I no longer celebrate Father’s Day with my father. Not because my father is dead. No, my biological father is still very much alive. But my biological father is now a woman.
In case you need further clarification: the person who contributed the sperm that created the person that is me is now living as a woman. As in, the penis is gone; a vagina has been created; and this person wears makeup and girl clothes.
Did I blow your mind? I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish we lived in a world in which we fully embraced all people regardless of our own individual norms or experiences. A world in which personal expression and transformation were greeted without pause, reservation, or judgment.
At the same time, I recognize that this situation is a lot to absorb if you’ve never personally experienced it. It can take some time to make the mental leap. Much like my father took years to discover her true self, I needed time to get to where I am in my full acceptance of her transition.
I first found out about my father’s gender identity in my mid-20s. My new husband and I went to my parent’s house to celebrate the holidays. Early in the day, my father told me, “I’d like to talk to you both privately at some point today.”
My heart cringed. Was his prostate cancer back? Was he going back into treatment? “Of course,” I gently replied.
A few hours later, my husband and I joined my father in another room. He sat us down and got right to the point.
“There’s a woman inside of me. And I cross-dress sometimes to let her out.”
My jaw dropped. I was expecting news of cancer. I was expecting talk of chemo or radiation. This, THIS, I was not expecting. Too stunned to respond, I sat in silence with my mouth agape.
My husband came to my rescue by saying, “Richard, we love you no matter who you are.”