A transgender man says his relationship with his two young sons has improved since identifying as male.
Adam Walker, 32, from Tennessee has been living openly as a transgender man since coming out in July, 2017 and is a father of two.
Adam admits it has been difficult for his eldest son James, ten, to understand because he remembers his mother, as opposed to Lincoln who was one when he started to transition and is now five.
The surgical technologist has had ‘top surgery’ which is a procedure to create a male-contoured chest, specifically, a double mastectomy with nipple grafts.
Adam said: ‘I remember telling James, then seven, that I was going to be a boy.
‘He said, “No you’re not. You don’t have a penis”.
‘I didn’t go into a lot of detail because of his age. Lincoln, then one, was way too young to understand.
‘It took over two years for both of the boys to call me “Dad,” I kept correcting them from November 2017 until February 2020.
‘Then suddenly Lincoln started saying “Daddy” and James copied – after a couple weeks of reinforcement, I was Daddy to him too..
‘I hated it when they called me “Mom”. It was so awkward because people used to stare.
‘I am a happier person now and in that respect it has improved my relationship with the boys.
‘Lincoln and I have a great relationship. I’m all he has really, so he’s attached to me big time.
‘I think me deciding to transition put a strain on my relationship with James, but I think he’d agree that he’d rather have a happy dad than a dead mom.
‘Living a lie is not worth living and I hope this teaches my boys that. I also reinforce that I will love them and be here for them no matter what they tell me.
‘I encourage both boys to be whoever they want to be.
‘I grew up so isolated and I want my boys to know different genders, sexuality, and most of all acceptance.
‘I am still a human being with feelings and I’m just trying to raise my boys right!’
Adam recalls despising everything ‘girly’ but adored being pregnant.
He grew up in a strict religious family and homosexuality was taught to be a sin – Adam felt ashamed of his desire to be a male but was unable to speak out.
He felt ‘gross’ as a female but says being in a lesbian relationship made him realise he is transgender.
He started wearing male clothing and boxers in 2016 which is when his journey truly began.
Adam adds: ‘I distinctly remember around the age of seven, I wanted to stand to pee so bad that I took a funnel and used that.
‘I hated dresses, long hair, and anything girly really.
‘I had the shirtless poster of Usher on my bedroom walls as a kid, but I idolised his body.
‘Despite having relationships with men before, I was never attracted to men, which is when I began to feel like something was wrong with me.
‘After splitting with my ex-husband, who is James’s father, and having a one night stand which led to a pregnancy. I came out as lesbian even though I had never been with a woman before.
‘I knew my attraction to women was true but I didn’t actually feel like a lesbian. I wanted a penis more than anything.
‘I had a whirlwind relationship with a woman for three months and it felt right.
‘She brought up the idea of me being a male and I didn’t immediately dismiss it, but said that I would never transition because of the boys.
‘She asked what my name would be and I just blurted out Adam.
‘A few months later in July 2017, I began taking testosterone.’
Adam has since lost friends and family members since coming out but insists he is happier.
He said: ‘I was forced to tell my colleagues as my voice was changing and I couldn’t say I was sick for much longer.
‘I live in a small conservative town so I was the first trans person they knew of.
‘It was hard for my co-workers, whom known me for six plus years, to start calling me Adam and use the he pronouns. I didn’t even answer to Adam for the longest time.
‘It has been a tough path but I wouldn’t change a thing. My family have disowned me, but I didn’t choose this life.
‘I have embraced it and come to the conclusion that God made me this way for a reason.
‘No trans person wakes up and thinks, “I would really like to inject myself every week with hormones and have surgery to have the outside match with what I see on the inside”.
‘I honestly love being able to take my shirt off outside and be comfortable. Yes I have scars, but I really don’t care.
‘I am a better role model to my children now that I am finally me.’