Hi, I’m Sharlot and I am from San Antonio, Texas, originally.
I have a 3-year-old daughter. She was born three months before the start of the pandemic. And so I was still working from home and trying to navigate taking care of a newborn and balance just the stress of being isolated. When you have a child that’s born, you have the stress of oxytocin that you get, and so you form a bond with your daughter or your child, and it’s unreal. The amount of love and this connection that you have wanting to protect, wanting to nurture.
As time goes on, I eventually take my family leave and take on the role of primary parent. I was starting to kind of feel this bubbling dysphoria that was occurring. I’ve always had dysphoria my entire life, but I just didn’t know exactly what it was. A year and a half to two years into the pandemic, I started feeling like all these feelings that were coming up again. One of the moments that it hit me was when I was there with my ex, I think we were watching TV, and she asked me a question. It’s like, “Oh, where do you see yourself in the future with our daughter?” I kind of look at her and just go, “You know what? I’ll get back to you on that.” Honestly, I couldn’t imagine myself in the future with my daughter. It was this one big nebulous cloud.
I remember just taking our daughter, both of us going out to the park and playing in the playground, and I couldn’t really identify with any of the other dads there. Definitely couldn’t see myself as them. It got to a point where when I was on TikTok, the algorithm where it was clocking me, it was showing me trans content. I’m like, “Oh, okay. Well, this is weird.” And so I eventually decide to look for a therapist. I find one and I start therapy with them. They pretty much saved my life.
At that point, I didn’t know what was going on. I was desperate and questioning everything. Am I trans? Am I not trans? Am I something else? And months into therapy, I get to a point where I’m just like, “I’m trans. I’ve always been trans and I can’t deny it anymore because it’s literally killing me.” I can’t be a good parent to my daughter if I keep on hiding this and don’t do anything about it.
I can't be a good parent to my daughter if I keep on hiding this and don't do anything about it.
Eventually, I come out to my parents who are very supportive. I come out to my ex and we decide that it’s best to separate. I start socially transitioning, and I just start my life as myself. One of my concerns was like, “Okay, well what’s going to happen with my daughter?” She’s so young. She was at the point, maybe two and a half.
A month or two after I socially transition, I start my HRT, and as time goes on, I’m growing my hair out longer, I’m presenting more femme, HRT’s changing me. My daughter along the way is seeing this when she visits and we go out and have our days together. And eventually, I don’t know, when we got to a certain point where I think things started clicking for her.
The first instance was where she came over to visit me and I had just gotten a print, it’s a print of a mural done by this queer artist in San Antonio, and it’s of the Virgen de Guadalupe, the Virgin Guadalupe, as a trans woman. And when she came in, she looks at it because it was the first new thing that she’s seen in my apartment. She looks at it for a second and she points and goes, “Daddy.” And it took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting that. It was a moment where I was like, “Oh my gosh, it’s making sense for her.” She’s seeing me as I see myself.
I think the best moment, I guess, recently was when I was doing some voice training around the apartment and saying my name, “Hi, I’m Sharlot.” And she looks at me and goes, “No, Sharlot.” And even though she said “No,” that was the first time that she’s ever said my name, and hearing her say Sharlot was, I don’t know, it was extremely affirming. It might have been one of the most affirming things that’s happened since transitioning.
Now that I look back at the question that my ex had asked me about seeing myself in the future with my daughter. I can actually picture that. I can picture myself 20, 25 years from now with my daughter as an adult and see myself walking with her in the park or going to dinner. I now can make these memories with my daughter as myself, and I truly think that that’s a blessing. And I’m glad I’m able to be this person to my daughter, just be my true self with her.