Does Having a Transgender Parent Make Sons into Better Men?
Late last summer, my wife and two sons climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine. That trip was something of a swan song for the family we had been— less than a week later, our older boy Zach would depart for his freshman year at Vassar, and the rest of us, including 16-year-old Sean, would have to begin to learn what it was like to be a group of three. The morning was rainy, and as the sun came out, mist and fog rose all around the ridges of Hamlin Peak and the Knife Edge Trail. It wasn’t the first mountain our family had climbed, nor, for that matter was it the first time we’d all been through a mysterious set of changes. When I came out as transgender, my boys were six and four, back in 2000. For a while back then we weren’t as certain who we were anymore. The four of us, as familiar to one another as family members can be, suddenly found ourselves morphing into something new, something unrecognizable. For my sons, it had meant going from a family with a mother and a father—and all the normative privilege that comes with that—to a family with two moms, a family that all at once seemed to be on the margins of the culture.