In 1994, Howes writes at Narratively, she was in middle school and being harassed by other students who said her dad was a “transsexual.” Her family tried to be supportive of both her and her dad, but she still felt like the “weird girl.” She writes, “That year, my dad’s 40th-birthday present was a week in Disneyland as a woman. We went as a family. She wore dresses and makeup and we called her Denise. Our present to her was that she could be herself. It seemed reasonable at the time; it seemed nice. I’m disgusted now to think that was a privilege we granted to her as a gift.”
At the same time, it was a week of acceptance before heading back to a world that very much was not accepting. It was a turning point that prompted her dad to live as the woman she was. When Howes started at a new school that fall, she was first seen as someone with two moms. “I longed for a situation as normal as Heather Has Two Mommies,” she tells us. Still, she took the leap and told a friend the truth—and found that it didn’t change how others treated her. “The difference was that everyone at my school had been the weird kid at their old school,” she observes.
She writes further about how she came to better understand her father and what she had gone through. Go read the whole piece for more on Howes’ journey—yet another example of how, warts and all, family is family.