Τετάρτη, 6 Αυγούστου 2014

Trans Dads Talk


SAM
My wife and I have five children. I actually had the first two, who are 16 and 14. Both girls. My wife had the second two pregnancies — a boy who is nine and twins — a boy and girl — who are six. We used an anonymous donor.
I don't really use the term "trans dad." I accept that I am trans, and not in any kind of denial about it, but, I just consider myself a Dad — or really a PARENT. That's what I am. The name is just a name — kind of like a pronoun.
Mom = Female Parent and Dad = Male Parent. I am well adjusted in my transition and have not looked back in any way; I have no regrets. I love my wife and children, and although we are a very busy family, I am very fortunate and lucky to have the incredible support of my family and friends.

SIMON
I am a full-time single parent and every aspect of my life is shaped by our little family. I gave birth to both of my kids, ages 3 and 8, after transitioning. I am glad I had the opportunity to carry, birth, and feed my kids. I was trying to explain it to a stranger the other day and I finally just said, "I won the uterus lottery." It's a unique connection to have with my kids and a beautiful part of our family's story.
Are there advantages to being a trans dad?
Being a transgender parent is lovely because in learning about my own most-comfortable gender I gained an appreciation for gender freedom and I intentionally make space for my children to do their own genders. It takes a certain bravery to transition, and a very similar bravery to parent. In both cases it can feel like the world is ready to tell me just how wrong I am doing things.
Being trans, I get a lot of chances to practice disregarding unwelcome judgment and comments. Parents receive a lot of criticism and I'm glad I already had practice doing what I think is right and not giving negative people much thought.
Do you face any unique issues as a trans dad?
I regularly encounter the need for gender-neutral bathrooms. Potty training is hard enough, but having to track down a gender-neutral toilet when a toddler is doing their best to keep it together can be a disaster. Allies can help by taking kids to the bathroom and advocating for gender-neutral bathrooms.
WILLY WILKINSON
I have a son who just turned 8, a 4.5 yr old daughter, and a son who will turn 2 in July. My wife Georgia Kolias gave birth to our three kids. We went through ups and downs — difficulty conceiving, miscarriages — but also experienced miracles. It is an indescribable experience to be near a little person as they gestate, and experience their birth into the world.
Do you face any unique issues as a trans dad?
Some parents of my kids’ friends don’t know my trans status, and then it’s a question of when or if to disclose. Sometimes it seems very weird not to disclose, and other times it just seems unnecessary. Parenthood throws you into social situations with people you would not necessarily hang out with, except that your kids are friends.
I was a visibly gender nonconforming parent for years before I medically transitioned. There were moments that were challenging — being misgendered, having people freak out about me in front of my kids, using the restroom. Though I have to say that having kids got me into the women’s room more easily. I found that having kids made people be nicer to me. People who might have snarled at me when I was alone, smiled instead when they saw me with kids. I write about these experiences in my forthcoming memoir Born on the Edge of Race and Gender.

JESSE
My wife Hannah and I have two sons, Asher and Zak. They each have different donors, both of whom we have known for many years. We have distant relationships with both donors at this point in our lives. Asher’s donor offered for us to use his sperm if we ever needed it when Hannah and I first started to get serious. She has known him for more than 20 years.
When I was having freak outs about transitioning and parenting, Asher's donor was one of the people who could best understand how I felt. This was especially true when I had significant depression because we needed a donor to begin with!
We have had a distant relationship with Zak’s donor since the early to mid-2000s. We don't see him much but he met our "donor criteria": smart, same basic ancestry as me, somewhat laid back, healthy, married with children of his own.
We have started talking to the kids about their donors. Asher knows who his donor is and why we needed one.
He is friends with his donor's kids and seems pretty well adjusted over all.
What’s been a highlight of being a trans dad?
As someone who has spent much of my life, both teenage and adult years, in the queer community, I have some wonderful conversations with our kids about creating safe spaces, about queer issues, bodies, and politics that I'm not sure that I would have if I hadn't transitioned.
Our older son has a very good understanding of issues facing trans folks, at least for an 8 year-old, and I've enjoyed some
of the questions that he has posed  even though sometimes the questions can be a little awkward to answer.
Do you face any unique issues as a trans dad?
One of the issues that our family will face at some point is the issue of disclosing my trans status with Asher's friends. He
hasn't felt the need to do that so far but occassionally we try to bring up the issue. Normally he just looks at me like "why would they need to know?," which is a good sign in my mind because it means he just sees me as his dad. That said, at some point it might come up and sometimes those kinds of issues can be challenging.

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