I’ve been doing a little reading this morning (this and this) and thinking about gender roles. I’ve built a lot of my life around pushing against stereotypical gender roles. Lyn/Ezekiel and I blog about parenting in a two-mom family, and a huge subtext of our writing is about the impact of (gendered, heteronormative) expectations when one mom gives birth. I’ve done research on the gendered division of labor in parenting as part of my academic life. I think that when queers parent, we have the potential to blow heteronormativity in family roles out of the water, and I feel personally called to do that work, and to build a varied and subtle narratives for non-gestational parents of all genders, but particularly non-gestational mothers.
What happens to all of this if I am married to a man and that man is the father of my children? It is so awesome to be with Lyn/Ezekiel right now because I can feel in my heart that he is becoming more of who he really is. But I can’t simply drink the heteronormative kool-aid.
But I need to remember that I don’t have to drink anything. I don’t think that Lyn/Ezekiel wants a heteronormative household, although I can see that the pressures on trans folks can make doing a stereotypical gender very attractive. Even if Lyn/Ezekiel and I end up as a male/female couple, I reject the label of “heterosexual couple.” Even if I am insanely attracted to Ezekiel when he presents in a more masculine way, that doesn’t make me heterosexual. After all, “Heterosexuality requires a binary sex system, as it is predicated on the seemingly natural attraction between two types of bodies defined as opposites.” (Schilt & Westbrook p 443). Even if Lyn/Ezekiel starts to live as a man full time, he’ll be a man who can remember being a gender-variant girl, a man who came out as a lesbian, a man who got married to me in a stunning pink dress hand-sewn by his mom, a man who got pregnant and gave birth. And no matter what, I’ll still be a woman who can remember when a lightbulb went off for me that I could be with women, that I could become a sexual being, that I was meant to feel something in relationships. I’ll still remember the first time I held hands with a woman in public and how awesome it felt to be queering the whole worth through an act as natural as loving someone. I’ll still remember how Lyn/Ezekiel took my breath away the day we got married because he was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
I just don’t think I need to be so afraid of becoming straight. There certainly are landmines up ahead, but I’m queer as a $3 bill and I always will be. I’m not the problem, Lyn/Ezekiel isn’t the problem, and our kids aren’t the problem. The problem is the oppressive character of heteronormativity, and that’s a monster I’m used to fighting. I think that the fight is going to change for me and for my family, but I know all of us pretty darned well, and I don’t really see any of us giving up that fight.