By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane
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Videographer / director: Elie Khadra
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Engaged couple, Emerson, who is a trans man and Blue, from Monterey, California, who identifies as non-binary, are teaching seven-year-old Claire that she doesn’t need to identify as a specific gender.
Claire told Barcroft TV: "My father is transgender and the first time he ever told me I was really happy and really surprised, so that’s what's really special about him.
“Transgender means you come out a little girl or a little boy and then they start thinking: ‘I don’t feel like I’m a girl at all.’ So they come out as a girl, and then are raised as a boy. Or come out as a boy and raised as a girl.
“And non-binary means that you don’t believe you’re a girl, but you don’t believe you are a boy so you’re called non-binary because you’re a boy and a girl."
Claire’s mother, Blue, 26, said: "I think it is important to speak to children about these aspects because for example like both of us were put into the box as a girl from the birth, and we have this expectations.
"I think that boys and girls both have these expectations that society places on them.
"I think that you are unable to truly find yourselves within those boxes, because we don’t fit those boxes”
The couple, who were both say they were previously in ‘toxic relationships’ have been together for two years, and teach Claire, who is her daughter from her first marriage, that both gender and sexuality are fluid.
Emerson, 29, said: “First of all sexuality and gender and everything in our house is fluid.
“It really is our biggest hope and goal that Claire finds somebody that encourages her to be herself, motivates her to find more about herself, respects her, speaks to her in a respectful way and we kind of, we hope that she finds somebody that like who we are to each other and we have set that high expectation for her."
"I never thought I would ever be seeing as like a father figure to anybody but obviously that was a dream of mine.”
Emerson is transgender, and only came out when he was 26 years old.
He said: "I always felt like just one of the boys.
“When I was growing up we grew up with gay or lesbian and that was kind of all that you were given, in terms of like people or role models you could live up to, there was no trans person I could look up.
"I came out as trans when I was 26 years old. So I essentially I lived a full adulthood being a woman prior. I was married before in a lesbian relationship that essentially dissolved because of my transition”
Blue who identifies as non-binary, met Emerson via Instagram when he was struggling with his self-identity.
They said: “Non-binary to me is I don't identify as either male or female. I identify as just being really just in the grey area I guess. I feel masculine. I feel feminine. I like boy clothes. I like girl clothes.”
Emerson said: “So how we met was through Instagram. I started more about my journey and you know my transition and stuff and Blue ended up messaging me through Instagram.
“And we really did just start talking everyday after that. it’s been that way ever since which was immediate connection.”
Emerson has a testosterone injection every week and recently received his top surgery.
He said: "Every week I have to keep injecting myself with the testosterone or else my body will naturally kind of go in reverse and go back and take away a lot of my changes that I’ve worked so hard to obtain.”
Claire added: "He’ll sit down on the chair and my mom will strap his leg usually, before he’d do it but now she does it and I always do the band-aid”
Emerson says that Claire and Blue support him in every way he could think of, emotionally and physically.
He said: "They are proud of me and my growth and things like that. They helped me with my communication a lot too. When you are growing, I mean when you are in a family you really have to be open about everything and talk about your emotions and stuff and it’s been really great for me.
“Being a father for me is probably the greatest experience I have had, it is ever evolving I am always learning. You learn so much about yourself.”
Claire added: “It’s really special about my father, that he is transgender."