by Grace Stevens
This Sunday is Father’s day.
Now, two years after my transition I am really thinking about this. Changing genders is such a totally personal decision to throw away the masks, the fear and the confusion and put oneself out in the world as honestly and authentically as one can. For me, my transition occurred when my three children were already adults and living on their own. I love Jenny Boylan’s new memoir Stuck in the Middle where her transition occurred when her kids were young and she also transitioned from father to mother –in name and deed. We know that gender roles are not as rigid perhaps as they used to be, and by being authentic she points out her boys have become better men.
My kids grew up with a dad who filled all the expected dad roles. I was there teaching and coaching baseball and basketball for many years. I did the driving, the grilling, mowing the lawn, growing the garden, training the dog, helping with the homework — and loved every minute of it. I was also somewhat controlling and thinking that I knew better than everyone, which as I know now was one of my methods of hiding what was inside me.
A few years ago, when I told the kids that I was transgender, my biggest fear was that they would abandon me. Each of them, I believe, have processed my transition in a different manner but I have not lost any of them. Sometimes we chat about it, and I believe that still having them in my life is another blessing that I have been given.
I am now the woman I knew I was. Each day I awake with gratitude, that I am living another day as my authentic self. I have never been the mother of my kids. I have been their father, and that is still part of who I am. Recently I was at a training at the local Apple store and a woman sat next to me who I recognized as the mother of one of my daughter’s school friends. She knows my family very well, but I have not seen her in at least 10 years. I said hello and asked her if she knew who I was (I do look different). She was confused and apologized that she did not recognize me, and I explained that I was Stella’s dad. It took her a while for that to sink in, but then we were able to chat.
Presently, two of my kids call me Grace, and the other still calls me dad. It must be confusing for them. I am OK with whatever makes them comfortable.
Over the past two years I have changed a great deal. However there is least one thing that hasn’t: I am still (a) dad.