Back to School Night, and Being Outed as Mom

Second and last of the back-dated posts. This was originally written on Sept. 18, 2014, which I think was the day after Back to School Night. Again, it doesn’t really reflect how I see myself or how Iz relates to me now. After I had a Serious Talk with her a couple weeks ago, she sort of got that I’m a boy and would prefer to be called Mr. Mom (although she still calls me Mommy all the time out of habit. Whatever, that one’s gonna take a while to change). But recently she’s been calling me a girl again, almost like she’s teasing me. So maybe we need to have another Serious Talk.

Anyway, this post is more about how I might be viewed by Iz’s teacher and school personnel, and I’m definitely still my kid’s mom to them. Will that change by this fall? I’m not sure; it will be interesting to see.

(Sept. 18, 2014)

So last night was Back to School Night, and my first time meeting Iz’s teacher.

I had wondered how to present myself to her teacher. After the Open House where Iz and my mom met the teacher, I sent the teacher an email as requested to sign up for her mailing list, and I described myself as Iz’s “parent” and signed with just the initial of my first name, so that gender was not too obvious. Unless, you know, my display name showed my full name, or the teacher was able to guess that the first part of my email address is *gasp* my first name. So my attempts at obfuscation were more of an act of confusion and self-delusion.

Back to School Night, meanwhile, came just about a week after I came out as transmasculine on Facebook, announcing a new name and asking my friends to use male pronouns for me. So how should I present myself to the teacher, I wondered?

In the end, I went with my legal name and “mom” for a few reasons. For one thing, my legal name is on all the paperwork, and will be until I get it legally changed. It would just be confusing to try to use another name. Also, it would be arbitrary and risky to come out to school personnel.

Most importantly, though, is that “mom” is what Iz calls me and knows me as. It’s the word she’d use to talk about me to the teacher. And it turned out that she has talked to the teacher about me quite a lot. “She really loves you. She talks about you all the time,” the teacher said. I was surprised and touched, really deeply touched, because Iz and I don’t have a great relationship. She really loves me?

On Iz’s desk in the classroom, meanwhile, I found a drawing of me and her, holding hands and wearing dresses of pink, purple and cerulean blue.

drawing of me and my kid in pretty dresses

Those are my favorite colors, but I was surprisingly stung that Iz hasn’t picked up Mommy doesn’t wear dresses.

Of course, my daughter lives in a fantasyland of princesses and fairies (some fabulous, but some just ordinary) and so I suppose this was her fantasy of me and her. I guess she hasn’t gotten yet that in fairyland, Mommy would be a prince, not a princess.

I suppose she has no way of knowing, since I haven’t gathered up the nerve to come out to her yet. My parents probably suspect something is up with the chest binding and the male clothes, but Iz wouldn’t understand that. To her I’m still the same Mommy as always, just in different clothes.

I should probably explain it to her, but part of me is nervous, and then another part doesn’t want to risk her outing me to my dad, and so I’ll probably just end up waiting until she hears one of my friends call me “he” or my male name, and asks about it. I don’t see it being too difficult to explain, since we’re very familiar with a few trans people, whom I explained with, “X was born as a girl, but later realized he’s a boy” or vice versa. Iz just blithely accepted the concept, and in fact occasionally tells me that one of her baby dolls is trans, or posits that a character on one of her kids shows might be trans.

But to my explanation of myself, I’ll add: “But I’m still Mommy. That’s not going to change.” Because that’s who she needs me to be right now. Perhaps when she’s a little older, she’ll realize how incongruous it is to imagine me in a dress, or to shout “Mom!” across the room at someone who’s presenting as male. But for now, I have to live¬†with being outed as Mom.


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