About Leslie Hilburn Fabian, LICSW
(Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker)
AUTHOR OF My Husband's a Woman Now:
A Shared Journey of Transition and Love
Leslie Hilburn Fabian, raised in Tampa, Florida, lived in Massachusetts for thirty-five years and now lives (temporarily) in rural Louisiana. Her spouse, an orthopedic surgeon, is working under contract at an Army base. Leslie holds a master's degree in social work from Boston College and is licensed in Massachusetts as an Independent Clinical Social Worker. Though she's not currently seeing therapy clients, she is happy to work with folks over the phone as a life coach. Her expertise is with couples and transgender individuals. Please click on "Contact Leslie" if interested in a FREE 30-MINUTE PHONE COACHING SESSION!
In 1981, Leslie was divorced and raising her two children in Massachusetts. She worked in sales, founded an errand-running business, and, at age forty-seven, obtained her master's degree. By then, she had lived through some excruciating experiences and done much therapy on the receiving end. Compelled to assist others in the ways she'd been helped, she became a psychotherapist herself.
In 1987, Leslie met David Fabian, an orthopedic surgeon and father of four, while he was dressed as a woman. As "Deborah," he was attending Leslie's women's group with several other transgender individuals in an effort to explain the transgender phenomenon. Leslie sensed the character, brilliance, and depth of this man in the purple dress. She was highly intrigued and drawn to him, despite his unusual appearance. At that time, and for two more decades, David believed himself to be a cross-dresser, wanting only occasionally to appear as female. The couple married in 1991, and David's cross-dressing was intermittently and discretely enjoyed for many years, an important part of the couple's relationship and activities, though not without some challenges. The realization that he wanted to become a woman was a long-time coming.
By 2009, it was apparent to both Fabians that David's dissatisfaction with life and struggles with depression were a result of the growing need to live as a woman. Leslie encouraged him to begin the process toward becoming who he longed to be, though she admitted that she could not know what this would mean for their relationship. David, in his desire to maintain their marriage, repeatedly told Leslie that he'd stop immediately, "if doing this means losing you." Yet, Leslie had reached her limit for living with a miserable man. Once David began hormones, the author gained a happy, enthusiastic spouse.
A year into David's two-year, Leslie began writing in earnest, a powerful outlet for her own challenging process. "It was clear that, in supporting his transition, I was having one of my own," she explained. Her book, published in early 2014 and available on-line from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Virtual Bookworm, is titled My Husband's a Woman Now: A Shared Journey of Transition and Love. Excerpts may be read on-line.
Alicia Vikander, the actress who played Gerder Wegener in 2015's "The Danish Girl," has said that Leslie's book "was like a Bible to me in playing this role."
Leslie's book chronicles the details of the remarkable journey she and David, now Deborah, traveled during their first twenty years as a couple and through the first year following Deborah's emergence full-time. It's clear that their highly satisfying and loving relationship will continue, albeit somewhat changed in its nature. It's evolving continuously.
As a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, Leslie has worked with individuals facing a variety of life challenges. With her deep understanding of what constitutes healthy relationships, she is highly skilled at assisting couples with relationship difficulties. The Fabians have been committed to creating and maintaining their own meaningful, conscious marriage for nearly a quarter of a century. They have participated in myriad couples' workshops, including several with Joyce and Barry Vissell (The Shared Heart Foundation), Dr. Sandra Cole, Niela Miller, and "Getting the Love you Want" trainings (Harville Hendrix's Imago work).
Leslie's done a multitude of personal growth workshops, her favorite being Insight Seminars, for which she completed the facilitator training in 1990.
Niela Miller, MS Ed, LCSW, LMHC, founder of PeopleSystems Potential and author of Counseling in Genderland, has said of the Fabians, "Absolute devotion and deep love has been the foundation of their continued commitment. [Leslie's book] will be an eye-opener for those who struggle with similar situations, as well as an unintended primer on what it takes to maintain and grow a deeply intimate relationship against many odds."
As Leslie chronicled the transgender journey from a wife's perspective, she realized that her narrative was emerging as the Fabians' love story. This is apparent to Candace Semigran, former Vice President and COO of Insight Seminars, Inc. and author of One Minute Self Esteem. Of Leslie's book she has said, "[It's] an incredible story of a shared journey of love and a reminder to everyone who reads it of what is truly important for all of us—in our lives and in all of our relationships: loving, forgiveness, honoring, trust, honesty, friendship, spirit, fun, laughter, and joy."
It's important to add that all six of the Fabians' grown children and their spouses and partners have accepted this transition with grace. Two children's weddings have taken place since Deborah's transition, both joyful celebrations of a loving family. In April, 2016, the entire family will enjoy a cruise in celebration of Leslie and Deborah's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary!
The Fabians have a wide network of friends in the "Trans Community." They've presented at Fantasia Fair, an annual transgender conference on Cape Cod, as well as at many Unitarian-Universalist and other churches, hospitals, and therapy centers in New England. Leslie has also presented at the Spouses and Partners International Conference for Education (SPICE).
Click on a link below to purchase My Husband's a Woman Now: