Life & Style

Ashley Clift-Jennings: Have You Met Your Soul Mate? at TEDxUniversityofNevada (Transcript)

And then there’s another part of it which is more like around 60% of my reaction and that’s what is known as internalized transphobia, and I didn’t even know I had it. It’s very much Alexis talked about programming and what men have been programmed — boys have been programmed to think about women and sexuality. And I think as a society we’ve been programmed to think that people that don’t fit into the binary who aren’t man or woman or who were born as the sex that they don’t identify with, that those people are different or weird or strange.

And so imagine when I had — I know this person inside not — I’ve been married to this person for six years by this point and I adored every fiber of this person’s being, so you can imagine that me of all people would understand and realize that like this is a normal person who has a very serious condition that is treatable. But it was hard because I still felt like this sense of embarrassment a little bit, or shame that we were now different, right?

So I had to go through my entire process, you know this has been three years. But I’ve had to do a lot of hard work on what is — what does it mean to be married to somebody who is transgender, what does that mean about my sexuality, doesn’t mean that I’m now a lesbian, because when we go out of course people see us and they just think that we’re a lesbian couple, that’s not entirely accurate. What does it mean, you know, we go to the gym and we go to the locker room together and we swim together and all these things lead us to interactions with people that could or could not be understanding of our situation and that was hard for me. It was hard for me to go from having all this privilege as the white middle class female who feels okay being a female, who’s married to a male who — so I was in a heterosexual relationship and I had all this privilege that I didn’t even know that I had.

And so as we’re going through this journey, it’s like we’re learning new things every day and I’m learning what words to say, what words not to say. I’m learning what works in the bedroom, what doesn’t work in the bedroom, right? I’m relearning all sorts of things but what I’m learning the most is that a lot of my fear about my spouse changing was really imposed from the outside, it was really my fear of what other people would think.

And so now I stand here today, I’m the proud wife of a transgender woman and she is still my soul mate. And I could — I would know she’s my soul mate if this room was dark right now, I would know how to find her in this room. And I think that’s the lesson to take from all this is that people have a patina, they have a presence in the world, they have a look or they have a job or they have all these things that are outward facing that everybody identifies them by and puts them into boxes, that’s how we categorize people and we get to know them. But underneath there’s a soul and that soul is so much deeper and stronger and so much more identifiable than that patina.

So my challenge to you today is do you know — would you even know how to recognize your soul mate? If you’re going out in the world right now would you know what you’re looking for?

Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.

Resources for Further Reading: 

My Failed Mission to Find God – And What I Found Instead: Anjali Kumar (Transcript)

Marriage 2.0 – A System Update for Lifelong Relationships: Liza Shaw (Transcript)

Is Modern Feminism Starting to Undermine Itself: Jess Butcher (Transcript)

Preventing Divorce: Top 3 Life Hacks for Singles by George Blair-West (Transcript)

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By Pangambam S

I have been a Transcriber and Editor in the transcription industry for the past 15 years. Now I transcribe and edit at If you have any questions or suggestions, please do let me know. And please do share this post if you liked it and help you in any way.