Meet Gabriel and his daughter Claudia
This is my friend, Gabriel. He is a transgender man who has weathered the storm of coming out to his parents, family and friends. He has not yet managed his transition to being physically the man he will become, however his feet on on the road for that journey, having found a gender therapist and a location for surgery and testosterone treatment.
Along the way however...
Gabe's journey took a terrifying, beautiful, amazing turn...he became pregnant.
I have watched him weather this storm for the past 9 months as his body shifted into pregnancy in ways that were profoundly at odds with his masculine gender, and as his relationship broke up, leaving him to face life as a single father. He has dealt with his local transgender culture questioning and denying his gender identity because of his pregnancy. He has dealt with personal issues from the past that have risen from the subconscious to haunt him. He has had to deal with health officials and staff, some who amazingly supported him, calling him daddy....and many who simply could not accept that he is male.
He has dealt with religious right wing comments and intrusive insensitivity in the name of religion.
And he has done so with grace, dignity and a courage I cannot even begin to imagine. Of course, he won't see it this way...certainly he was scared. He has been exhausted, tormented by his own body being at odds with him. He has been angry and tired...I am sure he has whined...I am sure he has screamed at the universe asking why.
Through it all though, he has never once wavered from his commitment to his daughter, to being the best father he could be to her, to weather the storm to bear her and bring her into this world, before he under went transition.
On June 27th he brought his baby daughter into this world, and her name is Claudia. It was a difficult time - physical difficulties arose, labor was induced, and a c-section was performed. A second round of hospitalization ensued as Gabe's blood pressure soared. Claudia is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen, and Gabriel's devotion to her is a beautiful tender thing to behold. Father and daughter are now home and safe and doing well.
Gabe and Claudia are fortunate beyond words that his family, and parents have rallied around their son, accepting his gender change though it wasn't easy for them at first, and supporting him and her emotionally and in all other ways. They too are heroes beyond telling!
Gabe will tell you he isn't a hero at all...that he has been scared and tired and less than perfect.
But he would be wrong.
A hero isn't someone who isn't scared, or tired or cranky...a hero is someone who is all of these gloriously human things and still rises to the challenge of being authentically who and what they are, and selflessly beyond that, loving and embracing life's challenges and dangers anyway.
Gabe and Claudia have a long road ahead of them, in a world that has trouble accepting that which is different. But I have faith in my friend Gabe as a friend, as a man, and as a father, that he will do the very best he can.
He plans to raise Claudia to know where she came from...and why. There will be no "Oh my God!" dark secret past for Claudia to stumble over as a teenager someday....she will know always, in age appropriate ways, that her daddy loved her enough to bear her in his own body under his heart for nine months. She will be raised free of prejudice and told always that nothing is impossible and that she is loved and accepted for who and what she is no matter what.
That is one blessed, fortunate child!
Gabriel, you are one of my heroes....and I write now about you to share with those who might read this blog so that they may know that things and times are changing slowly, that people like you exist, and that being transgender and overcoming these odds is possible!