This Post of the Week is a lovely piece by a queer mom about her partner’s gender transition and their family. It’s not a blog post, really, since it was published in the prestigious Georgia Review literary magazine—but the fact that it appears there is itself notable, and it’s definitely worth a read.
In “Transition: The Renaming of Hope,” Molly Cooney writes of her partner’s Anne’s transition journey and her own. (I use “Anne” because Molly does, since Anne has not yet changed his name; I realize that generally speaking, one should not use a trans person’s pre-transition name.) Molly reflects on what she will miss of the person she first knew, but also of the wonder in watching a new person emerge. She also offers us thoughts on transition and parenthood, and draws parallels between naming their child and Anne’s choosing a new name:
So, if it’s that hard to name a newborn, how do you name a person with forty years of history, decades of connections, and a lifetime of expectations? How do you find a name that tells those stories and the ones still growing? How do you find a name you want to call yourself?
Difficult, too, is picking a parental appellation:
There is no word for a genderqueer person raising a kid. There isn’t a standard name for a child to call a “mom/dad.” I mean, yes, there is the word parent, but who wants to wake up to, Good morning, parent, or hear, Parent! Parent! shouted across the swings and sand?
You’ll have to read the piece itself to learn Anne’s solution.
I also love her observations about how their son is able to use pronouns with dexterity:
When Ellis transposes he and she or substitutes they, he isn’t making a mistake; he’s living linguistic fluidity and accepting difference unconditionally. He’s not gender bound. If we listen, he’s teaching us how language doesn’t have to define identity, that we are bigger than the pronouns people use to describe us, that we don’t have to be one thing or the other because we can simply be both, or many.
Molly writes, too, of wondering what will happen to her own identity as they segue into looking (to their neighbors) like a straight, non-queer couple. Her piece ends on a somewhat unsettled note, which seems more honest to me than wrapping things up with a neat platitude. Their journey is still in progress. May their love for each other continue to guide them.