The politics of gender identity have been a subject of much debate and discussion lately. While transgender people were virtually invisible 20 years ago, we're now openly discussing the medical rights of transgender people, the rising issue of transgender children, and the complexities of being a transgender parent. In the midst of this, I've seen many a panicked internet commenter saying that they worry about a world in which children are exposed to such deviance.
As a parent with a transgender partner, I can say with certainty that exposure to transgenderism is not at all detrimental to our children. My four-year-old daughter, who has two mommies (one of whom looks like a "daddy" and has only just begun the process of transitioning) is one of the happiest children I know. But instead of just expressing my own thoughts about the nature of transgender parenting, I figured I'd ask my daughter herself how she feels. Here are the answers she gave.
Can you tell me what it means when someone is transgender?
I think it means that someone looks like a boy on the outside but feels like a girl on the inside. Someone who has a boy body but a girl brain.
Are you transgender?
No, I'm cisgender.
What does that mean?
That means feel like a girl and have a girl body. And because I'm in an interview, can I make weird sounds to make the people reading the article confused? Bum bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, bum, bum. Da-la-la-la, goo, goo, goo...
I'm sure that will confuse them. Do you understand the difference between a male body and a female body?
They have different parts. A male is somebody with a penis and a female is somebody with a uterus. Usually, I think.
Are most people transgender or cisgender?
I think most people are cisgender.
Do you want to be transgender?
No. I don't think it sounds fun, because Mer-Mer [her name for her transgender parent] doesn't think it's fun.
Do you think that people who are transgender can be good parents?
Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yes. Yes, definitely.
Is Mer-Mer your mommy or your daddy?
La-dee-dum-dum-daa.She's my daddy. She's pretty much a daddy because she has a man body. But she's kind of like my mommy because she feels like a girl on the inside.
How do you feel about the way Mer-Mer dresses?
Um, it's good. I really like her clothes. I like her blue shirt with Yoshi on it and I like her amber earrings that I'm not supposed to touch. May I have a cheese stick, please?
In just a second. Do you think there's anything wrong with wearing boy-clothes if you have a girl-body, or wearing girl-clothes if you have a boy-body?
No. Hey, did you know that I really like my rainbow sandals?
I sure did. Is it a secret that Mer-Mer is transgender?
Um, yeah, kind of. So I call her "Daddy" when we're around people who don't know.
Why do you think it has to be a secret to those people?
Just 'cause. I guess... because it's not fun to be transgender. Maybe it would hurt her feelings if people said mean things about it.
Do you think people choose to be transgender, or that they're born that way?
I think that they're born that way. Unless... I think maybe... No, I think they're born that way. La- dee- dum- dum, daaa.
Is there anything else you want to say about your Mer-Mer?
Um, yeah. I love my Mer-Mer. And I want to say that it's okay to be different and it's okay to have mommies and daddies who are different. And I want to tell the people reading the interview: duh, duh, dum, dum, dum-dee-dum!
My daughter is, fundamentally, a very normal child who is experiencing an essentially normal childhood. Her experience as the daughter of a transgender parent may not be typical, but it has had absolutely no effect on her development, her moral integrity, her own gender identity, or her ability to socialize with other children. Despite the controversy that may surround transgender people and their families, my family is happy and healthy. My little girl stands as proof that a parent's orientation and gender identity are irrelevant to a child's overall happiness.
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