'My Mommy Is a Boy'

For transgender parents, "the talk" involves more than just birds and bees.

ByABC News
February 19, 2009, 9:24 AM

March 28, 2008— -- Figuring out that he was transgender and making the decision to take hormones to transition his body from female to male was difficult for Jace Martinez. But figuring out how to tell his 5-year-old daughter, he says, was "really a challenge."

So Jace, 23, decided to write a picture book, simply titled "My Mommy Is a Boy."

Written from his daughter Amaya's perspective, the self-published book, intended for an audience of one, explains Jace's feelings and his decision to change his name, wear men's clothes and begin taking testosterone to change the appearance of his body.

"Mommy told me in her heart she always felt like a boy and being a girl always made her sad," he writes in the book. "Mommy likes to wear boy's [sic] clothes and cut her hair really short," reads the text under a magic-marker drawing of a short-haired Jace in a barber's chair. "Sometimes kids ask if she is my Daddy."

Jace lives in Oregon, the home state of Thomas Beatie, a female-to-male transgender man who wrote an article this week in the gay-rights magazine The Advocate explaining his decision to become pregnant. Beatie said he decided to become pregnant after his wife became sick and infertile. He previously had his breasts removed and was taking hormones, but had retained his uterus and female sex organs.

The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates there are some one to three million transgender people living in America. How many of them are parents, however, is unknown.

Explaining the birds and the bees is a challenge for any parent, but transgender individuals have the added difficulty of explaining not just the basics of human sexuality but the complexities as well.

Experts who counsel transgender parents say younger children, like Amaya, tend to adjust to the news of their parent's transition better than teenagers, and the best thing a parent can do is to be open and answer their child's questions.

"Amaya knows she was in my tummy. She is still pretty young and never asks about sex, but I know she will someday," Jace told ABC News.com. "The book says I was unhappy being a girl. She knows that I have girl parts, but I'm taking a shot and it's making me like her dad."