Ladies, Gentlemen, Everyone: Hannah Fons

posted in: Family 72

 

 

 

 

 

We are small.

We are running through a field of tall grass at Meadowlark Farm, in Iowa, in summer. It is fun. I am happy. I am happy because it is summer and I am small and I am running across the field of my home, right where I should be: behind my big sister Hannah.

Hannah taught me everything. She helped me learn to read. We played imaginary games with stuffed toys and figurines for hours, days, years, crafting ideologies without realizing the intricacy in our methods, architecting whole galaxies together out on that farm that never had any animals except perfect dogs and cats. Maybe we were the animals: me and my two sisters. Maybe it was a farm where you grew three great kids, at least for a little while.

My sister Hannah is singular. She was always different from everyone else because (let’s face it) she was smarter than everyone else and cooler than everyone else. But she was different in another way that no one could identify, exactly, not even her, for awhile. I never had to identify Hannah as anything. I just loved her. I love her more than ever, partly because I haven’t followed her through a field in a long time. Nan, let’s go jogging soon. Like, now.

My sister gave a TED Talk recently about her experience as a person who is gender non-binary.

Ladies and gentlemen and everyone, everywhere: My sister, my family, Hannah Fons.

72 Responses

  1. Sally Nesser
    | Reply

    Wow! What a great presentation and story of her journey as told by herself. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Joyce
    | Reply

    I love Hannah too! What a great soul….

  3. Deborah Kimball
    | Reply

    What a great, important talk. Thank you Hannah. Thank you Mary.

  4. Martha
    | Reply

    Well done. What a gifted family you are.

  5. Dianna Short
    | Reply

    Beautiful, poetic, and a genuine soul – thank you for sharing

  6. Rita Farro
    | Reply

    I posted Hannah’s Ted Talk on my Facebook page. Mostly because I think she is remarkable. Of course, I can’t be sure. However, I REALLY AM CERTAIN that Marianne Fons is one helluva mother.

    • Candy
      | Reply

      Wow! I feel so much more educated then before…..and was thinking exactly what Rita Farro said “Amazing Mother”.

  7. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing Hannah’s Ted Talk, Mary. I learned so much about a subject it is not easy to learn about. Your family is amazing! And so are you!

  8. Jo
    | Reply

    Bravo!

  9. Cindi
    | Reply

    Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly what I needed to understand what my granddaughter is going through at this moment. I’ve been supportive of her every step of the way, and have wondered what was “going on in her head”, as while she came out to me, she had a hard time explaining it to me. I knew when she was a very small child that she wasn’t meant to be who she was “born” as, but that she was someone else stuck in the body she was given. This….this explains it all. Thank your sister for being an educator. She’s made a difference for this grandma.

  10. Lee
    | Reply

    I watched her talk a while ago and found it helpful to better understand the internal conflict. I’m sad that I’ve known so little about some people’s struggle.

  11. Barbara Martin
    | Reply

    How lucky to have this wonderful person in your life! Beautiful message, thank you for sharing.

  12. Barbara
    | Reply

    She’s marvelous!

  13. Kylie
    | Reply

    Must make your hear swell with pride.

  14. Ann Bailey
    | Reply

    Phenominal! Best wishes to you, Hannah Fons.

  15. Liz Flaherty
    | Reply

    How wonderfully done and said. Thanks to you and to Hannah for sharing it. I’d be lying if I said I understood all the intricacies, but she helped.

  16. Judith J Jorgenrud
    | Reply

    Excellent explanation. Thank you for posting this. I always thought that it was more than a two sided situation.

  17. Susan Russell
    | Reply

    THANK YOU for sharing Hannah’s story! Wonderful! Sending LOVE and Happiness to Hannah! and to your entire family for loving and supporting Hannah.

  18. Sara Hochhauser
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your sister!

  19. Jodie K Moore
    | Reply

    I have always thought you’re mom was an rock star and this confirms it. For her to be brave enough to leave her marriage at that time and place, to allow her children to be themselves and always be supportive of that is amazing. Love your family.

  20. Karen
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Mary. I watched it earlier when your mom shared it on FB and felt I learned several things from Hannah. She used terms I’d never heard, and explained them well. Very impressive Ted Talk. I’ve since shared the video with others. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Hannah, not understanding why she was different. But kudos to her life path that has helped her find her way, and to educate others!

  21. Helen Marie
    | Reply

    Hannah is an inspiration! I am going to share this ted talk with my grown kids, for two very special reasons. Two of my grandsons, who are very unique individuals, cousins, not brothers, living thousands of miles apart, and as different from their other four cousins/siblings as day the night. Beloved, of course. But different. Thank you for sharing your gifted family.

  22. Mary Spriet
    | Reply

    This was absolutely brilliant! Hannah is a very intelligent, informative, enlightening, and articulate speaker. She should be very proud of the journey she’s taken & the bravery to speak out. Thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Nadine Donovan
    | Reply

    I truly was captivated by her whole presentation. I was in awe and I couldn’t stop watching/ listening to even take a sip of my coffee. This is a new topic to me- I want to applaud her and your whole family for being authentic with yourselves. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for the peace and help that I am sure this will provide others who walk this earth. I have always wanted a sister- she would be a great sister for me too! We all have the absolute right to be ourselves and be at peace with it. Blessings to all of you❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  24. Jean morton
    | Reply

    Such a beautiful spirit! Thank you for sharing Hannah’s TED talk, your family is an inspiration. Thanks to Hannah for educating me in simple, human terms.

  25. Glenda
    | Reply

    WOW!! will listen again and again

  26. Tim Sharp
    | Reply

    Wow, magnifico. Now I want to run through those fields with your whole family. Beautiful testament of what the word family means.

  27. Brandy
    | Reply

    Thank you. Just thank you.

  28. Nancy M
    | Reply

    This truly moved me. So very powerful yet truthfully gentle. Loving. And so impactful due to the love Hannah has received through her family. Thank you for sharing this. Hannah has a gift. A gift of living her true self and hopefully others will feel her confidence and strength and grow from this talk. Loved it.

  29. Marianne Fons
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you so much for sharing Hannah’s Tedx with PaperGirl’s readers. I watched it myself for the I-don’t-know-how-many-eth time. Anyone who reads my comment, be aware that the more Hannah’s presentation is viewed and shared, the more likely it is to become a national TED talk. If you feel comfortable sharing her story (part of our family’s story) please do.

  30. Grammy Judy
    | Reply

    That was amazing and very informative.

  31. Judith Coates
    | Reply

    Thank you and Hannah for sharing this with us. What a fascinating person. What a wonderful person to know!

  32. Barbara
    | Reply

    I loved you mother from the first time I met her many years ago. Loved you when you first stepped in front of the TV camera and now Hannah, another Fons to love! Understanding is always about family!!! This is a beautiful post and will listen to Hannah’s TED Talk many times for inspiration and to share.

    Family is the Foundation – Always!

  33. Joan Huehnerhoff
    | Reply

    thank you. I don’t know what to say, other than thank you. It seems I have alot to say, but it seem trite.

  34. Patty Stagl
    | Reply

    That was awe-mazing! Informative and real. Thank you and Hannah for sharing!

  35. Rebecca
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you for educating me. We are never too old to learn and to understand.

  36. Janice in California
    | Reply

    Perfect timing, Mary. Thank you for sharing Hannah’s TED talk. I learned exactly what I needed to know right now.

  37. Kim Bourgeois Landry
    | Reply

    Great Ted Talk! Your sister Hannah is beautiful and handsome and above all brilliant! I believe that many times brilliant beings come in interesting packaging to insure others pay attention to them. You know, to witness the brilliance. God is efficient like that. Honestly, your mom really understood the power and beauty of a lil if this fabric and a lil of that fabric makes a whole new beautiful pattern. Hannah’s soul chose well! Your whole family slays…

    • Pat
      | Reply

      Exactly, well said.

  38. Suzanne Kaye
    | Reply

    Over the years, as you have posted pictures of family events, there has been Hannah in the background. I’ve often been curious about her exotic looks and now, here she is in the foreground. Still exotic and magnetic and heartbreaking in a good way. Thank you both for sharing this

  39. Joyce Skinner
    | Reply

    I am a long time fan of your mother. My admiration of her just jumped ten points. I’ve watched your sister’s Ted talk more than once….now, I have a better understanding of gender variations. She has done a great service to help educate us.

  40. Maureen Seppa
    | Reply

    What a wonderful human being Hannah is!
    And how wonderful that she has such a loving and accepting family, who has allowed her to evolve into this wonderful person, who has so much to teach to the world. Thank you for sharing your amazing sister with all of us.

  41. Amy Spungen
    | Reply

    This Tedx Talk is so helpful. Many thanks, Hannah, for sharing your story, and many thanks, Mary, for being part of Hannah’s loving family and safe place.

  42. Lisa Krueger
    | Reply

    The final thought, that we can each save not just lives but souls simply by giving everyone room to find and express themselves, is brilliant and inspiring. Hoorah for Hannah!

  43. Marilyn Jackson
    | Reply

    Amen.

  44. Kathy Isaacks
    | Reply

    Thank you Hannah and Mary for sharing the Ted Talk! Very informative and useful in understanding further my transgender boss who is a really great person. Also have an almost 13 yr old grandchild who has said she is gay. I fully support all LGBTQ ️‍ and wish more people would educate themselves. Love to all the Fons Family!

  45. Sylvia
    | Reply

    Mary, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful sis! This is the best description of trans identities I’ve ever heard. I’m sure because it came from the horses mouth. I will share this with a dear friend who is trying to help her trans child figure out who they are. Thank you Hannah!

  46. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    Your family’s brilliant!

  47. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    Your family is brilliant!

  48. Carole
    | Reply

    Great talk. Very inciteful!

  49. Hannah Fons
    | Reply

    Reading these comments has shored up my faith in humankind – thanks so much to everyone who took the time to watch my talk, and to say such wonderful, kind words. I’m humbled and grateful to all y’all!

    • Brent Quinn
      | Reply

      It’s fantastic to hear Hannah’s journey after not seeing her for several decades. I showed my wife and she said ‘TERRIFIC!’ The concept of me vs. he, she is epic. And to be presented with such meticulous precision and rationale with well grounded organic humour. Amish hats off to you, Hannah! Congrats on your journey.

  50. S H
    | Reply

    What a wonderful, amazing person Hannah is! Thank you for introducing us to her. Her talk was so beautiful, in addition to being very educational, especially for baby boomers, whose education in this area, was so seriously lacking (even in a university nursing program!). I loved her so much after seeing her presentation. I feel about her, as about you, as if you are my children.
    And as someone shared above, your Mom is a helluva great mom!

  51. Gail
    | Reply

    Love her!!!

  52. Diane
    | Reply

    As a 78 year old grandmother with a bi granddaughter, thank you for putting this video on Paper Girl. I’ve been a fan of your mother for years, watch her TV shows and read the magazine, and have enjoyed your career as a quilter, and am also a fan of Paper Girl, but I did not know about Hannah, other than hearing her mentioned as a sister & daughter. I feel that her explanation of the various differences of gender has been most informative, and has helped me to understand the differences in many people I have known who have been faced with this. Hannah, your mother and you and your family are to be applauded for bringing this knowledge to many others who have no or little understanding of these issues. My heart goes out to the many who are faced with this in various forms, and hope that society will be more understanding, tolerant and helpful to anybody who is “different” than the previously accepted norm.

  53. Gerry
    | Reply

    Thank you Hannah for this talk. It helps me understand more about humans. I feel like I know your Mom since I have watched her tv show about quilting, for years. She is one of the best quilting teachers out there. Now I’m learning to know your sister by subscribing to her posts plus seeing her on some of the quilting shows also. You are a gifted family, your Mom and your two sisters, and you! Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you are a very caring person.

  54. Kayla
    | Reply

    I absolutely love your style of writing! The intro to this post is so captivating. I just discovered your blog and I’ve been binge reading it all day! It’s funny because I am starting from the most recent and going backwards in time so I’m getting the story in reverse which is kind of neat. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your literary talents with the rest of us!

  55. Ginny R.
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful Hannah with us!

  56. […] O U I would like to thank you all on behalf of Hannah and my entire family for your reception of my sister’s TED Talk. Her presentation was a tough act to follow, but you did it in the comments. Your consideration and […]

  57. Laura Amundson
    | Reply

    Hannah’s talk was very thoughtful and I enjoyed it. She explained some things I had never thought about. I have a couple friends who are transitioning so I passed this on to them and posted the link on my Facebook page too. I hope she does great things in her career in NYC!

  58. Kathleen
    | Reply

    Hi Mary,
    I have been reading your blog for a long time and I just love you.
    However I have fallen in love with Hannah and I feel like I have cheated on you a little bit. As you well know she’s something else and must have been a hard act to follow all your life.
    I shared her talk with my husband and he enjoyed her as well although he is the faithful sort and wouldn’t admit to a crush.
    Somehow I will reconcile all my love and go on enjoying PG.
    love,
    Kathleen

  59. Sharon G
    | Reply

    This information should be a part of all sexual education. Too many people do not understand and are close minded and uneducated about this subject. I believe gender is not either/or, but rather somewhere along a path. Thank you for sharing…

  60. Angela Clemons
    | Reply

    As the class “fat kid” I can empathize with feelings of not fitting in, or being teased for not looking like all the other kids. Hearing your sister speak I can’t help but wonder how much confusion and pain she must have gone through to get to the point, as evidenced in her talk, where she is comfortable with herself. And then confident enough to talk about her life publicly. So brave! She is blessed to have been born into your family where there was acceptance, support, and unconditional love. Isn’t it weird that we humans marvel at developmental differences in nature, like two-headed turtles or cows with six udders, but are so hard on humans who develop differently due to genes or hormones or whatever? “Different” is so scary to many who lack tolerance.

  61. Terry
    | Reply

    Very well presented, understandable ,and informational! Love it

  62. Nancy Rudy
    | Reply

    I just now saw this. May I say.. not only educational but explained and presented very well and with grace and style. As the mug from my step-mom says – Follow Your Arrow

  63. Kathy H
    | Reply

    Awesome talk! Hurray for Hannah and the Fons family. In our family, the eldest niece has transitioned to being the eldest nephew. Same generation as Hannah. Some members still don’t understand, so I hope to share this to help them get it. Thank you!

  64. Michele
    | Reply

    An excellent talk from a person I instantly liked. Such a wonderful manner, not to mention articulate way of describing their experience and journey in this life. I know there are those out there on the interwebs who need this information and need this personal story to anchor their own realities. Bravo Hannah! And thank you Mary, for sharing with us.

  65. Jane
    | Reply

    I was blown away by Hannah, her amazing confidence, her humility and self knowledge and the feeling that she is an incredible human. She is an example of what we should all strive to be-tolerant of others.

  66. Robin Cassidy
    | Reply

    I just watched Hannah’s Ted Talk. I laughed and cried and marveled at the depth of her intelligence, compassion and insight. I also learned a lot. Thank you for posting this. The world and your family are so fortunate to have her; we need more like her to educate and remind us that we come in all shapes, sizes, colors and identities and that we must keep chopping away at intolerance. She should do more Ted Talks, she’s a wonderful speaker.

  67. Jess Irwin
    | Reply

    Finally took a moment to watch this, start to finish. She is delightful.

  68. Coley
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I just moved in with my non-binary significant other and it’s nice to have a bit of a frame of reference to share with others when they use the wrong pronouns. Plus, we have your painting from “Crush with Potato Stamp Stars” in our living room, so that’s extra cool.

  69. Kristin
    | Reply

    Just getting to watch this now. WOW!!! Profound! I think one of my (many) favorite parts was “if your culture does not acknowledge who you are, YOU are not the problem” (or something close to that.

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