Question: Parenthood

crumbly_crayons asks…

Is there any advice for genderqueer person who wants to become a parent. Can the inevitable gendering process of pregnancy be avoided, and will I be ‘mommy’, or ‘daddy’?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «


Posted by on January 30th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 20 comments »

20 Responses to “Question: Parenthood”

  1. Lane

    You can be “Mommy,” “Daddy,” go by your first name, go by a special nickname you choose for your kids to call you, invent a portmanteau such as Mapa, or use anything else that you can come up with. If you can afford it you can use a surrogate or adopt, or you can decide that just because you get pregnant doesn’t mean you are a girl, it just means you have a uterus. Unfortunately you can’t do anything about the fact that other people will try to gender you as the mother or father, but that’s just one of the side effects of being born in this century. You don’t have to accept that gendering.

    [Reply]

  2. radical/rebel

    there is a fucking PHENOMENAL essay in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation called “The Manly Art of Pregnancy.” look, you can read it on amazon.com! http://books.google.com/books?id=N7htOu37OREC&pg=PA188&lpg=PA188&dq=on+the+manly+art+of+pregnancy&source=bl&ots=Mdm9FJKJqj&sig=VJoUU-5FDHM4uFLUdYGmc5TMlwk&hl=en#v=onepage&q=on%20the%20manly%20art%20of%20pregnancy&f=false

    I want to be a parent, but I do nooooooootttt want to be a mother. Luckily, I think this is yet another area where genderqueer/trans/fluid people are actively writing their own ways of being into existence. Good luck to you.

    [Reply]

  3. Anonymous

    My advice is pretty meaningless seeing as how I’m 18 years old and a looooong way away from children. But I’m female-identified and I definitely plan to be Daddy.

    [Reply]

  4. Anonymous

    There is a bloger called lesbian dad who goes by baba. http://www.lesbiandad.net/

    [Reply]

  5. Clare

    I’m sorry, but once you’re a parent, well, this is the human species, and some taking of responsibility is unavoidable; but its not a question of avoiding gender stereotypes.

    THE most important thing is allowing someone to grow up with the idea that its alright to be DIFFERENT – this may sound banal, but i used to get ‘gay’ comments for taking my lunch to work in a SHOPPING BAG, and for waering the odd bracelet – that’s how narrow- minded people can be….

    So – your problem is at once simpler (and more complex) than you can imagine! congratulations!

    [Reply]

  6. Meike

    Thanks SO much for asking this question! I was wondering that myself, especially what theoretical future children might call me as their parent. I wish I could offer advice, I figured going by your first name would work fine.

    [Reply]

  7. The Nerd

    Society tends to think “woman!” when they see someone who is using hir uterus for reproductive purposes. I personally suggest genderfucking your image as much as possible if you want to fight that bias. Perhaps you could find theater-quality facial hair to wear on outings.

    [Reply]

    Bean replied:

    Lemme tell ya, I have a two month old and maternity clothing is allllll soft and flowy. It’s so hard to find fitting genderqueer/neutral clothing. Also, if I wore men’s clothing I either looked like a big lump or just weird. So I gave in during pregnancy. I however still wore dark colors/black. They’re harder to find than the godawful pink frilly crap but you -can- find interesting clothes.

    Now I’m back to my camos and t-shirts. :)

    Being a punk genderqueer pregnant lady was pretty funny actually.

    [Reply]

  8. Daz

    I’m a gay transguy, and I would love to have kids and be a Papa. I understand that I probably won’t have biological kids, which is slightly sad, but your kids are your kids.

    And you can be a parent regardless of what you want to be called, a Good Parent isn’t defined by gender.

    In terms of titles, there’s another question on genderfork somewhere where we discussed that in particular. People suggested g-neutral ones like Zaza, or Babba. Which are awesome.

    [Reply]

    Kitty replied:

    “[A] Good Parent isn’t defined by gender.”

    This absolutely made my day!

    [Reply]

  9. Jessica

    The most important thing I can say is: parents means two. You have to be a real partner in this endeavor. It is terrifically easy, and dangerous, to lapse into role stereotypes. These are unfair for everyone, particularly your children.

    There is a big difference between having children as a genderqueer partner or transitioning from cisgender to genderqueer as a parent.

    In the former case, you will need to come up with a simple story line for straights that your children can easily learn, understand, and stick to. Otherwise I recommend that you both be mommy and daddy – there ought really to be no difference in roles and responsibilities (other than those forced upon you by your living situation, like working hours etc). We have always referred to each other by our names. There has never been any of this “go ask your father” or “what does your mother say?”

    In the latter case, you will have to deal with things like “why is Dad wearing nail polish?” It’s more difficult for children to deal with transition than a fait accompli.

    [Reply]

  10. Dayl

    I agree that the most important thing is to have an understanding partner who will be a good parent.

    Adopt! No pregnancy, and you’ll save a child from a lousy life. :)

    [Reply]

    rogue replied:

    Agreed.

    [Reply]

  11. free

    Let them call you by your first name. It can really help strengthen your relationship into a solid friendship because, I’ve noticed, children tend to “realize” that their mommy and daddy are just people (and not gods of some kind) as they get older, which can lead to disappointment and teenage anger… and by letting them use your name all the time, they can see you’re just a person like everybody else – although the person who loves them the most – right from the start.
    I also find it nice when cis-gendered gay couples let their children call them, for example, “mommy Lisa” and “mommy Tina” or “daddy Luke” and “daddy Bob”.
    But the most important thing is to make your children’s lives happy ones, always care, always be reasonable and gentle, full with love and understanding… which all of you already know. :)

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    Sandi Toksvig: “My teenage son’s friend asked him, ‘what’s it like to have two mums?’ ‘Oh, it’s brilliant’ he replied, ‘if one of them’s poorly, you’ve still got one to do for you.’”

    [Reply]

  12. Ru

    Although my parents are cis gendered, I’ve never particularly called them mum or Dad, just by their names (it still seems odd to me to call them mum or dad!) so maybe that’s an option? Other than that just get on with your lives & generally kids will accept it as the norm if that’s what they’re used too.

    [Reply]

  13. Bean

    I just did this.
    I now have a son. I have to say, being pregnant didn’t make my gender identity change in any way. It’s not a physical thing, gender. So here I am, a mom with a neutral gender identity. No problem. I am fine with female pronouns and will be Mama.

    Names of things only define you if you let them. But words ARE powerful so if Mama bothers you and Pappa or Daddy doesn’t really fit, a neutral name like Baba or some play off of your name might be awesome.

    I am really loving being a mom. And I’m pleased to say it hasn’t stopped people from hitting on me. Connections are connections.

    Good luck to you!

    [Reply]

  14. Nox

    this is an old question but i wanted to respond, i thought i’d one day like to transition to be a man’s man, for a long time, although i like men and women, i fell in love with a man and we wound up pregnant. He totally accepts and loves me for the genderbender that i am, but i didnt yet call myself genderqueer, the dicotomy really came after being pregnet, i went emotionally nuts, i was crying, and had a very “boys don’t cry” attitude about my new found emotional faucet. I struggled with the fact that my “bro’s’ suddenly felt differnt about me, one evn patted me on the head!!!I snapped at the guy at the time about, just cuz im carrying a baby doesnt mean im some girly you can pat now, etc. for a Macho dyke that i tryed to be then , all the “mommyness” made me snap, and i crumbled over it and became totally depressed. but then..something struck me when i actually had my child, he called me mama, off his own free will as a tiny baby. and i fell inlove with that word. And when he was alittle older he drew pictures of his family, stick figures and the only discrening differences were the hair, and when he would tell people who was who he always pointed out, “daddy has the long hair ,mommy’s hair is short and spikey. ” and i loved that even more!! and after a few yr’s i accepted myself as a “MOM” , i am happy and honoured to be his mom but the lable doesnt box me in. Mom’s and Dad’s come in all flavours. If his toys break, he knows mommy will fix it, if he hurt himself and he wants some one to goo and awwe and make it better..daddy’s the softy. You can call yourself whatever you want, and let your child(i recommend) call you whatever they want to. They will assign a lable to you, but it means exactly what your family makes it mean, and forget about evryone elses opinion. I finally said, you know, why does Maternalness have to be tyed to female. Now i also realize, i do have feminine aspects, more than i thought i did because for my own personal reasons i was scared of admitting to it, that it some how invalidated my desire and self recognition as the dapper gentleman i am. But it isnt the fact that i was physically able to have a kid that does it. I am just a parent, and my child likes to call me mom, and i like to love him like a mother (or a father). So don’t over stress about it, just go with what’s natural, and when your child make judgements about gender just remind them that nothing holds true 100% for all people, we are all unique and the wolrd takes all kinds. I hope my reflections give you a thought to chew on a bit :)

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    Gender will be what it is, but there is such a thing as biology. Rejecting one’s internalized oppression notwithstanding, lying in the bed and holding that new person in your arms… when their eyes look into yours, there is something that happens to you.
    Damn the stereotypes! Nox, yours is a better and truer conception of and model for motherhood. It has nothing to do about who leads and who follows, who commands and who nurtures, who makes messes or who cleans them up… it has everything to do with a loving family of real people who are honest with each other in loving respect for each other.

    [Reply]

  15. Cat

    Considering I call myself Cat, I think it would be really sweet for any potential kids of mine to refer to me as Kitty/Kit instead of Mom(my). It fits me a whole lot better.

    [Reply]


Leave a Reply


Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.


Back to top