Nonbinary Parenthood: Making It Your Own
Parent’s Day happening Sunday, July, 25, is a day to celebrate parents of any gender and the children they raise. We interviewed a parent from Howard Brown Health’s Trans & Nonbinary Pregnancy and Conception Peer Support Group about parenthood, gendered spaces and more. We talked to Nate (they/them) about what nonbinary parenthood means to them.
What is it like being a parent, where it seems as if everything family-related is gendered?
Parenting isn’t inherently gendered. Becoming a parent through adoption, pregnancy, fostering and any other way is complicated, messy, relational, and intimate. I wish there was just more space for everyone to do any of it, or not, with as little pressure to navigate it in a particular way based on their identity or cultural norms. For me, I think I navigate other people’s gendered assumptions by exposing myself to as few of them as possible and by trying to be around people who make space for m. My partner is also nonbinary, and when I met them they were already a parent. It helps me to remind myself how good it would be for everyone if life experiences weren’t put into gendered boxes, and if we made more space wherever we can for other people.
What is the Trans and Nonbinary Pregnancy and Conception Parent Peer Support Group about, and who is it for?
It’s a space for people who identify as trans and/or nonbinary (or who are of trans experience) who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant, or who has a partner who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Groups and spaces about pregnancy and conception (in person and online) can be really gendered and stressful. We wanted there to be a space for trans and nonbinary people who are going through that process to support each other. There are a lot of situations where it can help to have someone else hear what you’re going through and understand what you’re talking about.
What interested you in the Trans and Nonbinary Pregnancy and Conception Parent Peer Support Group?
I looked for a group like this one when I was pregnant and couldn’t find one. I found some sweet Facebook groups, but I thought it would have been nice to talk to some other trans/nonbinary people who were pregnant. I think it’s important for us to share what we learn with each other and help one another advocate for good care.
What does Parent’s Day mean to you?
My baby is only a year old. I don’t really feel quite like a parent yet – it still feels sort of made up. I think it will be nice when Parent’s Day is more widely known, though, and people can choose to celebrate it and still have a day like that even if they don’t identify as a mom or a dad. Since I’m not a mom or a dad, there’s this weird way that people just don’t wish me happy anything. It always feels weird when there’s a thing that everyone else has and because the thing is binary, I just sort of get left out.
What advice would you give to any trans/nonbinary people who are pregnant, whose partners are pregnant, or who are trying to become pregnant?
Especially for people who are pregnant: find the best providers you can, find the people who will help you feel safest and most comfortable. That will look different for different people. You deserve respectful care. And if you can’t get care that’s as respectful as you deserve, find people who will understand how frustrating that is so you’re not alone in it.
For everyone: give yourself permission to want what you want and feel how you feel about it. Just because there are particular, common narratives about how pregnancy and/or parenting doesn’t mean you have to fit into them or want the same things. Feel free to make them your own.
The Trans & Nonbinary Pregnancy and Conception Peer Support Group meets the fourth Thursday of the month. Share space with other trans and nonbinary folks who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or parenting. Next month’s support group will be August 26, 2021.
The Virtual Queer & Trans Parent Meetup also happens every fourth Sunday of the month online for other queer and trans parents to share resources and support.
Email AIprogram@howardbrown.org to register or learn more about our parenting support groups, alternative insemination program, OB/GYN services, and more.