I just read a piece from the New York Times in which a trans-parent writes about her experience raising her sons. It is a moving piece that really highlights the fact that it’s not family structure that’s most important, but rather the values that your family instills upon you and maintains. The author, Jennifer Finley Boylan, writes:
But even though we had now crossed that wide, strange ocean of gender together, and come to rest at last, an unsettling question still haunted me, usually at night when I found myself awake in the wee hours: What kind of men would my boys become having been raised by a father who became a woman?
Because patriarchy dictates that families are comprised of a male head of the household (a father) and a nurturing female (a mother), alternative families may feel pressured to compensate for something. Boylan then goes on to share an essay that her son had to write for school about an experience that changed him:
An experience that changed me is that my dad is transgender, and became my ‘Maddy.’ A person who is transgender has a lifelong sense of being born into the wrong body.
I was about 4 when Maddy began the ‘transition.’ I don’t really remember the experience well because it was over nine years ago. Once the transition had taken place, I was comfortable with it. But I was worried what my friends would think. I kept it secret for a little bit, but eventually they found out. They all accepted it a lot better than I thought they would.
Maddy is funny and wise. We go fishing and biking. We talk a lot, about anything that is on our minds. One night this spring, Maddy and I had a fancy dinner at a restaurant in Waterville. It was a special night. I wore a jacket and a tie. I had a steak. It made me feel like Maddy and I were really close. Maddy said that she thought I was growing up and that she was proud of me.
Sometimes it’s true that I wish I had a regular father, but only because I don’t remember what it was like to have a normal family. Sometimes it’s hard to have a family that is different. But most of the time I think I am the luckiest kid on earth. Even though my family is different, I can’t think of any way that life could be better.
I know people from lots of different kinds of families. Some families are divorced, so some of my friends only live with one parent at a time. Other families have someone who is mentally challenged in their family. But no matter how different they are, they are all people. My goal is that some day everybody will be treated with love.
The last two lines of this essay really resonate with me – “But no matter how different they are, they are all people. My goal is that some day everybody will be treated with love.”