BOI's Can Have Babies Too
The thought of having a child never really cross my mind until I was 25 years old. I started dreaming about a cute little boy that I was traveling different parts of the world with in matching bow ties. I remember a very vivid dream. We were at a shoe store and this woman (who I assume is my current partner) asked me to help put his shoes on. Before this dream the thought of a child in my life was 50/50.
I thought if I had a child, I would not be carrying it. The lack of desire to carry a child had a lot to do with horrible stereotypes I was taught and internalized in my younger queer days. In college I dated a woman who thought anything I did that was “feminine” took away from my masculinity. I can’t believe I let someone I dated be so impressionable on me, but I was under 21 so I’ll give myself a pass!
She also shamed me about wearing bathing suits or anything that was too “femme”. This relationship ended and I thank God daily for removing me from toxicity. In this day and age with social media and the thriving world of Internet content, it is so easy to find people who look like you and are challenging gender norms. I love watching the pregnancy journey of QTPOC (queer and trans people of color) couples.
I am now 31 years old and social media provides the platform for me to see the life of other masculine of center parents that I admire. Like the journey of Amari Jayce in Orlando, Florida known on Instagram as @theofficial_amarijayce. He is a transgender man of color that had two children biologically before his medical transition. He’s all about fatherhood, being a public speaker of the trans experience and posting pictures of his children. As a man who has carried a child he is open about his experience and even describes himself in his profile as “Transgender, single dad to 3…(2 biologically). “
Another transmasculine person I admire is my friend and fraternity brother Domonique Williams. He’s a desk support agent and pastor in Atlanta, GA. Domonique has one biological son that looks just like him. I admire the way he is able to co-parent with his current partner and his son’s father. Domonique explained to me his son would always call him mommy even though he has transitioned.
Recently, I was hanging out with one of my lesbian friends from high school. She was expressing her excitement for my relationship and the love I found in life. She asked me when we were going to start a family and I gave her a date. She then asked me how my partner came up with an age that she wanted to have a child. I had to break the news to her that my partner wouldn’t be carrying our first child, I would. Her face scrunched up. She responded “Wait, what? I’m confused. I thought you were the masculine one." I gave her a confused look and affirmed that I hope to birth a child one day; I even told her the name we picked out. After her surprise wore off she apologized and told me "she shouldn’t be telling what to do with my body."
While I know that every time I tell a new person I want a child I may experience discomfort from the stereotypes associated with being masculine of center, I plan to be visible and transparent about my intention to birth life. I personally can’t wait to carry my child, give birth and meet them. I am an only child and my mother passed when I was 21 years old. My child will be a gift to my wife, myself and my parents. I know this experience will be meaningful and rewarding. Below is a short poem to my future child:
To my unborn child by Evolve Benton
my body been a temple
my body been soul of one
you will be my only tenant
you will be left here when
my body lay in grown or tomb
when my memories dance
the web of queer museums
son/daughter/ my baby
you be magic because I be
making magic out of words
making magic out of birth