Listing children of transgender person

+14 votes
I'm really frustrated that there's no way to correctly list myself and my children. I was assigned female gender at birth and have two biological adult children. I transitioned to male many years ago and do not appear female or identify myself to others as female.

So far, I have left my gender blank (green) as a compromise on my own profile (Power-2888), but as soon as I tried to connect to my kids' listings, it won't let me do so without choosing a gender. If I choose female, I can add my kids, but anyone who finds my profile now will assume I'm a woman AND I can't connect to existing listings other people have created for me where I'm listed as male in their trees (such as Power-2087). If I choose male, I can be correctly represented and presumably connect with listings for myself where I'm listed as male, but I can't include my children.

One of my kids (Melrose- 257) ran into the flip side of this problem when trying to create a listing for me; he got an error saying that you can't list someone who is male as your mother.

As a communications tech specialist, I *know* there are better ways to do this than the way WikiTree is doing it. Ask if someone is a biological or adoptive mother/father/parent or as a separate question, rather than assuming it based on the gender of the person, for example. Making all the parental relationships into "parent" is another way to do it --- the individual parents would still have the gender they selected on the form, they just wouldn't be stuck with the presumed mother/father options.

This isn't to say that anyone needs to condone/agree/bless families that don't match the strict mother-father-biological children model, if that's not their choice. Just give us a way to correctly indicate the actual format of our own families in our family trees!

I'm looking for any solutions to this problem that allow me to list my children AND correctly identify myself as male.
WikiTree profile: Ty Power
in WikiTree Tech by Ty Power G2G Crew (550 points)
recategorized by Ellen Smith
I don't have a solution, but I do think there should be one. Politics and religious views are irrelevant. This is an important issue. It is not only critical to transgender people, but to the whole glbtq spectrum, polyamorous people, and intersexed people. We are no longer in a binary society and Wikitree as a progressive genealogy model should be at the forefront at coming up with a good quality solution for other genealogy programs to emulate.
Thank you! I appreciate the words of support!
I support this request 100%.  I hope the developers fix the setting to allow at least living people to choose a parent without choosing a gender for that parent.

You might want to add more tags to your question that they are more likely to monitor, such as improvements, sysops, bugs, and leaders.

4 Answers

+7 votes

Your request is difficult to address because of the political issues that develop with misstating a position. So let me start by commending you for putting this out there. I have friends who have made this same transition and had children prior to the transition and still experience difficulties in getting accepted in the transitioned role. In their case, the children would argue against them being added as the post transitioned gender.

I think you have to look at this from the timeline from which events happened.  You were a female when the birth of your children occurred. Your contribution to the genetics of your children is from the female side. I think you have to list yourself as female from a genetics standpoint and then acknowledge your transition in the Biography to male from a timeline standpoint.  With regards to the Wikitree program, it seems to me that you can list your transitioned name as a non-biological father. That way you have both the before and after listed. But saying this, I’ve never done both biological and non-biological on the same profile. So I will hope that it works.

In thinking about this more, it may make more sense to create two different profiles but it seems that goes against what Wikitree is trying to do.
by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
Hi! Thanks for this response. The thing is there's no reason why gender needs to be tied to the relationship as a biological parent. I am genetically my children's mother, but that doesn't mean my gender is female. If called upon to prove my identity, I could not provide documentation that I am female.

Adding information about my transition in the profile is a workaround but it doesn't solve my problem. It also means that transgender people have to provide deeply personal information in a way that is fairly public, or choose not to participate at all. For me, that is less of a concern, but for many people it would put their livelihoods and possibly their safety at risk.

The issue of children not wanting it known that their parents are transgender is really not an issue we should be concerned about if we're trying to be accurate in our genealogy. Many of us would prefer that our parents and ancestors weren't what they were: criminals, slave-owners, conceiving children through extra-marital affairs, etc. That doesn't make those uncomfortable truths any less true.
Ty, you're correct that Gurney's suggestion is a workaround rather than a more desirable real solution.  It would be very nice, indeed, if we could realistically look forward to identifying a problem, figuring out the best solution, and then implementing it, but the unfortunate reality (of what those of us who have been here for a while realize) is that it is pure fantasy to expect that sort of result with any modicum of promptness.

The reasons are many - it takes time to figure out the optimal solution because this sort of thing becomes a community effort.  WikiTree seeks input (here in G2G) from all interested members as to whether a problem needs to be addressed, and then how best to solve it.  Then there is the software development piece.  There are only 1 or 2 staff members who can do this and they are very overloaded with all the needs of this site, which has rapidly grown from startup to a major player on the international scene.

I'd just like to address one more thing you said - about having to provide deeply personal information in a way that is public in order to participate at all.  That's not necessarily so.  While you will be providing personal information to whatever extent you (and only you) choose, you also have the choice of privacy level for that information.  If your profile has red privacy (click the Privacy tab on your profile to see the available levels and their definitions) then only people on your trusted list will see your gender, for example.

PS  I am glad to see you here - I think it's the greatest thing when someone who has good reason to be reticent to expose something about themselves summons the courage to overcome that and simply be just like everyone else - we all have things about us that, in combination, make us unique - but, regardless of what those differences are, we are all human beings with equal stature wherever we choose to go.
Truth. Ty is a living person and so (hopefully) are the children. Their details needn't be public and the children that are NOT WT members will have Unlisted privacy.
+3 votes
It seems to me this issue would be solved if Wikitree would allow a man to be listed as a mother (so mtDNA will propagate correctly).
+3 votes
I agree completely, WikiTree should welcome the participation of all families, and should open up any back-end coding rules preventing us from accurately describing our relationships.
by E. Compton G2G6 Pilot (133k points)
+3 votes
The need for additional gender options in WikiTree is a topic that has arisen a number of times in the past. Scroll down to see links to some of the related discussions in this forum.

I tested to confirm Ty's report on what happens if we attempt to give a person a genderless parent. (I think this used to be possible.) I removed the gender from a profile for a person who was identified as a father for another profile. That went smoothly -- he ended up genderless, and the profile identified him as his daughter's "parent." Then I connected him as "father" for the existing profile of another child, and I got an orange error message that pointed out his lack of gender and asked me to verify, but I could (and did) override the message with the "Save Anyway" button. However, it seems that I didn't really bypass the error-checking protocol -- when I opened the profile from which I had removed the gender, the person was male again and was identified as his children's father. So apparently there is now an automated system that forcefully overrides edits that connect a genderless profile as a father or mother. I believe this was introduced as an error-correcting protocol, but it clearly is a source of serious frustration for someone in Ty's position. My experience does suggest that it may be possible to remove a person's gender from their profile after connecting their children. (But I haven't finished testing.)
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
And after you successfully remove the person's gender after attaching the children, I wonder what will happen when you subsequently try to give the person the opposite gender.

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