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Heen, Monica

English 101

Ms. Holly Batty

29 May 2017

She Was a Class Act, a Real Lady

Most people would agree with me that love has no bounds. Love is pure and honest. One

could go as far as to say, that the love of a parent, can transcend beyond time and space. A

mother would do anything to keep her children safe and healthy. She would sacrifice everything;

her time, her body; her very life to give her children a better life. In the novel, Still Water

Saints, Azucar is no different. She proves through her actions, that she is this kind of mother.

Some would argue that because she was born a man she cant possibly be a mother, but I counter

argue that gender alone doesnt make a good or bad parent. Its the love and tenderness that's

shown to a child, its the determination and discipline it takes to teach right from wrong, its

always putting your children before yourself. Azucar may not have been born a woman, but she

posses the same traits and maternal instincts as that of a woman; and when she was presented

with the opportunity to help an innocent and defenseless infant and she selflessly sacrificed all of

her hopes and dreams to be that little boy's mother.

Azucar was born Andres Contreras. She was born male, but identified as a female. With the

love and acceptance of her mother, she was able to express that identity and pursue her dream of

having the Vaginoplasty procedure (gender reassignment surgery) done to make her

transformation into womanhood complete. A procedure that is extremely invasive and carries

with it risks of serious life threatening complications. Lynn Conway wrote the article on

"Vaginoplasty: Male to Female Sex Reassignment Surgery;" and states the more serious
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complications include major infection or bleeding, and damage to the bladder, prostate or major

nerves during the dissection to form the vagina. These complications can be difficult to control

and correct, may require major extension of the hospital stay, and can lead to permanent

uncorrectable damage. And yet, Azucar was more determined than ever to go through with it.

(Still Water Saints 88) In her eyes, she was incomplete, unfinished, and imperfect. She struggled

to make ends meet just like anyone else, and yet, she was honest and kind. She was hard working

and self reliant. She was the kind of woman who you could befriend at the bus stop, or start up a

conversation with while waiting in line at the grocery store. She wasnt extraordinary or special;

she was just your average woman, trying to reach her goals and dreams.

There are many people who would disapprove of a transgender person adopting a child on

the contrary; most would argue that theyre incapable of providing a healthy home environment

to raise a child. In fact, there are countless stories of same sex couples or even single people who

are rejected from adoption agencies because they dont fit the stereotypical mold of a good

parent. Azucar being a transgender woman would more than likely have been denied base solely

on her biological identity. According to the American Adoption Agency, the adoption services

that make up each adoption may vary based on a variety of factors, including the adoption

professional that completes the adoption, the adoptive familys budget and each partys unique

needs throughout the adoption process. In other words, the decision is left up to the Adopting

Professional that completes the adoption paperwork and gathers the information on behalf of the

agency. Nothing but bureaucracy and the never ending middle man; and in the mean time,

children are left waiting. Azucar saved that little boy; she circumvented the system in order to

give him the best possible life. Had it not been for Azucar, he could still be on that side walk,

wrapped in a blanket, placed inside a basket, on the hard cold concrete floor in front of the clinic
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where she worked part time. Who knows how long he would have laid their waiting. Or who

might have happened upon him. Azucar saved him.

In todays society, the ideal mother is portrayed as this perfect woman; impeccable in

appearance, she can cook, she can clean, she can work and provide for her family; shes married

and has the support of her husband which allows for her to stay home to raise the children. She is

perfect in every way. But in actuality, the perfect mother is far from perfect. Shes struggling to

multitask and juggle work, school, and raising her children; to have a clean home, provide

healthy and nutritious meals and to nurture and teach her children right from wrong. In our

society, Azucar would be looked upon as an imposter, unfit to be a real mother and would even

incite the anger of the overly righteous who believe they know whats best for children. In the

article "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Single Parents," you can clearly see that

these parents go through the same struggles as heterosexual parents; being an LGBT single

parent is no different to being a heterosexual single parent; the same pressures, the same

challenges and the same joys. Your gender alone doesnt determine the kind of parent you will


Forget for a moment what you know about Azucar and concentrate more on her actions.

She is honest and friendly, she is a good hearted person. She finds a baby, abandoned on the

sidewalk, picks him up off the cold floor and holds him close. She gives him tenderness and

warmth. She sees hes all alone and helpless. She takes him home and provides for him and

ultimately makes the decision take care of him and be his new mother. Id like to point out; she

never sought out to adopt anyone and even says, This was never part of my plan. (Still Water

Saints 100) She made the decision to keep him out of love and the desire to give him a better

start. Does it matter that she wasnt born a woman? Does it matter that she is not his biological
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mother? Will she love him any less because she is biologically a man? The answer is no. What

defines a mother isnt what she looks like; its what she does out of love. Its the desire to raise a

little person to become a good person. Its raising a child who is honest, has integrity, and overall

has a good heart.

To those that would still argue that what she did was selfish or dishonest, or that it was

her intentional way of securing her female identity as a woman and mother; I defend her actions

because she did it out of love for that little boy. Love can make us re-evaluate or goals and

dreams to include the people that matter in our lives. Azucar sacrificed her dream of having the

Vaginoplasty procedure in lieu of giving her son a fresh start. By becoming his mother, he made

her feel complete, she felt reunited with the woman I should have been (Still Water Saints

101). Society tells us what she did is wrong, but I believe what she did was not only selfless but

genuine. No one can say for sure who benefited most from Azucars decision, but Im sure her

son may have a few things to say. She will raise the baby into a man, and in turn, become a better

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Works Cited

Adoptions, Inc. American. "American Adoptions www.americanadoptions.com- America's

Adoption Agency." How to Adopt - The Domestic Adoption Process. N.p., n.d. Web. 02

May 2017.

Conway, Lynn. "Vaginoplasty: Male to Female Sex Reassignment Surgery." Transsexual Sex

Reassignment Surgery (male to Female). Lynnconway.com, 1 Aug. 2009. Web. 11 May


Espinoza, Alex. Still Water Saints: A Novel. London: Picador, 2013. Print.

Modern Families + Fresh Ideas Parenting. "10 Single Mom Secrets." Christine Coppa of

Mamas Boy.Parenting. N.p., 07 July 2014. Web. 02 May 2017.

Singleparents.org.uk. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Single Parents."Lesbian,

Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Single Parents | Culture & Roots | Your Space.

SingleParents.org, n.d. Web. 11 May 2017.

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