This process of taking on pregnancy as a butch lesbian has been full of so many emotions so far… I think its best if I start from the beginning.
For many of us coming out in the queer community means sacrifice, such as personal desire, family acceptance and community. This experience made me feel like I was choosing between my desire and value of family vs. personal identity.
When I came out and embraced my identity as a butch lesbian I found myself letting go of the idea that I could have a family of my own let alone bear a child. Over the years, this idea shifted, and I felt like my femme partner could have a baby and I could be the “dad,” but this idea never felt whole.
The desire for a biological connection was real and something that I felt was not accessible for me. Family is one of my most cherished values, I have always desired to have a big, loving, close family. One that is open, loving, playful and connected.
When I look in the mirror I don’t see myself resembling femininity. I am very comfortable–I would even say proud of my appearance and the way I present myself to the world. I am athletic, I have a short faded hair cut, I wear a mix of women’s and men’s clothing and present in a very androgynous and gender bending way. I have been stopped using the women’s restroom and been called “sir” more times than I can count. When it comes to my physiology I am woman, but my monthly cycle was nothing more than an annoyance.
Over the last couple of years I have worked to embrace my softer, more feminine side, as much as I have always embraced my competitive, athletic “masculine” side. As I have made space for both parts of myself to exist outside of societies views on gender I found myself revisiting my value and desire for family. This isn’t something that comes easily. Yes, I have a loving partner who has two children that I love very much, but I still found myself with the desire to have a child of my own biological make up.
As I started to look into ways I could make this happen it felt more like a costly science experiment than a loving act between two people that want to grow their family. With that said one thing that I have always valued about the queer community is our ability to be connected as “family” in many ways.
One thing that was very important to me is that if my partner and I were to have a child that it would have a community around it to support and love it.
After speaking to Marina, Jimmy and Moses I knew that the four of us, our friends and our families could create this village. This was exciting for me, but also left me asking my body to do something that I have in many ways disregarded its ability to do. I was faced with a crossroad between desire and identity.
When I started looking at fertility tracking and testing kits they were all very feminine. Marketed in pink and purple this made me question how I could bring a life into this world, the most basic of feminine function while being true to my butch lesbian identity. This part of my self I had disregarded for so long and now all my hopes and dreams were dependent on my ability to fulfill this most basic feminine primal skill, to bear a child.
I found myself looking over the lab tests and the results as if they would determine not only my physical ability to do this, but also my ability to embrace the role of motherhood without losing my butch self in the process. This whole process has felt a lot like I’m being graded on how good of a woman I’m capable of being. I often found myself questioning if I deserved this after denying this part of identity for so long. Along with this, I found my self wondering if my physical safety and the safety of my unborn child would be threatened by holding onto my butch lesbian appearance through pregnancy. Should I grow out my hair? What will I wear? Will I get stares like I am a side show at the circus?
This also brought up some religious injunction. Will this thing that I desire, and have very little control over, not be given to me because of my lifestyle? Was I not deemed worthy of a child or family because of my queer identity? Will God not grant me this desire because I’m homosexual? All the years spent in church being told that homosexuality is wrong have come rushing back.
All of us in this little queer family have been raised with religious backgrounds. We all believe in religious theory, doctrine or a higher power in some capacity, and desire to share with our child.
Jimmy is very active in his Methodist church, singing in the choir and serving on the board of trusties. We plan to have the child baptized in his church as we honor that importance to him as well as Marina and I see value in that exposure and knowledge for the child.
Yet intertwined with all this is a lot of pain that is experienced within the queer community and how it intersects with organized religion. I myself have been told my relationships aren’t equal to that of a man and woman in a marriage with Jesus.
Now I question, will God punish me for my lifestyle as a butch lesbian and not give me the gift of bearing a child? Will this child, who is surrounded by family and the love of a village, feel like an abomination in a religious community? Can we protect this child from the shame religion has made us all feel about ourselves while honoring that there is something bigger than self in the universe?