Ahead of Father's Day, we're hearing voices of dads from different backgrounds
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
We reached Kayden Coleman just before nap time.
KAYDEN COLEMAN: OK, go get a Popsicle. Go ahead and take it. You have your iPad. You have your TV. You have all your lovely toys, all your books. Here you go.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Thanks.
COLEMAN: You're welcome.
FADEL: Coleman is one of the dads we're hearing from this week in honor of Father's Day. He has two daughters. Jurnee is going on 3...
COLEMAN: But she is basically going on 30.
FADEL: ...And Azaelia is 9.
COLEMAN: The biggest thing for me with my kids was always to make sure that they were built for tough because of the world that we live in.
FADEL: Coleman is transgender, and he educates people on social media about his experience, especially with pregnancy.
COLEMAN: Especially for someone like me who is also Black, also low-income, things of that nature. Especially 10 years ago, people weren't interested in learning about transmasculine people navigating pregnancy. So I had to do a lot of advocating for myself, and I experienced a lot of pushback and discrimination within the medical system based off of preconceived ideas of what a pregnant person is supposed to look like.
Fast forward six years, with my second child, I thought that it would be different and it really wasn't. I still had to deal with people telling me that I didn't belong in certain spaces. I had to convince a lot of people that I was pregnant and that I wasn't just some strange man trying to infiltrate the OB-GYN's office. I got offered abortions an astronomical amount of times.
One of the biggest things that people get wrong is that we hate our bodies and thusly anything feminine remotely is something that we will reject. And that's included, but not limited to, pregnancy. Those of us who identify more on the masculine spectrum, just because we identify as such does not take away our desire to have kids. And if we have the body parts to do so, why not? And the other thing is that...
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Daddy.
COLEMAN: ...A lot of people think that because we gave birth, that we suddenly become mothers. And so people are always shocked when they hear my child calling me daddy, my children calling me daddy. And they're worried that our kids are going to be confused in some way, shape or form. And that's just simply not true.
Being a trans dad means I was assigned female at birth, and I was essentially raised to adhere to societal standards of what a girl is supposed to be, how a girl is supposed to act. I think that because of that upbringing for myself, I got to get the insight into how women are perceived by society. I also just have certain experiences. Like, I know how to do hair. I know - you know, I'll know how to navigate when the menstrual cycles start and the bodies start changing.
I know how to prepare them for what society is going to be expecting of them and teach them that they have autonomy over themselves. I'm just here to provide a safe space for them to grow and flourish into amazing adults who know what healthy, genuine love feels like and acceptance so that they know to be able to project that out into the world and hopefully be some sort of shining light to others. I feel like, as a dad, my job is to be an example of that for them.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
FADEL: That was Kayden Coleman. He's a transgender dad who gave birth to his two daughters, Jurnee and Azaelia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.