A question was posed to me quite a while ago. If I ever raised kids, would I tell them I was genderfluid? Or would I just be “mummy” to them?
I said that I couldn’t really answer that question because I don’t want kids, therefore I find it really difficult to imagine myself in that hypothetical situation. Still, I wondered about what I would do, and what other trans* people do.
I guess in a way, withholding information like that from your own children is like withholding that stuff from anyone close to you. For me, at least, I had to tell my closest friends because otherwise I would feel as though I was hiding a massive part of myself - a part I wanted to feel free to share. I would feel bad that I hadn’t let these people in on this bit of my life.
And it’s not just that I didn’t want to have to keep secrets from people who I knew I could trust. It’s also that by telling my accepting friends about my identity, I could mostly stop them from accidentally misgendering me. After being wrongly labelled for most of my life, having even one or two people get it right was a huge relief. I certainly couldn’t cope with being called “mum” or “dad” for my whole life by someone close to me.
But then there’s the whole child-not-fitting-in thing. I don’t mean that any hypothetical kids would go into school and mention their “parent” and their dad, or something, instead of the generic mum-and-dad, and other kids would pick on them. (From what I’ve seen, children tend to be more accepting than adults as a rule). I’m talking about mentioning it to teachers or other adults, who might discriminate against them - or me. Trans*-positive education/awareness would obviously protect against this but I don’t see worldwide acceptance happening any time soon.
Finally, there’s the gender-based stereotyping of parents. As much as people can say “yay, equality! Women can go to work now and people won’t think they’re freaks for not being housewives! Men can be stay-at-home dads!” I really don’t think the problem is solved fully, at all. As a mother, you’re told you need to be loving, accepting, caring, and also be a domestic goddess. As a father you need to be a leader, you need to set the family rules down, be the breadwinner and the discipliner. I know these stereotypes also affect binary-gendered people, both cis and trans, but I think there’s an extra element of awfulness when the gender you’re being stereotyped as isn’t even the gender you are.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Reblog and add a comment, or you can submit here. I’ll be tagging all posts relating to this with transparenting.