Partners & spouses

Partners & spouses

Explore information and resources specifically for the partners of transgender, Two-Spirit or non-binary individuals. 

Navigating new relationship dynamics

Thank you for taking an interest in your loved one’s journey. This page provides resources for partners—whether your partner has just come out or you have recently started dating someone who is transgender, Two-Spirit A term used within some Indigenous communities to reflect complex Indigenous understandings of gender and sexuality and the long history of sexual and gender diversity in Indigenous cultures. Two-Spirit encompasses sexual, gender, cultural and spiritual identity. It may refer to cross-gender, multi-gender or non-binary gender roles, non-heterosexual identities, and a range of cultural identities, roles and practices embodied by Two-Spirit peoples. Some people also use "2-Spirit" or "2S." (Source: Battered Women’s Support Services) or non-binary Umbrella term referring to people whose gender does not fall within the binary gender system of woman/girl or man/boy. Some individuals identify as non-binary while others may use terms such as gender non-conforming, genderqueer, or agender. Non-binary people may or may not conform to societal expectations for their gender expression and gender role, and they may or may not seek gender-affirming medical or surgical care. .

If your partner has just come out, you may be surprised or you may have seen this coming. Either way, there may be a lot of thoughts and emotions to work through.

When a person you’re close to shares new information about their gender, it often means they view you as trustworthy enough to receive this information with care and respect. Your partner could be looking for your support or they may just want you to know this part of themselves. Whatever the reason, it’s positive that they are sharing this information with you and that you’re interested in learning more.

If being close to someone who is trans, Two-Spirit or non-binary is new for you, you may have questions and thoughts that you want to talk about. It is important that your partner takes the lead on informing people about their identity, so check in before sharing with others.

As you work through what these changes mean in your relationship, it’s important to keep your communication strong. Many people in relationships where there is a change in gender stay close and are transformed because of this. There are many possibilities and beginning to talk is a good place to start.

You are also on a journey

Self-reflection and self-care are necessary. Determining your needs in the relationship, what you’re comfortable with, and how you are able to support your partner can help both of you establish healthy boundaries.

Among many other things, partners may provide emotional support, be a caregiver during surgery preparation and recovery or function as an advocate when rights and needs are not being recognized. Taking care of yourself and your needs can help you be a better partner to your loved one.

Finding someone to talk about what is coming up for you, as the partner, is important. A counsellor can help you navigate these changes to your relationship and build communication skills so you can be respectful and supportive of each other. Our Finding a Counsellor section has links to resources that offer relationship and individual counselling services. 

Finding a supportive community for yourself

If your partner is trans, Two-Spirit or non-binary, at some point, you may want to reach out to meet other partners of trans folks, get further education and get support. If you’re trans yourself, you may find that the type of support you need is different than the support you sought as part of your own gender journey. Transition can cause a big shift in a relationship; others might see your partnership in new ways, and you might see yourself differently, too.

One of the best ways to support your relationship is to find support for yourself in whatever ways you can. Partners and spouses can find support services through: 

Providing support to your partner

Having the support of a loving partner throughout one’s gender journey is incredibly important for many trans folks. There are several ways you can support your partner through their journey.


It may feel like there is a lot to learn about your partner and how to be there for them.

  • Learn more about transitioning, gender and terminology through the Trans Care BC Intro to Gender Diversity course
  • Visit our How to Get Care section for information on gender-affirming services, what’s covered by provincial health care, how to speak with providers and more.

Ask them

The best way to provide the right support for your partner is to ask them how you can help. They may ask you to support them by:  

  • Using their new name and pronouns
  • Finding gender-affirming clothes and accessories
  • Filling out forms
  • Coming to appointments
  • Caring for them after surgery
  • Seeing a counsellor together
  • Administering medication
  • Researching gender-affirming options together
  • Being with them as they come out to other friends and family

Information for children

If you have children with a partner who is transitioning, you may want to find some resources for them. Visit our page on Resources for Children of Trans Parents to find books and other resources that can help them understand changes.


Below are some resources that may be helpful as you navigate relationships with and as a trans person. 


  • Trans People in Love. Tracie O’Keefe and Katrina Fox. Taylor & Francis, 2008.
  • Welcoming our Trans Family and Friends: A Support Guide for Parents, Families and Friends of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming A person who does not conform to societal expectations for their gender roles or gender expression. Another term used for this is ‘gender variant’. (Source: QMUNITY) People. PFLAG.


PFLAG Canada (Vancouver) — This organization provides support for parents, friends and families of their gay Someone who is primarily attracted to those of the same gender. The term is often but not exclusively used to refer to men. , lesbian, bisexual Someone who is attracted to and may form relationships with people of at least two genders. Some bi people define the "bi" in bisexuality as referring to two types of attraction: to their own gender and to other genders. , transgender and queer A reclaimed term for non-heterosexual or non-cisgender people. "Queer" provides convenient shorthand for "LGBT2Q+", and is also used by some people to describe their personal identities. loved ones.

Need support?

Contact our team of experienced health navigators for information about gender-affirming care in B.C.

Community Voices

Read some unique perspectives, stories, and insights from trans, non-binary, and Two-Spirit community members.
Person looking pensive holding a pen to their chin
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One thing I didn’t consider at first was how my spouse’s transition impacted how I looked at my own sexual identity. I identify as a part of the queer community, but does staying together through their transition change my identity? By finding a community of peers, I learned that my identity wasn’t tied to my partner’s gender.

—V, self-reflecting about their identity following their partner’s transition
Person of colour holding a bag of groceries
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I felt like I became a main source of support for my partner. It was a lot to take on, and it impacted our relationship. It took a lot to figure out boundaries around care because full-time caregiving is not sustainable. It’s okay to have boundaries for yourself, because your health and your partner’s well-being depend on it. Another way to show love for that person is to help them find other support besides only you.

—A, on healthy boundaries in relationships