Genetics

After the open kindergarten today I walked home together with one of the other mums. It’s a woman I know fairly well as we attend the “parent group” at the doctors office together. Out of the blue she asked if we were planning siblings for our baby and taken aback from her question I answered “no”. That’s not true, we really want siblings, but when you rely on a donor it’s not as easy as jumping in bed with each other. I didn’t really feel like discussing our journey to have our baby, so I elaborated my answer with a vague “it’s not that easy, it took us 10 years to get our baby…” She continued to talk about a friend who got her baby through a clinic in Denmark (they have more liberal laws concerning reproductive assistance than Sweden) and something inside me snapped. For some reason I’m very hesitant about discussing my reproductive abilities and I feel emasculated by not being able to make my wife pregnant.I don’t care that I’m trans and I don’t care that many cis men also have reproductive issues, I want to be seen as a “normal” guy as far as possible and that includes being seen as a potentially biological father to my child. I don’t like people insinuating that I’m sterile even if it would be true. And I think that the reason for that is that they never in their wildest dreams would think of saying anything like it to a cis guy. I mean, what if you say something like that and it turns out that he actually is a “natural” father to his kids. Talk about an awkward moment… But apparently it’s fine to assume that I can’t produce children. To be fair to this mum my wife might actually have said something to her about our process to get pregnant. It’s not a secret, but we are both hesitant to talk about it since the donor is a friend of ours. He want to be treated just like any friend of ours so we feel it’s our obligation to make sure that other friends or family don’t put him in awkward situations, so his identity is kept on a strictly need-to-know basis. This arrangement has allowed me to adopt the mindset of cis-dads and enter the world of heteronormativity where your child’s genetic background isn’t something that is up for general discussion and speculation. Or so I thought.

Right now I feel robbed of my illusion, an illusion that actually made me feel secure in my role as a dad. With that illusion intact I could enter the parent groups with confidence and a sense of actually belonging there. But now I’m just an impostor, someone who sneaks my way into groups I don’t truly have access to. I’m the third wheel that easily can be disregarded because I’m not a “real” dad.

I’m not ashamed by my baby’s genetic background, on the contrary I’m happy that she doesn’t have to carry the burden of my genetics. I think she will be a happier and healthier person for it and I’m also very grateful to our donor, we couldn’t have asked for a better person to give us a child! But, I don’t want to be seen like less of a man for it. Not by strangers and not by myself.

I guess I have a very fragile ego at the moment. The man I see myself as in my mind is broken down piece by piece over the day, starting with the morning routine where I have to look myself in the mirror and having a female face looking back at me. I then continue by staring at my boobs for a while as I put on my binder (at least it’s better than having them poking out from my body all day, moving around and making it impossible to concentrate on anything else) and reminding myself of the missing genitalia as I’m placing the packer in my boxers. All this just to be misgendered every time I step out of the house. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m very self critical and have a habit of listening more to the negative feedback I get than the positive. Somehow I just wish people would treat me as the man I am, then my appearance or reproductive abilities wouldn’t matter so much.

4 thoughts on “Genetics

  1. Somehow, people think that they have a *right* to say and do to trans* people what they would not dare to say or do to cis people. Our bodies are everybody’s to discuss and criticize – but, Fredrik, we are not our bodies and our bodies are not us. We already know it, they still have to realize it. Your tribe knows you as the man you are – live your truth as you know it. Chin up, buddy. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly I think this comes from the sensationalisation of being trans. Cis folks seem to think that it’s okay to ask very personal questions because we’re presented by the media as just so damn fascinating that our personal issues are a talking point. It’s irritating and I’m sorry you had to deal with that awful conversation. I guess it doesn’t mean much, but coming from the other side I know how you feel to an extent, and it sucks!

    What I try to do is remind myself that the opinions of uninformed others are essentially worthless. I said it in an earlier blog post but I don’t want to ever feel like I need to validate my gender by what other people think of it, because I’ll always feel lacking in that case because there’ll always be someone that doesn’t respect me. But I know that’s harder to do than just saying it. I try focus on the fact that I know who and what I am, that’s enough.

    Meanwhile you’re an awesome guy and kick-ass dad and anyone who thinks any different of you can go to hell, in my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, I needed to hear that! I know all of it, but at the same time it’s so easy to loose oneself in others opinions when you already feel insecure. Living as an open lesbian meant constantly having to answer personal questions, and I did as I thought it was important to answer people’s ponderings. But somehow I feel different about being trans. I feel that it’s much more personal and definitely non of their business. That and there’s Google that didn’t exist when I came out as gay. I have a friend with anorexia, but I would never ask her about information on the illness. If I want to know anything I would google it and read a book. So why is that suddenly hard to do when it comes to gender and sexuality? And why on earth have I put up with it and played along for so long??? Guess I have to add a new answer to prying questions: Google it!
      I find questions much harder to deal with than opinions. Opinions are easier to dismiss. Misgendering is even harder since it’s almost impossible to correct people when they’re in a conversation with someone else. Not being able to answer back makes it hit my heart much deeper.

      Liked by 1 person

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