Trans activist Morgane Oger will become the first trans mom to speak on the panel at an annual Vancouver event celebrating leading moms on Friday, Sept 25.
Leading Moms, now in its fourth year, pays tribute to Vancouver mothers who are artists, professionals, activists, entrepreneurs and leaders making a difference in their communities. Oger will join three other mothers on the panel, as well as keynote speaker Mi-Jung Lee, described by organizers as “a CTV Vancouver reporter, anchor, mom and cancer survivor.”
Oger, a trans mom of two young children, is also chair of the Trans Alliance Society, a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of transgender and gender-variant people in BC.
“I feel crazy honoured, privileged and totally intimidated,” Oger tells Daily Xtra.
“You don’t know what to expect of people,” she says. “I’m kind of facing my fear, which is a fear of rejection, but I’m also very happy to be able to reach out to other moms in a community I feel that I belong to.”
Event producer Christine Pilkington says Leading Mom organizers “very much strive for diversity among the panel.” Including Oger in the event was a “very timely” fit, she says.
“Trans issues are such a big topic and it doesn’t just affect the LGBT community; it touches everyone,” Pilkington says.
While Oger says she is excited to take part in the discussion, she is also aware of a small social media backlash from a few people contesting her place in an event honouring mothers.
“The very strong negative reaction is from a small number of people,” she says.
“There are people who reject the idea of transgender. They think a male is a man and a female is a woman,” she says.
“I’ve given up trying to be accepted, but I do care about the mothers of my children’s peers,” she continues.
“What I’m trying to do is show my peers that they may actually have trans kids, statistically speaking. There is a strong chance many of the women will know someone who is trans or has a trans child and it’s important to normalize that.”
“As a mother I want to be more educated,” Pilkington says.
“I can kind of see the perspective that transgender women by default cannot be a woman and vice versa, but I don’t necessarily agree with the basis of that argument,” she says. “The comments were based on the idea that only a person who gives birth is a mother and that’s a load of crap.”
“There are many ways you can be a mom and there are many different kinds of moms and not all are cis-normative,” Oger says.
“It’s not enough to not be demonized,” she says. “It’s important to be seen.”