Quote of the Day: “Motherhood and fatherhood are not binaries”

I really love this piece by Jennifer Finney Boylan, who has spent six years parenting her children as a dad, followed by 12 years as a mom after her transition. I was especially moved by this section:

I understand the reluctance many people have to play down the importance of gender, or for that matter, biology, in parenting; a world in which male and female are not fixed poles but points in a spectrum is a world that feels unstable, unreal. And yet to accept the wondrous scope of gender is to affirm the potential of life, in all its messy beauty. Motherhood and fatherhood are not binaries. And that, I’d argue, is a good thing.

Only a small percentage of American households now consist of married couples with children in which only the father works. The biggest outliers in our culture are not same-sex couples, or transgender people, or adoptive parents, or single fathers, but the so-called traditional American families themselves.

What does it even mean, at this hour, to call anybody traditional? Surely it is not the ways in which we conform that define us, but the manner in which we each seek our own perilous truth.

Given how much discrimination and violence trans* folks still face, it’s understandable that we’re often focused on all the problems that are yet to be solved. But I think it’s also important to recognize that the way trans* people are challenging the gender binary is so exciting–for everyone. Jos touched on this idea in her excellent post “I am not your tragic trans narrative,” and it bears repeating. “I’ve broken one of the most absolute rules handed down by our culture, and that gives me a vision that goes beyond what seems possible to what’s needed and desired.”

I’m so thankful to be living during a sea change in transgender rights, when the growing visibility and acceptance of trans* folks is radically expanding our notions of humanity’s incredible diversity.

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