Ongoing reflection on disclosing to young children

They have LGBTQ+ affirming children books, but all of them presume trans people are starting their transition, and/or are visible. I’m trying to convey that something happened before they were born, that nothing changes about what they call me, or how the world generally perceives me. It seems abstract of a concept for little ones to grasp.

What I want them to get out of it is an understanding of my context rather than me. Why is LGBTQ+ important to me, why I have strained relationships to their grand-parents, why this other name mint pop up when least expected, and leave me in a sour mood.

twin pride frank mckenna unsplash
[Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash. Description: Twin toddlers in matching shinny blue outfits, with rainbows across their torso.]

I don’t have a role model for this, not in my life. All the trans dad’s I know either gave birth and/or contributed an egg and/or started or continued their transition after having children and/or had circumstances significantly different from mine. That seems less abstract of a thing to convey. The trans dad closest in experience to my own doesn’t want to disclose to his kid. (The child has been old enough to grasp for a few years.)

I’ve looked up to Matt Rice and his contemporaries for over 15 years. But I don’t know any of them in real life. This isn’t the sort of thing I’ve read about from their experience around parenting; they focused on other stuff, with good reasons. I’m not slanting those that came before me and shared what they shared.

[Photo by Peter Hershey from Unsplash. Description: a rainbow flag waving in the wind.]

I took the twins to their first pride parade. They liked the colours, they weren’t impressed with the volume of the music on the floats. If they made anything of the same-sex affection around them, it didn’t register as anything significant. As it should be. I’m just not convinced they get enough messages that love is love, regardless of sex. So much in their lives is heteronormative, despite my best efforts.

I scan the crowd for fellow LGBTQ+ parents. The first few other parents I spot with strollers are cishet. They’re there because they think it’s fun and/or they have a relative who’s part of the alphabet soup community.

I find 2 gay men pushing their double stroller, very young twins sound asleep. For a moment, they are thrilled we’ve found each other. Like me, they don’t know of other local queers who became parents after coming out, navigating the world with little ones. But in chatting, it comes out that I’m bi, and the twins have a mum. The gay men are done, having dismissed me as not possibly understanding any of their experience.

Perish the thought if I’d disclosed my medical history.

We part ways in the crowd otherwise dominated by youth and safer sex advocacy.

It’s back to being the sole LGBTQ+ parent in their lives.

Some of my local LGBTQ+ friends make appearances in their lives, but these are few and far between, as none of them have toddlers, and thus their social lives typically revolve around different times and activities. I continue the conversations with their mum on future summers when I will take them back home. There’s a lot more support and resources there for us. Surely, we’ll figure it out, one way or another.

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