“i never really thought i’d be in a family, let alone be here this long. and i’m not sure i know how to be, but i’m figuring it out. i’m trying. and i wouldn’t be without andrew. eight years with him, and over three with omega, feel inconceivable in some ways, and that gives me something i didn’t know i needed. a wholeness and sense of grounding. there were no positive models of queerness when i grew up, and certainly not transness. sometimes i forget that i, we, are putting that into the world just by being. not in a planned or calculated way, not in a political or idealogical way, but as a natural inevitability. like flowers (or weeds for our detractors) busting through asphalt. we are here. we will always be here, growing and adapting. even surrounded by hostility, we live and expand together. we’ve made a family with a beautiful brilliant fireball of a child who somehow looks and acts like both of us, and whose existence baffles those who do not believe we are real.
i’m something feral that came in from the cold, and andrew and omega are my home, my warmth. sitting by the creek, i think i am scandalous, but why? perhaps because i’m topless, perhaps because i’m trans and not hiding, i’m a parent when i should be the end of the line, i’m in love when i should be shamed. it doesn’t matter. i do not need to be understood to be alive, nor do i need to be palatable. i am here. i am home. i am getting better, all the time.”
- astrid (she//her)
carrboro, north carolina
"pregnancy was what made my non-binary identity really feel pronounced. and yet i embraced what i felt was a kind of drag performance during pregnancy partially because i didn't have much of a disposable income, and partially because i knew it was temporary. So i made do with hand-me-down pregnancy clothing which was often very feminine. i even grew out my hair, which i hadn't done in years. there were some moments of discomfort with my growing hills (my term for the chest/breast), but mostly i was amazed at my body's changes. i had my cousin help me with a plaster cast of my body at around 30 weeks which i still have up in our bedroom. i was blessed to have a queer midwife who was always respectful of my pronouns and keeping things gender inclusive, and who i knew was actively helping other trans and non-binary clients."
- miyuki (they//them)
“it took me a long time to figure out who i was, and the confidence to be that person without compromise.
with that, i hope that river has an easier time figuring out who she is and how to stay true to herself. i hope she is able to find a community of like-minded people that support each other.
being in san francisco since the 90’s gave me a tremendous opportunity to interact with all types of people: punks, drag queens, artists, bike messengers, writers, musicians, waiters etc, and it allowed me to see that it’s ok to be exactly who you are. i want river to have this kind of exposure too, to be immersed in possibilities and options.”
- malia (she//her)
san francisco, california
“breastfeeding was hard for all of the reasons that it has always been hard. but the dysphoria it made me feel shocked me. i’ve never wanted breasts; i cried when my teacher sent home a note about my nipples when i was 8. growing up and hearing the “you’ve really grown up” and “you’re a woman now, huh” comments certainly did not help. when i was old enough to actually enjoy sexuality, they became an occasionally fun thing and i built a better relationship with them but breastfeeding really pushed that. as a black AFAB person, feeling hypersexualized and hypervisible is a reality every time i step out of the door but it really came to a head when i needed to suddenly whip a boob out to feed my child and small hands were constantly touching them. i made it to my breastfeeding goal of a year and he’s been eating food for almost double that time but i still feel so much gratitude to be out of that season of life. it was empowering to be able to create all of the nourishment that my child needs but also a heavy weight to bear. it’s interesting to think about how these organs that have brought so much comfort to my child will no longer be there in a matter of years.”
- marissa (she//they)
durham, north carolina
“it was here, that my intuition and self-understanding, my gender journey to that point, and my child coming into the world, all culminated together into this moment of self recognition and responsibility to break the cycles of harm that had been passed down from generations, and realizing that my whole life, i was always on the path to motherhood, it was where i found so much of my feminine spirit, energy and authenticity and it was what allowed me to step into one of the archetypes of who i was always meant to be. The Mother.”
- jade phoenix (she//her)
los angeles, california
“as a transmasculine, non binary person, the most dysphoric part of pregnancy is my chest growing. i was a AAA chest, muscly body and could make it work (gender expression) without medical intervention for transition. one gift of being in a masc4masc // t4t relationship is that my partner fetch *totally* understands how it feels to wrestle with body/gender incongruence and i never have to explain. they can see me in my gender despite and within the physical changes.
one challenge is that sometimes they are perceived as “more trans” than me because they have had top surgery, etc. and, as pregnancy skews my body less masculine, it is harder to feel valid and seen in my gender. we even got read as straight a couple times which felt especially erasing for me.
the photo of us having both our hands over my chest happened spontaneously when i couldn’t feel congruent in a sports bra, and also didn’t want my chest showing. i crossed my arms over my chest and fetch joined me; a metaphor of how we support each other’s gender on the daily.
fetch so grateful to be on all the layers of journey with you and ours.”
- rascal (they//them)
“i wish someone would drop a kid in my lap” was an oft-spoken desire expressed by me and my BFF because neither of use wanted to birth children from our bodies and also in our various relationships our dreams of being parents kept being shelved, rejected, or otherwise frustrated by the realities of life as poor queers. at one point in my life, in my early 20s, i thought maybe i’d just “bite the bullet” and make a baby with my body so that i could have all the control of the experience and not have to rely on anyone else (minus the part where i’d get the sperm from a different body). my mom got pregnant with me at 20 and while getting pregnant young was a clearly bad idea for *her* by the time i was a world-weary 23 i thought i was totally ready to just start winging it. it took me almost 20 more years to become a parent and a toddler was effectively dropped in my lap quite suddenly alongside becoming a bonus parent to an 11 year old. it still felt like ‘winging it’ at 42 but i can’t deny that the resources i was able to access in my mid-life supported my parenting journey in ways that would have been incredibly out of reach back in my more naive days. even with 2 parents, stable housing and finances, and decades of experience as a nanny - becoming a baba knocked me on my butt for a while. the first time i dropped him off at preschool he cried so hard and it broke my heart to walk away as his teacher held him. the same teacher texted 5 minutes later to share a pic of him playing and having fun. it took me at least 45 minutes to pull myself back together. doing the daily work of building trust and secure attachment has pulled and stretched me in ways i couldn’t have imagined before becoming a parent.”
-lukas blakk (she//her)
"we are both nonbinary and when it came time to start seriously planning our path toward parenthood our ideas were anything but linear. we both felt strongly about being the gestating parent and after many conversations and much soul searching, neither of us could let go of our desire so we took turns trying - “baby roulette.” i got lucky under a lunar eclipse in may, after 9 months of trying.
i am the one who will birth our baby and sage plans to induce lactation to feed them. bringing a kid into the world is inextricably tied to both of our genders and both of our bodies.
as a queer nonbinary couple who is creating family in a collaged way that doesn’t follow any of the mainstream scripts or expectations, we struggle to be seen as both legitimate parents and both connected to our baby. our baby’s emerging existence relies very intentionally upon the wondrous and unique phenomenon that is our connection. in other words, they will be because we are.”
- lane & sage (they//them)
san francisco, california
“my parenting name is MAMA. i chose it because i felt it was a very powerful name, M. A. M. A. it’s close to my initials, M.Y. MY MAMA. doesn’t that sound nice? however, that name might not have ever come to be because i wasn’t legally a york.
we have to go back to the year 2010 when me and my partner, lake lloyd , knew we were having a kid. twelve years ago feels so long ago and when i think of all the hoops we as queer parents had to go through, sheesh. not only the hoops of getting pregnant but all the legal hoops too. at the time of our kid’s birth in north carolina, non-birther queer parents had zero parenting rights. we couldn’t second parent adopt, we couldn’t be on the birth certificate, etc. for me to have at least some small legal connection lake thought our kid should have my last name. this is so silly but still to this day, i get emotional about that gift lake gave me. she gave me a branch on a family tree. but who am i? what is MY last name? my mom’s name was dianne york but since she never knew her father she would always wonder if she was a york too. if my kid was to have MY name, i wanted to make sure it was MY name. thanks to the mormons and ancestory.com i found my mother’s father. this wasn’t the time of matching D.N.A. it was the time of good old archiving and photographs! i found a 1920’s yearbook photo of raymond alfred york, visually my mother’s twin with a funny haircut. after all these years i found my mom’s dad. she’s a york, I’m a York and now my kid will be too. i legally changed my last name to York and that was the moment I became a parent; i became MY MAMA, my kid’s first words too.”
- melissa york (she//her)
durham, north carolina
… it's through my own self liberation, because i am the only one who could could do it. for me it wasn't hard - it was life, to live authentically. and not everybody gets to have that… for my kids - i hope they just feel the liberation to be who they are, and they don't have to play any role… i just hope they can be free to be themselves.”
- elle (she//her)
santa fe, new mexico
“i just adore this man who is both mom and dad. by any name, a parent who loves with endless patience and remarkable grace. who teaches our children how to build and how to sew. who sets our hair in hot rollers and packs the camper van. who fills our lives with expressions of his devotion. a man who has birthed and nursed and packed so many lunchboxes.
there is profound magic in shapeshifting, in the space trans and gender non-conforming people open for all of us to be our truest selves.
and what else is parenting really but creating the container for a tiny being to become their truest self? who better to parent than someone who has traversed their heart and their skin to find what fits?!
when i went into labor at just 24 weeks pregnant, we didn’t know if this baby would live. and yet here we are, so grateful we belong to each other.
every day i honor this - the solidity and ephemerality of what makes us a family.”
- haley (she//they) & evan (he/him))
“when i was pregnant, some people asked me if i felt more feminine.my body changed, i got more round, my breasts and booty grew, i got a more conventionally “feminine” body type. but i didn’t feel more feminine. i just felt more pregnant, and there was more of me! the same goes for breast/chestfeeding. i love nursing my baby because i love feeding him from my body. i love the feeling of leaving the house with him and knowing that all he needs to be ok is me and my body (plus a couple of spare diapers). pregnancy and breast/chestfeeding is not an inherently feminine thing. it’s an inherently human thing, available to all people whose bodies can do it and who choose it.”
- marea (she//her)
santa cruz, california
“my parental name is dodi. for better or worse, as non-binary parent, i feel mostly free of the archetypal expectations of mother or father. though at times i may struggle with feeling unseen, it helps me to stay closer to the core of what parenthood is; it’s simply a relationship.”
- addie (they//them)
"home. i’m finally home. in my body. in my head. in my relationship. in my family. it took me two decades to get here after fighting myself for far too long. fighting what society expected of me. who my big siciliano family expected me to be. who they prayed for me to be. but one day i challenged myself to seek true authentic joy and silence the outside world's viewpoints of what that should look like. within months i met the love of my life, my wife, my baby mama. i never knew a love like this existed. there are moments when i look at her and just start crying tears of joy. now we have this precious human growing inside of me and my capacity to love is growing to an entirely new level. all because I said yes to being my authentic self. “
- rashel (she//her)