The Ladies of Llanystumdwy

Jan Morris and her partner of over 60 years have tied the knot.

This is a heart-warming story, but not just because two elderly ladies have taken advantage of the new law to formalise their 58 year union with a Civil Partnership ceremony.  This is heart-warming because this is not the first time Jan and Elizabeth Morris have got married.  They were married in 1949 when Jan was James and then divorced in the 1970s when James became Jan.  They have lived with each other throughout.

Jan has always made prurience irrelevant by treating her change of gender with dignity and matter-of-factness. So far as she is concerned, it’s not the most interesting thing about her and if you think that it is then that is your loss and not hers.   She wrote about it in ‘Conundrum’, and then got on with the rest of her life.

When she finally leaves us, she’ll leave us a legacy of thoughtful writing comprising travel books, history books, essays, autobiography and fiction.  All of this gives us the clear message that as time passes being the wrong gender for a while fades into the past and becomes neither the most interesting nor the most important thing in a trans-person’s life.  The more of us, both trans and cis, for whom that’s true, the better.

In the meantime, who can deny the power of such a love story?  So I’m raising a glass to celebrate the two weddings of Jan and Elizabeth Morris.

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3 responses to “The Ladies of Llanystumdwy

  1. How moving – a very modern love story. I’m going forth to read more about them.

  2. Yes, I remember reading when James became Jan and thought that his, then her, writing transcended the whole issue. What I didn’t know until now was that she and Elizabeth continued to live together in a loving relationship. I am so pleased that they have now been able to make it “official”. I wish them a long and happy continuing life together.

  3. Enjoy what you find, Charlotte, and read Jan’s books. She’s a fabulous writer. Incidentally you can hear her talk about Venice on Listen Again http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/bookclub/. I confess, though, that it strikes me as a very old-fashioned love story in many ways.

    Hear hear, Elaine.

    Aphra.

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