I entered this hallowed place through transition. I am a transgender mom living just north of Midtown in Oklahoma City.
Okay, the only reason I included the superfluous information about where I live is that I was hoping that you would skim past what I actually said. I am a transgender mom.
If I’m honest, I don’t actually use words like woman or mother to describe myself. To me, those words are clubs, and nothing you do or are can put you in a club. You can only be invited in.
Isn’t that the common existential question of motherhood? Do I actually count? Some mothers have hard pregnancies. Others have ridiculously easy kids. Others struggle with infertility. Others find that they don’t actually like kids. Still others struggle with addiction or depression or abuse or an over-abundance of testosterone and a penis.
Cue the song, “One of these things is not like the other …”
So, I guess if you’re reading this, the staff at OKCMB have found the space to be more inclusive than I have yet found in my own heart.
And, maybe that’s because they’ve come to realize that motherhood isn’t defined by any intrinsic characteristics, but simply by your child’s relationship to you.
When I came out to my son – my son is three. Coming out meant not hiding and just being myself around him – he proudly called me daddy without batting an eye. It didn’t matter if I was in a skirt or a dress or a wig. He recognized who I was and that our relationship hadn’t changed.
Then, he started slipping: sometimes calling me “mommy” instead, almost as though he instinctively knew the word “daddy” didn’t work for me anymore. Maybe, even at 3, he instinctively understands gender. Maybe he just sensed mine and my wife’s tension when he outed me by calling me “daddy” in public. Maybe he sensed the war in my soul at whether or not I should burden him with a new pet name for me.
Having, as usual, already resolved these questions and waiting for me to fumble my way to the same conclusion, my lovely and ever more practical wife told me to pick a new pet name, or she would pick it for me.
So, I asked around and settled on trying out “Ommy”.
I never would have imagined the transformation: the assuredness and delight with which my son calls me “Ommy” and the unadulterated joy I feel in my new name. So, maybe this is motherhood. Maybe the only invite I needed was my little miracle of a child recognizing and delighting in who I am, to him.
If that can be enough, I am a transgender mom. He calls me “Ommy”.