On Being a Parent Without a Holiday

Happy, uh, Whatever You Are Day?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Ah, springtime! Holidays, anniversaries, and all sorts of reasons for celebrations!

Graduations. Weddings. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day.

But No Day For Me

And no day for thousands of other men and women like me. I am a Transwoman. I have two daughters and three grandsons. One of my grandsons was IFAB (Identified Female at Birth) but has finally begun his own journey, similar to and yet different from mine.

By the time I was able to start the long process of becoming my true self, my daughters were already grown. They had never known me as the woman I am, but rather the empty husk they had grown up calling “Daddy.” In those days, I got Father’s Day cards every year. Now, nothing.

So at least in that sense, they’ve finally come to accept who I am — and so there are no more cards for me. But in accepting me, and acknowledging the changes I’ve made and am still making, there’s no recognizing the fact that I’m no longer “Daddy,’ but some other kind of parent for which they have no name. I’m certainly not “Mommy” or “Momma” or any other title that reflects the new reality of who I am.

If I were a reasonable person — something of which I’ve never been accused — I suppose I could comfort myself by celebrating Grandparent’s Day. I’ve been told that I should console myself with the knowledge that I’m not the only Trans* parent facing the same problem.

But no. Just because there are so many of us facing the same problem holds no comfort for me. Instead, it angers me. I am enraged by the fact that my transitioning — which for me and so many others — was a life-saving decision is used to discriminate against me simply for BEING WHO I AM.

But rather than rage, rage against the dying of the light, I have chosen June 6 — my original birth date and the day my friends surprised me with a surprise birthday party, the theme of which was ‘Happy Birthday 1-Year-Old — to celebrate as my personal Mother’s Day. I’ll wrap myself in my Transgender Pride flag, take a few selfies, and pick the best of them to serve as the basis of my very own Happy Trans-mother’s Day e-Card.

It’s much more satisfying than simply ranting on my blog….

Happy Father’s Day?

Today is Father’s Day, with all of the commercial hoopla that usually accompanies American holidays. Love your father? Prove it by spending money. Publish your advertising saying “Happy Father’s Day! Come spend money with us!”

Here’s the thing: for many of us, there is no “happy” in Father’s Day. I lost my father when he died a year and a half ago. But in a larger sense, I had lost him several years before that, when I was outed to him as being transgender. This turned out to be a larger truth than his parochial worldview could encompass, and he cut off all contact with me. That was his interpretation of Biblical scripture: no matter what Jesus said about love, my father decided instead to follow a vaguely-worded Old Testament verse and disowning me completely.

But the time came when he reached out to me in an attempt at reconciliation. We spoke for over an hour on thee telephone, and concluded by saying we loved each other. That was our last time: he died four days later.

The Point?

If there’s a point to all of this, I think it’s this: don’t give up on love. Don’t give up on your parents, don’t give up on your children. And don’t base your acceptance of each other on the words of primitive sheepherders who thought everything they couldn’t explain was attributable to gods.

Remember, these people didn’t even know where the sun went at night.