Happy father’s day to those that went through pregnancy and childbirth or searched through sperm donors and sat in fertility clinics or waited for word from an adoption agency or gladly welcomed a foster child into their home or fell in love with someone with a child in order to become a father. And happy father’s day to all those that serve as a father figure to a child in their lives.
And to those struggling with their fathers, whose relationships with their fathers are complicated or whose fathers are toxic or whose fathers have rejected them, remember that you do not owe your father anything (not even a call) this father’s day.
And, of course, for those whose fathers have been positive influences in their lives, remember to let them know how lucky you are to have them.
In honor of father’s day, here are some great blogs by trans* guys who are parents!
-Trans Parental- Blog of a parent who came out as trans* when his oldest child was a teenager. Has a great post on the differences in societal expectations for mothers and fathers.
-Visibly Transparent- Blog of a parent whose husband and co-parent is also trans*. Has a great post on questions about which one of them carried their child as well as several posts about being a “seahorse papa” and the emotions surrounding the conception, pregnancy, and birth.
-Daddyhood Transcribed- Blog of a parent who is a “man of transsexual experience” and has twins with his wife. He talks about everything from choosing a sperm donor to securing parental rights. Has a great post on people assuming he is biologically related to his children.
Fathers take a lot of different shapes and roles in the trans community. There are the pregnant fathers, the proud fathers of trans children, the struggling fathers of trans children, the fathers who are also mothers, the mothers who are also fathers, etc.
To celebrate Father’s Day, I wanted to do a post showing all the different amazing ways fathers exist and parent within our community.
We’ll go with the obvious first. The pregnant men and other FTM dads. There has been a surprising amount of media coverage of Thomas Beattie and the other transgender men who have decided to stop testosterone in order to get pregnant and give birth. At first I thought it was equivalent to a modern-day sideshow - “The Pregnant Man” - and certainly some of it was, but as I was going over news stories and photos today, I realized that these stories captivated America because there is so much love in them. These families are unique, and unique families have to be strong and loving to make it in our society. The strength and love that these fathers (and their spouses) have for their children is so apparent in the photos, even someone with serious transphobia could not deny it. And this is true of FTM fathers in general. I think that fatherhood is an especially treasured possession/experience for these men. It is something they may not have always known they could have. It is pretty powerful.
So here is to the FTM and genderqueer fathers. (I hope to join yr inspiring ranks one day.)
And let’s not forget about the transwomen out there who maintain their identity (at least partially) as fathers. The stories I have come across involve a transwoman who transitions after having children, so her kids have related to her as a “father” and in some ways continue to do so. I cannot imagine the courage it takes to be so honest with children - risking their understanding and even their love/support. There are few things as touching as a child embracing their trans parent, especially after having witnessed the rather lengthy transition process. It is brave and scary and it is about not only being true to yourself, but also being true to yr children. And the example that these women set for their children is amazing. Those kids are going to grow up knowing that they can be who they are and they will know the power and relief of living an honest life. That is truly a gift.
‘Maddy’ in The New York Times: a beautiful story about a parent who was Mom and a Daddy
So here is to the fathers who are also mothers, who are strong women and people I truly admire.
And last but not least, I want to talk about our fathers. The fathers of trans children. The beautiful people who fight the good fight to move from a father-daughter relationship to a father-son, or vice-versa or perhaps something in between or altogether different. The fathers who may not totally understand, but know they want their child to be as happy and comfortable as successful as possible. Or the fathers that do understand, and are there with us, helping us along the sometimes quite challenging battle that is transition. And you know, let’s think of the fathers who aren’t supportive, too. The vast majority are trying their best and are for the moment following an ill-advised path of fatherhood with the best intentions. Let’s remember that they are struggling, too, and want to be good for us. Let’s help them and remind them we love them. Let’s tell all of our fathers that we love them. Even if you are not trans, you know that you’ve put them through some sort of challenging situation at one point or another. Fathers stay strong for us, even when we don’t ask them to.
So HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to everyone. To the “lesbian dads” and gender neutral parents whose praise also deserves to be sung today. To all of the fathers I’ve talked about here and all the ones I haven’t. Fathers are important and if you’ve got one, celebrate him today. Pick up the phone right fucking now and at least tell him thank you. Even if he has messed up a lot, I’m sure he has done something right (and probably more than you know), and today is the day to show our gratitude.
PS PHOTO: “Trans♥Parents”
Go to the original post to see the images.