A Parent By Any Other Name: What Kids Call Their LGBTQ Parents

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One of the most frequent questions I've heard from prospective LGBTQ parents is "What should our kids call us?" I therefore began the Mombian LGBTQ Parental Names Project in 2011 to collect examples of our parental names. Here are just a few of the names—and the stories behind them—that more than 400 people have now anonymously shared.

There are, unsurprisingly, lots of "Mom," "Mommy," "Mama," "Dad," "Daddy," and "Papa," occasionally with a first name or initial added.

Sometimes names can change, as in this family:

"We started parenting first as foster parents.... In the last ten years we've had 16 kids come and go through our home and four stay forever. Sometimes I am just Mama and sometimes Meggie and sometimes both and increasingly "MOM" as our adopted kids get older."

Sometimes the kids chose the names, accidentally or on purpose:

"Our son chose to call me mommo at about 18 months old.... I called him baby-o and buddy-o, so I think that's why I became mom-o. Our daughter just called us what my son already did."

"When I would come home from work, my wife would announce 'Mama Tara Is Home' and when our daughter was learning to talk, she shortened it to Mataya, and it is my favorite word in the world."

"[I go by] Mr. Mom. I'm femme nonbinary, and didn't realize it or come out until my kids were teens. They adapted quickly, have been super supportive, and made up my new name."

"Our kid's other bio-parent and my sweet wife transitioned and our kid started calling her Momz pretty early on after she came out.... She was always the more maternal of the two of us from the start. We really let the kid decide what honorifics they wanted to bestow on us."

"[I am a] non-binary gestational parent.... My kids were 3 and 7 when I started transitioning, so I wanted them to have a say in the term.... I finally heard someone else say they use 'Otter' as a pun off of 'other parent.' I thought it was cute and it won over my 7-year-old (who was the holdout on many other options) because she loves puns."

Many parents drew on their heritage, with names including "Nimama" (Cree/Michif for "my mother"), "Maman," (French for "Mother"), "Pabbi" (Icelandic for "Daddy"), "Papou" (French, short for "Papounet," a nickname for "dad"), "Mutti" (German for "Mom"), "Papa" (German for "Father"), "Ima" (and "Eema" and "Eemah"; Hebrew for "Mother"), "Anya" (Hungarian for "Mother"), and "Papá" (Spanish for ""Dad).

Nonbinary parents also tapped into their heritage:

"I am Mapa due to combining the French maman and papa to represent my non-binary identity."

"I came out as non-binary when my kids were hitting their tween years, so they asked to rename me.... We chose the word "tuiste" ... it is Gaelic for parent."

"I'm a trans non-binary single adopter from Wales. 'Mamtad' is a combination of the Welsh words for mother and father."

"[I am a] transmasc nonbinary parent. [I use] Mado, shortened from 'amado,' meaning 'beloved' in Portuguese."

Nonbinary parents created parental names in other ways, too:

"I'm non-binary.... I finally settled on Pompom, a combination of Papa and Mom... My girls were 7 & 9 when I asked them to make the switch. They were a little slow to adopt, but they call me it more and more. Definitely euphoria."

"I didn't want to be called Mommy or Daddy, so we came up with a creative solution: Nomie. A mixture of nonbinary and mommy!"

"I ... ended up going with fommy because it was a mix of mommy and father which I am both."

"Everyone I know calls me Tigger, an old camp counselor name that stuck. So the kids were introduced to me as Tigger. I'm nonbinary and masc presenting so 'mom' or any derivatives didn't feel right. I don't identify as male so 'dad' felt wrong. The kids call me Tigger, but I'm 'their Tigger' so it's more like a parent term then just my name."

"I'm a nonbinary person who uses they/them pronouns and dabbles in both masc and fem presentation.... After I gave birth I got worried as none of the titles for nonbinary parents felt right. Eventually I went with my gut and now I'm Dad ... and my Latino partner is Papá."

"I love ze/hir/hirs pronouns, but mostly use they/them since they're more familiar, so I felt like Zaze (pronounced Zazee) was perfect when I was considering gender-neutral parent names."

"[I am a] genderqueer, masc, non-bio parent. My wife breastfed and I gave bottles. The title of "bottle mom" slowly turned into "Baba Mama" and then eventually Baba.... Now all my daughter's friends and teachers call me Baba. It is like I'm everyone's Baba, and I love it!"

One person also noted how a parental name may provide important affirmation of identity in the world at large:

"My parent name ('Aba') means 'dad' in Hebrew.... Especially since I'm still read as female most of the time, having a more masculine-coded parent title helps be a counterpoint to the song of constant misgendering when other people refer to me as 'mom' or some variation."

LGBTQ parental names, as these examples show, are as varied, creative, and intersectional as our community itself. I encourage you to visit mombian.com and click "Naming" on the menu to see even more names and stories and to submit your own.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a two-time GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory, plus a searchable database of 1,500+ LGBTQ family books.