with me. Although she was aware I was transgender it was not something we ever talked about apart from comments she might make about my changing body telling me she wasn’t worried I was developing breasts etc. It was the elephant in the room and effectively a secret indulged on the days when she was living elsewhere.
Does it matter? Yes because you are cheating. You are not giving or sharing your true self. In a way you are cheating with yourself which seems to me just as wrong as if you were cheating with someone else. I am not saying anyone should be monogamous, that is a personal choice, however be open and honest about it if that is what you choose.
What troubles me is how the ability to be secretive, not to be open can infect other areas of your life. If it is okay to lie about, or be economical with the truth in one area of your life it makes it okay in others. There was no deliberate effort to be dishonest, yet I often dealt in half-truths, saying what I thought was enough, what people wanted to hear. After all I was presenting day in and day out as someone I wasn’t.
My close friends have on many occasions held up a mirror, helping me see my behaviour more clearly. This has, if truth be told, been quite painful. A lesson to be learnt. Learning to be my authentic self has meant not just transitioning from male to female, it has meant being authentic, honest with myself and others. I am not talking about the honesty which is so blunt it can be just plain hurtful, bullying, something I witnessed frequently in group therapy sessions, I am talking about authenticity being true to yourself and others.
I am now in an unconventional relationship which revolves around me following some protocols, at the moment from a distance. We are not able to see each other very often, which of course has been exacerbated by Covid. It would be possible to “fudge” compliance, yet there is no way that can happen I would be cheating myself and the other party. There would be no point.
So it seems to me having a moral compass is important, essential. Something I have had to learn, to be guarded, protected so you do not lose your way and damage what is special, authentic and real.