Several of my trans male and nonbinary acquaintances were mothers before they transitioned, and are now exploring alternative ways for their children to address them. I’ve started to introduce myself to new people as “Shane’s parent” but I haven’t asked him to call me anything different. On his own, my creative boy decided to call me “Mommy-Man”, or sometimes “Mommy-Sir”. He usually saves these titles for when he especially wants to please me (“Mommy-Sir, can I play Minecraft?”).
At 9 years old, puberty is on the horizon, Cthulhu help us all. My son seems to love his masculinity, and is playing around with flirty phrases he learns from YouTube (“Hey baybeee”). The Oedipus Complex is real. I feel like he needs and appreciates both my new dad-like qualities, playing ball in the backyard and admiring how thoroughly he can coat himself with mud at Wilderness Survival Camp, and my mom-like nurturing with food and snuggles.
As an adoptive parent who overcame institutional prejudices and personal sabotage (from my bio mom!) to have a baby, I feel attached to my hard-won title of “Mom” despite its misgendering connotations. Because I didn’t give birth to him, on some level I still worry about disrupting his attachment to me, undermining my legitimacy as his parent, if I give up my behavioral claim to motherhood.
I’m also a diva, honestly–I don’t want to share Father’s Day with Adam, I want my own day!
My gay friend and artistic mentor John Ollom, a choreographer in NYC, calls himself “Mother” and his artists’ community “The Haus of Ollom”, in the tradition of the Harlem ballroom houses depicted in the TV show “Pose”–a family-of-choice for queer refugees from bigoted homes, headed by a fiercely protective and nurturing elder. That is the kind of motherhood I can emulate as a trans mommy-man.
Mother Elektra Abundance is not taking any sass from you.