The term “cis-heteronormativity” – in addition to being a mouthful is often just not understood. “What does that look like?” By definition, it means that being cisgender (people who identify as their sex assigned at birth) and heterosexual (men attracted to women and vice versa) are considered normal and that people are assumed to be-so.
Here’s an example of what that looks like from last May:
At the grocery store I was wished a happy Mother’s Day. I just smiled and said, “I’m a grandmother” because, for some odd reason, I feel a more legitimate claim to that title. My girls don’t call me “Mom” – nor should they. I’m not their mom. But my grandkids call me “Grandma Leslie” and always have. I like that. Still, it was an awkward moment in the store as a clerk took it for granted that a woman my age would be a mom.
It happened again later in the day as my wife, Katie, and I were shopping for bedding. This time I just smiled and let it go. What am I going to say? “Well, I do have two lovely daughters, yes, but you see, I’m their dad?”
My daughters and I have worked out the whole gendered holidays by ignoring them. We celebrate Trans-Parent day on the 1st Sunday in November.
Mother’s Day can be a lot more than awkward for so many in the trans community. It can be heartbreaking. Moms who reject their kids because they don’t understand how their child can identify differently than how they were raised. Instead of loving them unconditionally, many trans kids are rejected. Mother’s Day can be a reminder of that painful reality.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I’m so grateful for the many Mama Bears who fiercely defend and love their trans kids. You are the finest example of a mother’s love and your kids are so much better off because of it.
So, for the past dozen years or so, our family has celebrated Trans Parents day and that works for us. The first time we celebrated it, it was my daughters who initiated it. We had come out to visit for my daughter Sarah’s birthday. When we checked into our hotel, my daughters had decorated the room and there were cards and a gift basket. I was floored and filled with the joy of acceptance. We feel loved and celebrated – it also gives me a reason to look forward to that first Sunday in November.