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Martin with his children Matthew and Sadie.

Being a father has outstretched my imagination. Growing up with an absent father, I have tried to be present as much as possible. Sometimes leaving the house with the kids and family in tow, the a pile of toys and books in the living room is completely acceptable. I work my grad school schedule around my children’s lives, pick ups, play dates, and dinner times. We eat as a family and have a no screen rule. This expectation is far afield of my upbringing. Where my brothers and I would crowd around the TV set and watch some inane thing while my single mother hoped that we would turn out normal.

Normal isn’t really a thing in our house, at least like my mother thought about normal, we like the extraordinary better. My daughter, when she was little, had a normal existence for a kid raised as queerspawn. Her family had a father (me) and a mother (Shelli), who met through their local synagogue, Sha’ar Zahav. Quite the contrary to her friends who had two fathers, or four co-parents, or even two moms and a donor father. This made her mad at times, that she couldn’t be normal like her friends, she wanted two dads, or two moms, or both. My son is like his sister was, growing up in the same place, just five years later, he sees the after effects of marriage equality. Now instead of the precariously hitched parents of friends having their 4th wedding, his friends are sitting proudly in wedding photos with their same-sex parents. Both their lives are blessed to be happening in today’s confluence of direct action and insider movement.

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Lindasusan and Emily with their niece Sadie next to their marriage equality dresses in BiConic.

I am currently a community curator at the GLBT History Museum. I curated the community gallery’s Biconic Flashpoints: 4 Decades of Bay Area Bisexual Politics, along with one of BiPOL’s founders Lani Ka’ahumanu, and bi activists Emily Drennen and Lindasusan Ulrich, with the assist of the fabulous bi ally Don Romesburg. One thing that struck me as a bi trans* man with a family, is the openness of the bi community to envelop people with children. Even four decades ago, it was not strange to know someone with a child in the bi community or see those children at events. All my fellow curators were parents, and good ones who brought their kids to pride with their literal and metaphorical bi-phobia shields working overtime.

I took my daughter to the opening of the three month exhibit, that closes at the end of August, and she was really awe struck that people still had to fight so hard for the right to be seen fully. It was one of the proudest moments of being a father, to really see my daughter. She has grown into a wonderful nine year old with great empathy for others. Her brother is the same, whenever his sister is in trouble, or is crying, he is right by her side, whether she wants him there or not, trying to comfort like only a 3 year old can. He has an infectious laugh and sings “Let it Go” like a pro, when the mood is right.

When I say that being a father has outstretched my imagination, I mean that it has been a meaningful ride that has held dips and turns that have been more, and much better than I could have imagined. In my youth if you would have told this little transling that I would be a father with two amazing children who make my life so complete, I probably would have laughed and run away at the thought. Now I couldn’t imagine a better life.

When I think of fathers day now, as opposed to being a fatherless child, I think about my son saying that when he grows up he wants to be a daddy superhero, and his mom asking him “Is daddy a superhero?”, to a resounding “Yes!” These are the moments that are the essence of my soul. My children are amazing, I am proud to be their father, and proud of the way that I got here to this time and place whether normal or extraordinary.