Book Talk: A parenting journey as father-turned-mother

Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:15am EDT
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By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Author Jennifer Finney Boylan says there is more to being a mother than giving birth and in her newest book, "Stuck in the Middle with You," she chronicles her transgender journey from being a father to a mother.

For much of her life as a parent of two boys she said she was "some parental version of the schnoodle or the cockapoo," referring to the dogs produced by mixing two breeds.

In the book, Boylan, 55, describes the impact of her transition, which began about 11 years ago, on her now-teenage sons, Zach and Sean, and her wife of 25 years, Deirdre.

Boylan, who has written 12 other books, spoke with Reuters about her latest work, gender and parenting.

Q: What inspired you to write a memoir on parenting now?

A: "I wanted to talk about trans experience to kind of normalize it a little bit ... A trans person tends to get into the news when there's trouble, when there's been a murder or violence, someone has lost their job. And those are important stories to cover, obviously ... But somebody needs to tell the stories of mothers and fathers and children ... when the stories are about families doing well.

Q: How has your family reacted to being portrayed by name?

A: It was their idea ... I was a little afraid. That was the other reason I was a little reticent about writing about motherhood and fatherhood. It seems like writing about your children is another form of child abuse it seems to me, so I asked them about it.   Continued...

Writer Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of the book "Stuck in the Middle with You," sits with her spouse Deidre and their sons Zach and Sean (L-R) outside their lake house in Maine in 2012, in this photo courtesy of the Boylan family. REUTERS/Boylan family/Handout via Reuters