TRANS DAD

EMOTIONAL, INSPIRING, MUST READ, PREGNANCY, BIRTH & BABY'S

Screenshot 2019-11-13 at 15.55.00I am formatting this post amid tears, when sharing the list with me the author described it as “the most cathartic and full circle thinking I’ve managed since my realisation that I had to get sober”. What an honour to be a small part of that process. All of relate to the joy that comes from understanding ourselves that bit better.

  • Why is this anonymous?

  • The world is a scary place for any gender non-conforming or transgender person and I have a family, a two year old and a 6 month old, that I would lie down my life for. 

  • I have listened to, watched and read comments about how “vile” “wrong” “disgusting” trans* people are. I have seen us, all too often, put in the same categories as paedophiles.  

  • But why is this anonymous?

  • Protection. For my family and self-protection. I am tired of fighting for my place in the world, of seeking permission to be myself when all anybody should ask for is acceptance of who they are. 

  • Not lay out the red carpet, not be my best friend, not love me, not even like me. But accept that I am real, that I exist. 

  • Yes, fighting for existence. Trans* people are not unicorns. We exist. No volume of ignorance diminishes us. No denying of rights or services will make trans* people become extinct. 

  • In 2018, on average 2 trans* people per month were killed in the US alone. In 2019 that average is currently higher. 

  • 9 out of every 10 Trans* people have considered suicide. 

  • Yet, despite these harrowing stats, we exist.

  • We are not an “epidemic”. We are not a “trend”. 

  • Who would choose such a difficult path? Who would risk family, love, careers?

  • Trans* people are brave. They are living their truth. They are making the most of their life in their truest self. 

  • I was later in life coming out, late 20s. I was out as queer from 15, after I met my now wife. 

  • Did I always “know” I was a boy? No.

  • I didn’t feel explicitly “wrong” in my body. 

  • The pictures of me were always tomboy. Or dressed as Batman or a cowboy. But my mother was happy as along as myself and my brother were and I dressed how I wanted. Bar twice being bribed twice to wear a dress.  

  • I hit puberty and I struggled. Like we all do. 

  • I didn’t like what I seen in the mirror, sounds like a lot of people?

  • But I never knew what I didn’t like. I was pretty. I was thin. But the person in that mirror was a stranger to me. 

  • The girl staring back at me wasn’t what I thought my reflection should be.

  • Can you imagine looking in a mirror and seeing a strangers face? Can you imagine how terrifying and confusing that would be?

  • In my early 20s I met a transman. I had never realised that female born people could transition to male. 

  • Genuinely. We had no internet in my house. I had no idea. 

  • I felt like my head was spinning.

  • I felt like I the world had kept the biggest secret from me. I felt sick. 

  • But I dare not consider why I had this reaction. Why this was making my mind spin. 

  • I married my wife in 2011. As a female couple.

  • I knew I should be happy and I was to an end. But I was also binge drinking heavily. Compartmentalising everything. Drinking more. 

  • We both wanted children. We set about talking to fertility clinics. Talking about who would “go first”. 

  • I knew I wanted children. My heart ached for them. But having a child call me “Mum?”. I felt sick. My brain just could not deal with it. The inner conflict burned inside me. 

  • Parking my car one day, still talking to myself about children, almost mindlessly. I thought of a toddler running down the hall toward me shouting “Dad”. 

  • The tears started. And they did not stop. I sat in my car, tears pouring down my face. Terrified. Angry. Angry that I had let myself dare to think about it. About giving myself permission to even consider transitioning. 

  • Shortly after that it all came out. She held me. She cried with me. She told me it would be okay. She would be my wife or my best friend. That I would not lose her, she would be by my side in whatever form I needed. Screenshot 2019-11-13 at 15.57.12

  • I got sober. And my wonderful wife began to explore how to begin my transition as I was terrified now I had said it out loud. I had read the comments on article, seen the hate. 

  • But deep inside me? Deep inside me, when I put the outside negativity aside, daring to think I could go down this road felt like the warmest, safest embrace. 

  • I transitioned. I lost some family. But we were intent on making our own. 

  • IUI was recommended. In our clinic it came in cycles of 3. 3 chances. 

  • We promised each other we would not spend hundreds of thousands and years trying. We would do this cycle and if it didn’t work we would plan b – travel, travel and travel some more. 

  • 3 failed attempts. 

  • But, I’ve already told you that I have 2 children. 

  • So after a year off, we tried again. 

  • Cycle 1, success. 

  • I was going to be a Dad. 

  • The crippling fear began. 

  • What if it’s a boy and I need to teach them how to use the bathroom? How do I teach them to be a man when I’m just learning?

  •  Dear reader, what is a man?

  • “Man up” “Grow a pair” “Don’t be such a pussy” 

  • Men don’t cry, men aren’t affectionate, men are strong, men do outdoor shit, men play sports and drink beer and are loud and aggressive.

  • Sounds like some women I know too. 

  • Some men I know hate sports, another hires somebody to change lightbulbs and do Ikea assemblies, some men I know held my hand in my early sobriety while we watched movies, some men I know wouldn’t raise their voice let alone their hands.

  • I didn’t need to learn how to be a man, I was one. I needed to learn how to be parent. 

  • You wouldn’t know I was transgender. Honestly. I’m a stocky guy, a big beard (thank you testosterone and genetics). I have come out to people who have refused to believe me. It made all of the parenting classes more comfortable. 

  • All of a sudden we were in these spaces were instead of being “the lesbian couple” we just another couple. And it was incredible. 

  • Antenatal classes, parenting days in baby stores, gentle birth classes. Husband and wife expecting their first baby. 

  • And it was a girl. She lay on my scarred, bare chest, wrapped up wearing just her hat.  Her eyes wide open. Locked on mine. 

  • She was my best friend. 

  • I would get up for the night feeds. We would all plod into the sitting room and I would sit and keep them company. Take her afterward and wind her and settle her back to sleep. 

  • At 6 months my wife went back to work and Daddy Day Care began. 

  • I work for myself so I fitted it all in around my wifes hours. 

  • We carved out a routine, swimming classes, baby massage, visiting family, trips to the park

  • We had the bad days too, no naps, teething, general baby discontent. 

  • Her first temperature I slept on the floor next to her cot with my hand between the bars on hers. (We were worried she would be too hot next to either of us). 

  • At 1 she started at crèche just 2 days a week to free me up a little for work. I would drop her late and pick her up early. Spending most of the hours she was gone watching her on crèche camera. 

  • My heart is stuck in her. It’s like watching the most vulnerable part of you waddle around the world. 

  • Cycle 2. 

  • Making the 3 of us breakfast and hearing my wife shout my name from the bathroom. 

  • Turning into the hallway and meeting her shuffling toward me as she redressed, clutching a positive test. 

  • The hysteria soon turned to fear.

  • What if it’s a boy and I need to teach them how to use the bathroom? How do I teach them to be a man when I’m just learning?

  • Dear writer, what is a man? 

  • Calm. 

  • You don’t need to learn how to be a man. You need to learn how to parent two under two. 

  • Two under two. 

  • Two. Under. Two. 

  • What happens when you have another baby?

  • Oh Christ I love this one so much my heart swells. How do you love two this much? Do I need to love one a little less to love them both the same?

  • 9 months later my heart grew. 

  • It expanded and it enveloped this tiny life. 

  • Again, she lay on my scarred, bare chest, wrapped up wearing just her hat.  Her eyes wide open. Locked on mine. And pooped. 

  • Her sister fell in love when she met her. She looks for her in the morning, at night. 

  • She draws pictures of us all. 

  • She draws my glasses, my beard. She also draws my belly, unfortunately.  

  • These are my children. 

  • Biologically? No. 

  • Does that change anything? No. 

  • Will we tell them this? Yes. 

  • Will they know I was born female? Yes.

  • Why?

  • Because trans* people exist. Their Dad is one. They exist, they live normal lives, they walk among us, they breath like us, they love like us, they are just like us. 

  • Clemmie asked me to write about my experience as a transgender dad and I thought, yes, sure, this is story to be told. 

  • But its not, its just a story about being a dad. 

Screenshot 2019-11-13 at 15.56.11

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2 Comments

  • Reply Kelly Jack November 14, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Beautiful family and thank you for sharing your story.

  • Reply Leanne November 17, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Children just need love. No matter the gender/non gender of their parent(s). I’m so glad you found your true self. Thank you for sharing.

  • Leave a Reply to Leanne Cancel Reply