can a good father even exist?

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  • #109875
    Aoife Mary M.

    one of the parts i struggle with most as i come to terms with the possibility that i am trans and will someday live as such is the effect on my children. regardless of what my truth is, i have and will continue to raise them not only to be accepting, but with a refusal to place any “gender”-based expectations. in my opinion, this is the most important thing with young children, but that’s another topic.


    i may not be the perfect father, but i honestly cannot think of a better one. truthfully, i have no reason to believe there is a better father out there and there never has been. my parents were both shit, so i’ve never experienced a good father, but my daughter has and any future children also will. so here’s the problem: what if i am not a father?

    i have an incredibly negative opinion of men and i try to not put that onto my own children. it can be hard with a girl when i really want her to be safe, but also not as distrustful as me, but i worry about what i would do with a boy, especially a boy who would not have the same questions that i have. i feel like it’s right to show my children – and the whole world, that a man can be good and i feel like someday going “oops, turns out i’m actually a woman!” would shatter all that.

    as more and more authoritative sources tell me things like “if you are questioning this at all, you are trans,” i really wonder if a good man can even exist. i do my best (and when i fail, it so often feels as a result of my masculine training), and i would hate to confirm the reality that i believe myself: “all men are trash.” if i am not trash, then i guess i’m not a man? personally, that’s fine with me, but my daughter has already demonstrated a lot attraction to boys, and what if i have a son who is comfortable as a male? after my wife losing her attraction to me, changes in sexual function, etc. the scariest idea of admitting to myself that i am trans is sending that message: “the only good man is a trans woman who hasn’t come out yet.”


    hearts and rainbows,


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    • #110415

      I think the roles of mothers and fathers change over time and across cultures, but most men have a lot of traits in common that women don’t tend to share (or not to the same extent), and most women have a lot of traits in common that men don’t tend to share (or not to the same extent).

      A lot of women feel a strong drive to get pregnant.  I really wanted to be pregnant and give birth.  I don’t think many men want to get pregnant (themselves).  They may want to “have children”, but what they tend to mean is that they want someone else to give birth to their child.

      Mothering is often a different set of tools than fathering.  This is the result of differences between men and women.  Women are more emotional.  As anyone who has done HRT will attest, this is NOT all in their heads.  It is biological.

      Men form strong attachments to their children, but not generally the same attachment as a mother does.  Maybe it is Brest feeding, or maybe it is just personality difference that result from gender roles or biological differences.  I don’t know.  I have seen fathers who were great at what is generally thought of as “mothering”.  And, I have seen mom’s that were very much in the traditional role of “father”, but we define the terms based on what is the norm, not the outliers.

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    • #110381

      There are good men.  I know some.

      What they are NOT is perfect.  Everyone is flawed.  But, imperfection doesn’t make someone a bad father.

      Everyone has their struggles.  Good fathers set an example for their kids as to how to lead, how to be ethical, how to be honest, how to be dependable, how to be fair.  Fathers protect kids from real dangers, but allow them to get hurt a little when the injury isn’t reasonably likely to result in serious injury.  It is important for kids to fall of a bike, and get back on.

      I know a dad named “John”.  He is a really good dad to three girls.  His wife, not a bad mom, but less attentive, less dutiful.  He is almost in the roll of mother, but he isn’t feminine.  He does the job like a man would, but he is their go to person (probably except female issues, they wouldn’t go to him for that).

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    • #109949
      DeeAnn Hopings

      In general, I think the best things  that we can give our children is a sense of honesty, good moral judgement and the knowledge of their value as a person. Further, of all the things that we do and that we pass on, it is truly hard to say exactly what will be useful to them as time goes on.

      My 1st wife taught our son to cook. While he is an amateur, he does have considerable skill and enjoys that in between other things that he does. He started out doing this as a matter of convenience, but eventually it turned into something for which he developed a passion.

      When my daughter learned to drive, I made sure that she learned to work with a manual transmission (to this day, I’ve never owned a car with an automatic). She spent one summer working with the maintenance crew at her university and being the only girl among 6-8 boys. When she told me that one day they had to haul platforms and chairs to the other side of the campus for an outdoor graduation, she realized that she was the only student who knew how to drive the big truck with the manual transmission. The joy in her words and the look on her face were priceless.

      The thought is that while we will never know how things will turn out until they do, that should in no way deter us from doing what we think is right. I believe that, by itself, it may be one definition of a gift…

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      • #109950


        There is a reason you are an ambassador!


        • #109951
          DeeAnn Hopings

          Thank You!

          What I say here is the result of 72 years, being in a lot of places, doing many things and screwing up at least my share, if not more. I’ve been fortunate to have done some really cool things, but I’ve also run headlong into a number of brick walls. If I can share what I’ve seen and what I know, perhaps the misfortunes may be just a bit less painful…

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #109910

      I’ve recently started writing in what I call a “Goddess Diary” outlining all my feelings and questions about it. Just last night I thought about passing it on to her later in life regardless of what happened. With that perspective I will never forget the love I have in my life against all the pain of gender questioning.

      Thank you for your answers!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #109953
        DeeAnn Hopings

        Many years ago someone lamented the fact that children don’t come with instruction booklets. That’s actually a good thing because as soon as it was published, it would be obsolete. Further, our kids are all different, so the booklet could never contain enough variations.

        So, where does that leave us?

        There will be many times when we get it wrong. We are human and that will happen. However, in spite of the uncertainty, we shouldn’t allow that to paralyze us into non-action. That would be even worse, because it looks like we don’t care and that is a deadly impression…

      • #109913

        Aoife, All men are not evil, I was a man once, I didn’t like me to much, but I am a good dad, I have 3 girls and 1 boy, how is a man now and a very caring one at that. You can raise a son to be a good and caring person who looks past gender and race, as a matter is is going to be a father very soon and he is going to be the home care giver the majority of the time.

        He has been by my side before and after my transitioning, and still is there for me always.

        So to answer your question a good father can exist, I tried my hardest to be a good dad but I made a lot of mistakes, but try to teach your children if you make a mistake try to fix or correct it if you can and try not to put labels on anyone. For me I present as a transwomen/women now, but I still will be my childerns father now and for ever.

        With much love and respect to all                                                                                                                                       timmie

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    • #109909


      Talk about hitting the nail on the head!!

      Michelle has it right: it is about being a good parent.  The concept of Mother and Father are slowly but surely falling by the wayside.  My mom was owned by my father; he received her title directly from her father!  Those were different times.  Now too many people get divorced shortly after marriage & 2 kids.  Woman are no longer owned, they are free to support themselves, make decisions themselves, and break out of the expected stereotypical behaviors and appearances.

      I don’t have any children; I wanted a couple, but my wife didn’t want any.  Early on I told her that I wanted to raise my children as Zen-Buddhist, because that is my life philosophy.  As a Z-B gender is not value of value.  The beauty and strength of an individual, the sensitivity and compassion they demonstrate, and the willingness to be both a student & a teacher are the values that need support.

      If your daughter is already attracted to boys; attempt to teach her to look past gender and try to see the others goodness.  There are good boys and good men out there.  In my experience they are few and far between, but even that is changing.  Today’s children often are raised much more contemplative and accepting, instead of being taught to fit the stereotypical male expectations.

      So, don’t worry about if you are a dad or a mom; be a good parent.  Your children will naturally discover what to call you, to you and to their friends.

      Love all around


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    • #109882
      Michelle Larsen

      Aoife, to me, it doesn’t matter whether you are considered ‘mom’ or ‘dad’. What matters is that you are a good parent. There are good parents out there, and there are not so good parents out there. If how well your children grow up concerns you, and makes you want to be better, then that to me rates you as a good parent. A good parent that wants your children to be brought up correctly, and be good productive members of society.

      Are men ‘trash’? Yes, some are, but not all. Are women ‘trash’? Yes, some are but not all. Being a bad person has no hold on one’s race, religion, sex, gender, politics, or any other label we want to us, or hat one wants to wear. So, we just trudge our way through life, trying each day to be a little bit better today than yesterday, and hope we are doing the right, best thing.

      So, keep up the good fight being the best you can be. I’m positive you will be rewarded with happy, healthy, well adjusted children in the end. Michelle

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