It’s a real honour to welcome Zoey Allen into The Reading Realm today to talk about the inspiration behind her new book My Momma Zo, which is co-authored by Kelly Allen and illustrated by Tara O’Brien!
When I was considering coming out as a transgender woman back in 2018/2019, I feared so many things due to what I had read. It seemed that most stories of partners coming out as trans led to the breakdowns in relationships, disconnection from friends, family and children, and a widespread shunning from society as a whole.
Now, although I have met my fair share of losses on my journey, one area I should not have worried about was my children.
It amazes me how closed minded society in general can sometimes be with anyone who is perceived as different. Differences cause judgement, judgement leads to hate, hate can then lead to all manner of discrimination and prejudice. However, children aren’t automatically judgemental, they don’t know prejudice and they don’t lead all interactions with hate. It would seem to me that these feelings and opinions are learned through different experiences in people’s lives. Influenced by media, other people’s opinions, and ways in which we are spoken to, our own insecurities play a huge part in how we welcome others around us.
Children are inherently inquisitive, they ask questions and can be intrigued by people and things different to their norm. In general though, they take things as they are. If they are told something is something, then they learn to accept it that way and move on. Children’s need from the world is happiness, joy and laughter. They learn along the way but if their key goal of joy is being met, then that is all that matters.
That’s what happened with my children when they were told I would be transitioning. All that mattered to them was that I was happy. That I was safe and would continue to love them, in whatever shape or form I may physically present. It was this moment that truly inspired the story of ‘My Momma Zo’.
As a family, we learned quickly that transgender people needed more representation in the world, not only for themselves, but also to offer support, inspiration, and simply someone else in the world that other trans folk could relate to. Kelly originally began the blog www.ourtransitionallife.com in the summer of 2019 to share our story and experiences, which I now run alone along with the social media platforms across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. We felt like our story could help other families who may be experiencing similar situations, or even those who just wanted to educate themselves on different versions of the typical family scenario, and what better way than through the eyes of our all accepting children.
The simplicity of a child’s perspective can really help bring these topics down to a more understandable level for all people, be they young children or parents and adults. With the fabulous illustrations from Tara O’Brien, I feel ‘My Momma Zo’ truly represents the feelings we as a family went through when I came out and shows how beautiful life can be if we all just try and see this world through the accepting eyes of a child.
Zoey Allen is a transgender singer songwriter who loves being creative. She also runs the blog and social channels for Our Transitional Life, an insight into the life of a transgender woman and her family, challenging the misconceptions of society.