I no longer celebrate Father's Day with my dad. Not because he isn't in my life. But because my father is now a woman.
I first learned about my dad's gender identity 19 years ago. He pulled my husband and me aside and said, "There's a woman inside of me, and I cross-dress to let her out."
After assuring him that we loved him no matter what, I sheepishly asked, "Do you have any pictures?"
My father happily obliged because he knew exactly what I was saying. That I was okay. That he was okay... I guess I mean that she was okay. Her name is now Esmarelda, and we really are doing fine. But it was not without some initial conflict in my heart.
While I immediately accepted her identity, I had to deal with my own feelings of loss. I worked with a counselor to understand that grief and acceptance can exist in the same space. So while I mourned the loss of my father - the loss of my kids' grandfather - I was still able to embrace her new beginning.