A love letter to parenting from a proud trans dad on his first Father's Day
Happy Father’s Day to all the queer, non-binary and transmasculine parents and dads.
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This is my first time celebrating Father’s Day as a dad. And my eighth since coming out as a trans man.
When my wife Caroline was pregnant, I struggled with what it meant to be a father, how I would fit into that position. I just saw myself as a parent with an immense amount of love to offer — a role that did not feel gendered.
Before our daughter was born, I constantly worried about everything "dad" related: what would she call me, would I be like “the other dads,” will she think differently of me when she learns about my past. But as soon as she was born, my focus shifted. Those worries disappeared.
Our beautiful baby, Noah, was born on Aug. 6. The first time I met her I felt as though I had loved her my entire life. I also immediately felt a great sense of pride in calling myself her papa.
I’m still working out what it means to be a dad and how having lived a good part of my life as a woman has impacted the way that I parent.
As a trans parent, I do my best to not reinforce or perpetuate cisnormative and heteronormative language and ideas. I know there are so many different ways people express themselves, and I want Noah to feel safe exploring who she is.
I've become hyperaware of gender socialization and the problematic ways that our society influences children from the moment they are born, like stocking “Strong like daddy” onesies in the boy’s section at shops and “Pretty like mommy” in the girl’s.
Noah is growing up in a time where on one hand we are taught the most courageous act is being your true self, but on the other, people sometimes react with anger when faced with authenticity.
Coming out as LGBTQ is still a leading cause of youth homelessness. I’ve worked with far too many young people who faced family rejection after coming out. As a new parent, I am committed more than ever to supporting youth and their families.
One lesson I can pass on: being a father is not about being assigned male at birth. It’s about caring and loving your child unconditionally.
Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are incredibly gendered and so many parents are left out, erased, and not recognized on these two days because they don’t fit neatly into those categories.
A child does not question their parents’ gender or sexuality the way the rest of society does. For them, it’s about the love and time you spend with them.
So, Happy Father’s Day to all the queer, non-binary and transmasculine parents and dads.
Alex Abramovich specializes in youth LGBTQ homelessness in his work as a scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.