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Wait, Mom or Dad? Celebrating Father’s Day after a dad becomes a woman

Waneta Falcon, formerly known as Wayne, who grew up as a man and now identifies as a woman. (photos courtesy of Waneta Falcon)

If you went to the drug store to buy your dad a Father’s Day card, most of them depicted short haired men standing over barbecues, swinging golf clubs and pushing lawn mowers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Father’s Day card that depicts a dad wearing lipstick. Or a dad in a dress. But those dads are out there. Snoqualmie’s Waneta Falcon is one of them.

Waneta is a transgender dad to a son and a daughter, who went from Wayne David to Waneta Dyani.

Waneta says she never felt comfortable in a male body.

“I’ve known as long as I can remember. I would say since 5 years old. I know that I was different and I thought I was the only one in the world who was different.”

So Wayne got married to a woman, had two kids and secretly wore dresses and makeup around the house when no one was home.

“A transgender person could be an excellent spy because we are awesome at hiding things. I mean, I did it for years and years and years and nobody knew.”

Finally Weneta realized that the urges were uncontrollable, and when she was in her mid to late 40’s she succumbed.

“I was married for 18 years and I was caught dressed [like a woman]. If I wasn’t caught dressed I may have stayed in the closet forever. She worked at home and so on the weekends she did hair. I was up in the bedroom and she was on break, or something, and she busted through the locked doors and caught me. That was it.”

She ended up getting a divorce, but the rest of Waneta’s family has been really supportive. For the past 24 years Waneta has operated heavy machinery for the City of Seattle, maintaining the Cedar River Watershed. She came out to her parents the same way she did to her coworkers.

“I actually wrote a letter to my division at work about my transition. Emailed it to everyone just to let them know what was going on so it wouldn’t be a big surprise. So I invited my parents over for dinner and I just showed them the letter I had written. At first my mom was really shocked and upset. She calmed down eventually. But my dad was just sitting on the sofa and he was like, ‘Oh well, what’s the big deal?’ They didn’t run out of the house screaming. I just sat next to them and we hugged and I cried.”

Her kids were 12 and 16 at the time, and now Waneta and her son lead round table discussions on how to maintain family relationships when a family member comes out as transgender.

“My son, he was one of my best supporters. If someone were to talk bad about anyone, not just me, any transgender, he would let them know it’s no big deal.”

So now that bearded Wayne is smooth faced Waneta, is she a mom or a dad?

“To my son, I’m Waneta when we’re out in public. Of course, when we’re just around our family, just him and I, it’s Dad. I told both my children, ‘I’m still your dad. I’m not your mom. I’m your dad.’ My mom and my dad, as far as the pronouns go, they’ll say ‘he.’ I don’t try to correct anyone. People at work will use the wrong pronoun and I don’t try and correct them.”

Waneta celebrated Father’s Day with her family yesterday, but does she also celebrate on Mother’s Day?

“No, I would not celebrate Mother’s Day because they have a mother. I’m their dad,” Waneta laughs.

And six years after she came out, Waneta has also become more comfortable living life as a woman.

“In the beginning, of course, it was always wear a dress, and heels and hose and do the entire makeup and just be perfect. Now it’s just like, jeans, yeah, that’s good.”

Waneta encourages people to attend the Pacific Northwest’s Premier Transgender Convention held in Port Angeles every May.

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