I'm wondering if people who are trans/genderqueer or are partnered to people who are trans/genderqueer are interested in having a discussion thread here to talk about our experiences?
My DD is almost 3, and my DP started physically transitioning about a year ago. We moved to a new city during that time, and it has been a really interesting experience to see us getting read as straight more often. This was something I feared for a long time - loss of queer visibility, etc. - but now that it's happening, I find I don't care nearly as much as I thought I would. In fact, sometimes I'm almost relieved by it, which is really weird in itself. At the same time, it raises a whole new set of issues..
We are currently dealing with my DD's obsession with male genitalia. In her preschool, they all use the potty together, and she's fascinated by penises. She'll frequently come home and say, "Ben has a penis!" I'll say, "yup." Then she'll say, "I don't have a penis." I'll say, "Nope." Sometimes I add to this,"Some people have penises," or "Most boys have penises and most girls have vaginas." Or, "Ben has boy parts. Boy parts usually have a penis." DD occasionally sees me naked and will ask, "Do you have a penis?" I answer no.
My partner is totally freaked out by all the penis talk. What he doesn't want (and I totally get this), is for our daughter to run around the neighborhood screaming "My papa doesn't have a penis!" He also doesn't want to avoid being naked around her (we have a tiny apartment and we're not particularly modest people), nor does he feel comfortable labeling his body parts with female terms (which again, I get). So, rather than talk specifically about penises and vaginas, I've been trying to stick to "girl parts" and "boy parts", which I think can be a little more loosely defined. Of course, it's still creating this huge gender dichotomy, which both of us find problematic in lots of other ways, and it's avoiding using the "proper" names for things, which contradicts everything we learned about sex ed in Ms. Magazine, right?
Anyone else dealt with this yet? I'd really love some ideas here.
And, other thoughts people want to share on trans parenting?
A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!
Building queer family since 2008!
(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)
DD is only two, but she's thinking very hard about such matters. She likes to label the other adults in the lives of her little friends. She names all male-appearing folks as "Baba" and all female-appearing folks as "Mama." She's super verbal for her peer group, so there's not a lot of discussion going on, but the other kids do try to reclaim their daddy/papa/dads as best they can. E argues her point, "No, that's a Baba! A boy Mama!"
We, of course, do the "Some kids have babas, some have both, some have neither" shpiel, but she's very opinionated about the subject. And she's just discovered her 'kitortoise' (clitoris) and is very interested to know if other people have one. And she's also very insistent that babas don't have breasts, even though she sees my DP naked every day.
It's an interesting thing to watch. Not sure if there's more or less that we should be doing.
DP is genderqueer, so no transitioning here. But we often get read as straight too, especially at first glance. And then people undo their assumptions when they start to figure it out.
I appreciate you opening the subject up, Angela!
That's us, too. My partner is trans, and although he remains legally female, he completely passes as male these days. (He's had chest reconstruction surgery, and is on T, and that's as far as he's taking it.) Our son is only two and not much of a talker yet, but I feel like it's inevitable that he's going to loudly announce somewhere that "My daddy doesn't have a penis!" We talk quite openly about gender and body parts, but we're also trying to distinguish between private and public body parts. Still, I think there's only so much you can do. From what I've read, 3- and 4-year olds are at the developmental stage where gender is a REALLY BIG DEAL, and they're trying to figure out what causes it and who's who. So it sounds like your DD is right on track, Angela. ;) We talk about my partner being "born with a girl's body," but that it didn't feel right so a doctor helped him change it to more of a "boy's body" when he grew up. We also talk about how some people are kind of in between boy and girl, and that's okay too. I don't know how much of it our son understands, but I feel like it sets a decent groundwork for talking about it more later. I guess for me, the most important thing is to make our son feel comfortable talking about it and asking questions. We're also blessed to live in a fairly progressive area, where queer parenting isn't that big of a deal. I second the thanks to Angela, for starting this thread.
Mom to DS (3) and a new baby! Geeked to be married to my love
I don't really belong here, but I have older kids so I wanted to throw a few things out there. (tho perhaps I'm more genderqueer than I think. When my son was 2, I asked how he felt about not having a dad. He said, "I do have a dad. You." And I'm everyone's Baba, because no one else has one.)
My kids have never mentioned their parents' genitals outside of the house. Out of sight out of mind, for the most part. When DS was 2, he asked if I had a penis. He has seen me naked plenty. I told him that I don't have a penis, I have a vulva. It all clicked for him, he said, "I have a penis, Baba has a Vulva and Mama has a Honda!" Yep.
I think it's a fine thing to worry about, but really anything they say in public you can just laugh, shrug and roll your eyes (behind their back, of course). The worst we ever had was when DD would point at people and loudly ask, "Does that person have a vulva?" More recently (when I was single) a neighbor kid asked DS about his dad. He said very plainly, "I don't have a dad." Kid told his grandma who said, "No, he doesn't have a dad anymore." DS was like, "No, I really don't have a dad." I guess he never felt like telling the world about his donor conception, since the conversation was about dads. My daughter will tell the occasional stranger that she has blue eyes because her baba and her donor both have blue eyes, tho.
I want in!! I don't have time to post much tonight but this is definitely my clan.
My partner is trans. We've been together for 10 years and he started the process of transitioning in 2007 (I think!), before I got pregnant. It's definitely a struggle for me feeling invisible as a queer mama, even though we live in a big city with a large queer/trans population. We have a number of friends who are queer and have kids but we aren't close with any other trans parents. My partner is on a listserv for a trans dads group but is a bit shy and hasn't gone to any of their outings yet. I would LOVE to meet other families like us so DD knows we're not the only ones. She's too young still to grasp that her daddy is 'different' but I know the day will come.
I'm going to come back and post more later when I have more time.