LB Hannahs candidly shares the experience of parenting as a genderqueer individual — and what it can teach us about authenticity and advocacy. “Authenticity doesn’t mean ‘comfortable.’ It means managing and negotiating the discomfort of everyday life,” Hannahs says.
Now, for most people, what their child will call them is not something that they give much thought to outside of culturally specific words or variations on a gendered theme like “mama,” “mommy,” or “daddy,” “papa.” But for me, the possibility is what this child, who will grow to be a teenager and then a real-life adult, will call me for the rest of our lives, was both extremely scary and exciting. And I spent nine months wrestling with the reality that being called “mama” or something like it didn’t feel like me at all. And no matter how many times or versions of “mom” I tried, it always felt forced and deeply uncomfortable. I knew being called “mom” or “mommy” would be easier to digest for most people. The idea of having two moms is not super novel, especially where we live.LB Hannahs
So I tried other words. And when I played around with “daddy,” it felt better. Better, but not perfect. It felt like a pair of shoes that you really liked but you needed to wear and break in. And I knew the idea of being a female-born person being called “daddy” was going to be a harder road with a lot more uncomfortable moments. But, before I knew it, the time had come and Elliot came screaming into the world, like most babies do, and my new identity as a parent began. I decided on becoming a daddy, and our new family faced the world.
Sometimes you have to just “play around,” even with serious topics to get better-than-good answers. Not perfect, but, better.