Just like their kids, parents come in all sorts of unique shapes, sizes, and with their own amazingly diverse backgrounds. That’s why this video of a trans dad's day out with his infant son is so refreshing: It's real and beautiful, no frills necessary. For its new #dadstories campaign, BabyBjörn teamed up with Fatherly, a parenting site for men, to create the video, which features the dad using items from its limited-edition collection of baby carriers. Not only does the advertisement take a much-needed step toward normalizing transgender parenting, but it’s pretty cute, too and goes a long way in terms of neutralizing gender stereotypes.
The video follows S. Leigh Thompson-Shealy and his young son as they have what looks like day packed with fun: They take a selfie in front of a waterfall together, go on a little hike, and then dad does a little work while his little one relaxes in a bouncy seat next to him. It's a refreshing peek into what trans parents actually get up to on the daily.
Despite how happy the two look in the video and how normal their day appears to be, Thompson-Shealy is personally well aware of just how difficult trans parenting can be, as it's so often stigmatized by outsiders. "We’re often ignored or vilified, but transgender parents, like all parents, just want our families to be safe and healthy and treated with dignity and respect," Thompson-Shealy said in a press release. "All families are important, however they’re created or comprised."
"We want to be inclusive. We chose to work with a trans dad because his day-in-the-life is reflective of one of the many kinds of fathers out there," Co-Founder & Chief Content Officer of Fatherly Simon Isaacs said.
Thompson-Shealy's story is the latest installation of BabyBjörn's #dadstories campaign. The company previously showcased the struggle another dad and his wife had with in vitro fertilization; another featured a story about a father who felt that he couldn't comfort his son as well the child's mother could.
"It is not about the differences — it is about what we have in common that is important," Annika Sander Löfmark, head of public relations for BabyBjörn, said.
The campaign isn't the only recent win for trans parents: Trystan Reese, a trans dad, and his partner, Biff Chaplow, are reportedly expecting their first biological child together, according to The Independent. The couple, who are already parents to two adopted children, announced the exciting news earlier this month on the WNYC podcast Longest Shortest Time.
While they experienced some confused reactions about their situation at first, they say they've only been treated with respect since.
"There just hasn't been an ounce of transphobia from anyone I have come in contact with," Reese said during the podcast. "Every person wouldn't even bat an eye that there was a dude with a beard claiming to be pregnant who is here to get bloodwork done — and I have been trans long enough to know that doesn't come magically."
With refreshing efforts and landmark moments like these, openness and acceptance for all types of parents is inevitable. Trans parenting may still be stigmatized in many parts of the world, but change needs to start somewhere — and this feels like a great place to begin.