How One Amazing Dad Helped his Transgender Daughter
Scott Dukes, growing up as a teenager in California, always knew he wanted to be a dad. However, his life would present him with some interesting plot twists that made fatherhood difficult, to say the least. Today, Scott is celebrated as a hero by many, and for good reason. Here’s the story of how Scott Dukes forever changed his transgender daughter’s life.
Scott’s Own Revelation
Many gay people know they’re gay from a very young age, but this wasn’t the case for Scott Dukes. In fact, it wasn’t until he went to Hawaii to go to college that it started to dawn on him that he didn’t fit the typical “straight male” mold. He came out in 1997 and told his family in 1998. His family was supportive, and Scott’s life went on happily until 2012. Scott started feeling tired quite often, and after visiting his doctor several times, he finally got a diagnosis – he was HIV positive. Scott withdrew, refused to tell anyone of his diagnosis, and began to feel depressed. Fortunately, after taking time to assess his situation, things changed. He decided to become a father.
Understanding His Options
Fathering a child as an HIV-positive man is challenging, to say the least. Scott looked into several unique options, which included “sperm washing” and even adoption. Scott was limited based on his budget, and like many people in his situation, he decided to take a path that led him toward fostering. He became licensed for foster care and adoption, but he found choosing a child to foster and care for difficult. Someone from an agency asked him what he would do if his son said he wanted to go to the mall wearing high heels, and Scott answered truthfully, saying he’d be open to allowing his son to express himself. He learned that the question was related to a child.
Adopting a Transgender Child
On December 12, 2012, Scott Dukes became the only single gay dad to have a child placed in his car, and only the third in the history of the state of California. Though the child was assigned male at birth, this was not necessarily the case once Scott and his child, “Erica”, grew more comfortable with one another. Gender fluidity became apparent, and Scott supported his child’s transition. The child took the name Erica in 2014 and began the journey to becoming the woman she knew she was supposed to be.
Scott and Erica Today
Erica is adamant that she wants full gender reassignment surgery, but Scott says he’s making her wait. He wants her to fully understand the risks and repercussions before permanent surgery, but he does support her decision to use hormone therapy to reduce her masculinity. Scott says when she’s ready to make the decision about her surgery, he’ll support her “150,000 percent” in her decision. Erica, unlike some other transgender teens, has a lot of friends in school who say she’s “cool” and an inspiration for them to be themselves.
Scott’s goal is to help his daughter become the person she is supposed to be. This unlikely story certainly tugs on the heartstrings. It tells the story of a distraught gay man diagnosed with HIV who realized his dream of fatherhood, then went on to be a model father for others around the world.
Originally published on Gays With Kids. Written by Anthony Romeo.
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