Trans Dads Talk About Father's Day

Four fathers, four stories.

BY Mitch Kellaway

June 15 2014 7:45 PM ET

JESSE
My wife Hannah and I have two sons, Asher and Zak. They each have different donors, both of whom we have known for many years. We have distant relationships with both donors at this point in our lives. Asher’s donor offered for us to use his sperm if we ever needed it when Hannah and I first started to get serious. She has known him for more than 20 years.

When I was having freak outs about transitioning and parenting, Asher's donor was one of the people who could best understand how I felt. This was especially true when I had significant depression because we needed a donor to begin with!
We have had a distant relationship with Zak’s donor since the early to mid-2000s. We don't see him much but he met our "donor criteria": smart, same basic ancestry as me, somewhat laid back, healthy, married with children of his own.

We have started talking to the kids about their donors. Asher knows who his donor is and why we needed one.
He is friends with his donor's kids and seems pretty well adjusted over all.

How will you be celebrating Father’s Day today?
We normally go to Portland, Maine for Father's Day because it is one of my favorite places to be. Zak normally "helps" bring
me coffee in the morning and sometimes the boys head out with me for a short run.

Do you have a memorable Father's Day from years past?
The one that most sticks out in my mind was immediately after my [chest reconstruction] surgery. Despite being on testosterone for several years, my post-surgery Father's Day was the first time I didn't feel like a pretender at the whole dad thing.

What’s been a highlight of being a trans dad?
As someone who has spent much of my life, both teenage and adult years, in the queer community, I have some wonderful conversations with our kids about creating safe spaces, about queer issues, bodies, and politics that I'm not sure that I would have if I hadn't transitioned.

Our older son has a very good understanding of issues facing trans folks, at least for an 8 year-old, and I've enjoyed some
of the questions that he has posed  even though sometimes the questions can be a little awkward to answer.

Do you face any unique issues as a trans dad?
One of the issues that our family will face at some point is the issue of disclosing my trans status with Asher's friends. He
hasn't felt the need to do that so far but occassionally we try to bring up the issue. Normally he just looks at me like "why would they need to know?," which is a good sign in my mind because it means he just sees me as his dad. That said, at some point it might come up and sometimes those kinds of issues can be challenging.

Tags: Transgender

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