scorecardNational Sons Day is a time to celebrate the boys in your life. As a mom to a 9-year-old nonbinary child, I often feel unseen on this day.
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National Sons Day is a time to celebrate the boys in your life. As a mom to a 9-year-old nonbinary child, I often feel unseen on this day.

Alexis Barad-Cutler   

National Sons Day is a time to celebrate the boys in your life. As a mom to a 9-year-old nonbinary child, I often feel unseen on this day.
LifeScience2 min read
  • I used to be jealous of moms with daughters when National Daughters Day came around.
  • After my child came out as nonbinary, I started feeling unseen on National Sons Day, too.

I confess: When I was a newish mom, I gleefully posted pictures of my two kids together and wrote #boymom in the caption followed by two blue-heart emojis. I loved doing exactly that on National Sons Day. Both of my children were assigned male at birth, so it felt right.

When National Daughters Day would come around on September 25, I'd scroll through my feed and feel a twinge of jealousy over my friends who had daughters and their photos of girly manicure dates.

It became even more complicated when my youngest child came out as nonbinary.

As a mom to boys, I used to feel left out during National Daughters Day

I know that the social-media fanfare is less about celebrating one's kid and more about a performance. But still, captions that declare, "I gave birth to my best friend," grated on me more than I would like to admit.

I was pretty certain I was done having children and a little wistful about not getting to experience having a daughter. Of course, I was grateful for my kids, but there was something finite and sad about knowing I would never know what having a "mini-me" was like.

Things changed when my younger child came out as nonbinary

When our younger child turned 6, they came out as nonbinary.

"I'm not a boy or a girl," they declared one day over pizza. "I'm both."

I know that many parents may go into a tailspin about their child identifying outside the binary of male and female, but for me, it felt like a gift. Maybe I wouldn't be missing out on having a "girl," after all — I sometimes thought.

But I felt even more left out when these national holidays came. Where did we fit in? Was I supposed to celebrate both days? Neither?

As a mom to a gender-nonconforming kiddo, I'm constantly reminding folks that gender is a spectrum and that the idea of what makes a "boy" or a "girl" is a learned societal construct.

When a restaurant server asks what my "little man" would like, when a teacher consistently doesn't remember my child's pronouns, or when someone assumes they are a girl because of what they're wearing that day, it makes both my kid and I want to pull our long hair out. It is beyond frustrating for my child — who is now 9 — to constantly be misgendered. Every day can feel like a struggle.

For queer kids and their parents, community is everything. And in the absence of an IRL community, it helps to go online and connect with others who are like us. Social media is sometimes the only way for us to find that community.

In the past, National Daughters Day made me feel FOMO. Now holidays like National Sons Day make me feel unseen. If my kid was on social media too, I can't imagine what they'd feel seeing the gendered posts. They already operate in a world that often doesn't seem to understand them.

I don't know what the solution is, but there's room for all our children

I don't think eliminating chances for parents to celebrate their children is necessarily the answer. I don't want to take away parents' opportunity to celebrate their sons and daughters.

But I think if people widely celebrated days for nonbinary and trans kids, my child would feel seen and appreciated.

Until that happens, it helps to remember that even though they seem ubiquitous, these gendered holidays are not for everyone.




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