Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day and Mother's Day can be very difficult for many transgendered people--especially trans-parents. They are days when your children are expected to identify a parent as either a mother or a father. In essence, it is a day, that expected gender roles are celebrated, and because they don't feel like either, they feel left out.

For instance, being celebrated on Mother's Day seems to be wrong to me because I did not carry my children for 9 months, nor did I actually give birth to them. Father's day is a bit problematic because it holds a gender expectation with it.

In addition, the refusal to honor a trans-parent on Mother's Day or Father's Day by one's children can be their way of punishing you for failing to live up to their expectations.

But before I had sexual reassignment surgery, before I transitioned, before I even started taking hormones or seeing a therapist, I fathered two beautiful, intelligent and compassionate daughters. While I would have willingly carried and given birth to them myself, it was not physiologically possible. But once they were born, I had the opportunity to try to nurture them as best I could.

When my oldest daughter was born in late October, the day after my father's birthday, and I had cut the umbilical, they took her to the triage table where they could check her vitals, and right before they put they antibiotic in her eyes, I saw her tracking me from across the room with them. Then she was so mad when the cream was applied to her eyelids. We were bonded.

On Father's Day, 2003, the day before Summer started, I was busy attending the birth of my youngest daughter. After she was born and in the crib, she looked up at me, and because of her intense curiosity of my eyes, her left hand flung up, trying to touch them. I sometimes joke that she tried to claw my eyes out when she was born. In fact, our eyes were not safe around her for a couple of years. Her birthday's tomorrow, and she already has her gift, a Dell laptop computer.

When I started my transition, it must have been incredibly rough on them, as my oldest daughter was 9 and her sister was 3. To see a parent suddenly change gender over the next four years, while having to leave them to continue to make a living is a lot for children to absorb. They feel most comfortable calling me Dad, even though it doesn't fit society's gender definition anymore, and I feel honored by it.

So it absolutely made my day this morning to see a text message showing how much they've come to accept having a female father:

Happy Father's Day from me and Missy! We love you!

It's not easy being a remote female father to two young, beautiful and compassionate girls. We have had our moments over the past couple of years, but I remain always ready to be there for them, telling them every night I love them, no matter what; and listening.

I love them both and am so proud they were able to come through this at such a young age.

Wishing all the parent's out there a wonderful Parent's Day,
Hugs and God Bless,
Sophie Jean

1 comment: