parent, a friend, a neighbor, a female… a dad, a girl dad. What?
Yeah, I am, as is often referred, a transsexual, a male-to-female,
MTF, I identify as female. I transitioned after two marriages and
two children. As a transitioning parent the question often asked
was, “What about your son?” On the surface, I suppose that could be
a reasonable question, or is it?
If I were to change jobs, get a new car, change my hair style,
start a new relationship, would that question come up then?
Now 6 years post-divorce, 5 years post full-time transition I can
answer that question. My son is great, wonderful, emotionally
healthy and we have an awesome relationship. I asked him recently
what the hardest thing about me becoming a girl was for him. His
answer? That he has two homes and his parents are divorced. He was
okay about his dad being a girl. The split schedules, parent time
sharing, having two homes and not seeing both his parents every day
was the hard thing.
Me being trans only comes up when first encountering a new teacher
or someone who knows both parents. I am dad to Evan, a girl,
someone who could also be a grandma. You see, while many equate dad
with male and mom with female, there are some, like my son who
equate mom or dad with one of their parents, separate from gender.
How can this be? Isn’t that causing confusion? Isn’t this
Hey, I have heard most of the arguments, I have lived many of them.
Truth is, being trans has no direct bearing on the quality of my
parenting skills. Why? Because my being trans is not the tie of my
relationship with my son, being a parent is. That means his
welfare, his safety, his development of respect and dignity toward
others, his compassion and care about others, his belief that
everyone is different, that difference is normal.
My son is almost done with 4th grade, he has many friends. I have
taken him to play dates, to birthday parties, volunteered on field
trips, helped in his classroom, covered when my ex had work or
other conflicts. He has a couple of classmates in the neighborhood
who come over often, I know the parents.The only time my trans has
been an issue was in the divorce. Why? Not because there were any
indications of our son having difficulty dealing with a dad
becoming a girl. My trans-ness was an issue because it could be
used as a weapon, to drive me away. Fortunately the judge could see
it was not issue and refused to accept any argument related to
Women marrying women, men marrying men, girls becoming boys, boys
becoming girls, my son has asked about some of the political issues
around voting seasons, especially with some of the ads and what
they say. His most common response is to say, “What does it matter?
Anyone should be able to get married” Yeah, I guess that really
sums it up, what does it matter, anyway?
Paula Funatake founded TransParentcy.org in 2001 as a
resource for transgender parents who may be dealing with custody
issues. She has presented at NGLTF’s Creating Change as well as
written articles and been interviewed by online and print
periodicals related to being a trans parent.