Hi! Your friendly, neighborhood Transwoman here! My name is Allanah Raas-Bergquist, and I am the Operations Coordinator at PEPS. I use she/her pronouns and am Dad/Dadda/Daddy to my 5-year-old daughter Svea (her pronouns vacillate between she/they/fancylady/poopadoop).
March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), which for me is the most important of the few trans* holidays that are on the calendar. It’s a day meant to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate living members of my community. I feel a specific call to be as visible as possible this year on TDoV, because I’ve really started to see how this part of my identity both affects and empowers my 5-year-old fancylady.
This desire for visibility is not a new thing for parents. When our little ones arrive, we are very quickly made to understand that our new primary objective is to care for this creature who has no instruction manual. It can become so easy to disappear within the new parent fog, so easy to erase any prior identity, that sometimes setting a cell-phone alarm is the only way to remember to practice self-care.
In October 2015, an alarm went off for me, better described as a 5-alarm fire for our family. I had been living up to that point as an identity that I knew didn’t match who I was. The real spark was watching myself through my kid’s perspective. I was always angry, and I did not take care of myself and my parenting suffered for it, but I could still see that Svea loved me and wanted me around.
At the time I thought about it within the idea that when you become a parent, it’s the first time that your potential and how you activate your potential directly affects someone else’s quality of life. I saw that if I continued to live my life as an angry man, it would wither away my soul and eventually put the burden of my secret onto my kid. She would never know why Dadda was so angry all the time.
Almost four years on, I can see her incredible mind in development, and I think my transition helped her create a truly awesome commitment to fighting for people in her life. She often introduces herself with this back-page-of-a-book bio, “Hi, my name is Svea. I’m 5! My Dada is a girl. For a long time, most people thought she was a boy, but they were wrong. What’s your name?”
So, taking that page from the book she’s writing about her life, and trying some of that introduction on for size “Hi, my name is Ally, I’m 37. Most people thought I was a boy when I was growing up, but they were wrong. I’m Svea’s Dad and I use she/her pronouns. I knew I was who I am when I was my daughter’s age, but didn’t have the words for it then and now I do! I am a Transwoman.”
About the Author
Allanah Raas-Bergquist has been with PEPS for just over two years on the Operations team. For the better part of a decade, she ran a theatre company (Ghost Light Theatricals, RIP) with her partner, Beth and since its closure, she is transferring her energies from doing that work, to trying to build a community of trans* families in Seattle. She has a deep love for basketball (Go Indiana Pacers!), the Seahawks, cooking, and teaching Svea how to make podcasts.
Feel free to reach out on her Instagram @allanahraasbergquist or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to learn more? Here’s a list of resources to listen and watch…
- A podcast on parenting a trans* child
- A YouTube channel featuring host, Samantha, who is sharing stories on being trans* in today’s world. Some viewer favorites include The Spouses’ Take, Parenting While Transgender, Transition in the Workplace, and Transition and Religion.
- A YouTube channel, ContraPoints
- Legal information and some Frequently Asked Questions
- A local organization that organizes Trans Pride Seattle, Gender Justice League
- A local organization that offers support groups, Ingersoll Gender Center
- Resources for people with transgender family members
- Resources for transgender people
- A webzine, Them, and one of their top stories
- A short film, The Real Thing