Dominick Evans is a trans queer crip director/writer, consultant, Twitch streamer, and dad. They have a BFA in Film. Dominick’s work delves into inclusion in media, sex education for Disabled/LGBTQIA youth, marriage equality, institutional bias, and reproductive rights. In 2014, he founded #FilmDis, a Twitter chat about Disability in media.
Dominick has spoken around the world. He does video editing and works in Hollywood, consulting studios, to make the industry more inclusive. Dominick spends a lot of time streaming on Twitch – exploring accessibility and access. With their partner, Ashtyn, he releases an annual study into disability on television.
Recently, Dominick shared with us his experiences speaking with their autistic son about transitioning from female to male, celebrating his first Father’s Day, and what they want others to know about being a multiply disabled, trans dad.
What was it like to tell your son you were transitioning?
I started dating my girlfriend when her son was seven. By the time he was eight, his mom and I were in a serious relationship. We had moved in together, and it became clear that he wanted me to be more than just his mom’s partner. I always wanted children, so I was more than happy to commit to being his father. That’s the thing though. I knew that it was going to be a lifelong commitment and that I would have to change myself to be a better person – to be a better father for him. And that’s what I set out to do.
At the time I came out, I didn’t have the language to really talk about being non-binary. My son is autistic and really everything is very black-and-white to him. So, explaining my transition to him was going to have to be something I did very matter-of-factly, and that actually worked very well for our family.
My son was about eight when I came out to him. I just told him that I didn’t feel like a girl, and he said, “So you’re not my mom, you’re my dad?” And I said yes. Then he said awesome and asked me to go play Mario! That was pretty much it! Kids are very accepting of things because they have much more imagination than adults. I feel like as adults we kind of crushed our ideas of what the world could be, and instead, we focus on this very narrow view of how people should be. We are doing a huge disservice to not only our children but ourselves.
What has been your best Father’s Day so far?
On my first Father’s Day, after I came out, my son was very, very excited to buy me a present. When I opened it, it was matchbox cars! My dad, who had passed away a year or two before I got with my girlfriend, was a huge fan of cars and we had bonded over our love of classic cars when I was growing up. To share that with my son and pass that on was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. It was the most perfect, best first Father’s Day present, and I still have my car in the original packaging!
What do you want others to know about being a multiply disabled, trans dad?
The barriers my son and I face are not imposed by us. It’s the world that makes our lives difficult. We have a very happy, great family. When I started out, I had grown up in a very hostile environment. My family was all about yelling and I was mistreated a lot, particularly by my mother. I had to kind of work to really break those cycles of oppression. That was kind of on top of all the ableism we had to deal with, not only because I’m disabled but because my son is disabled.
Being a disabled dad with a disabled son, even if we don’t have the same disabilities, has been really helpful because I understand ableism in ways a lot of nondisabled parents don’t. Our life has been unconventional. Over the years I’ve done a lot of things that were more accessible to me. For example, I used to take him to do the shopping with me because he could help me put all the bags on my wheelchair and carry them home. Whereas my girlfriend would do things like helping with bathing and cooking his meals and physical things I couldn’t do.
We also homeschooled our son and I designed his curriculum. Being disabled and trans didn’t make the job difficult at all. I think at the end of the day it really enriched our life even more, and it also has made me more open to anything my son wants in life. All I want is for him to be happy, and if he is then I’ve succeeded as his dad!
Learn more about Dominick at DominickEvans.com.