March 26, 2008

Transgender Dude Wears The Pants, Carries The Baby In His Family

thomas_beatie_pregnant_ftm.jpgThomas Beatie is not the first transitioned female-to-male transsexual to decide to get pregnant and have a baby. He's just the first to pose like Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair and to go public about his family's experience. [Beatie is legally male, married to a woman who underwent a hysterectomy; he suspended his testosterone treatments for several months prior to conceiving with an anonymous sample from a sperm bank. He's due in July.]

Local news reports in Oregon say Beatie runs a gay pride-oriented t-shirt printing and embroidery business named Define Normal, which he started when he was an identified lesbian in Hawaii. Which might complicate the neatness of the "just a regular dad next door, having a baby" storyline he presents in his Advocate.com article.

A quick Google search finds many firsthand accounts of FTM pregnancy, as well as research dating back to the 1970's. Most studies seem to focus on the impact on children of having FTM parents, or on FTMs who have kids before they decide or begin to transition [which is the transgender term for process of self-identifying and living as the other gender. It includes hormone treatments and surgery but not, obviously, always a hysterectomy. The extent of gender reassignment surgery a TS chooses to undergo is a sensitive and personal subject.]

Here's one thing an FTM parent named Dylan said to other another FTM considering becoming pregnant:

Question5: He currently lives and passes as male in all respects. He's had top surgery, has a great deal of facial/body hair and a very masculine physique. He would not desire to remain to off testosterone for long. The goal the couple has is to have their own child with the minimum of legality concern and they feel that one of their options is for the F2M to conceive, bear the child, and return to the testosterone therapy as soon as practically possible, as he in no way wishes to return to a feminized state at all/for long.

In my opinion he will be able to pass as male during the whole pregnancy term, people will assume he is overweight most likely. A tip would be - as he had top surgery - to pack (if he can stand the heat) on top, to level things out a bit. If he wouldn't have had top surgery breast growth would have done that.

Depending on the kind of top surgery he had, breast growth might occur, I doubt he will be able to nurse however as the milk channels will have been cut. To prevent complications I would recommend to take a drug which stops the milk production immediately after giving birth, he will have to demand this in case it will be forgotten. for pregnancy related questions I recommend the book of Kinziger.

The advantage of his situation is that he will be able to pass as the child’s father immediately after birth.

I think what he is doing is a courageous but rewarding decision, my compliments.

I would expect that in future, as more ftm transition relatively young that cases like him will increase. Therefor I would caution against sterilization in young FTM, as they might regret it later.

As hinted at in Dylan's response, many people within the FTM community, such as it is, apparently/understandably associate the biological capacity for pregnancy with female identity, and FTM's who opt to become parents by getting pregnant--or who even just opt to not sterilize themselves as part of the transition process--report, as Beatie has, of discrimination, harrassment, and ostracization from just about every angle possible.


Whatever your own take on transgender parents, the one sure thing is, there are many, many more who are not out and discussing it in national magazines, and they're living lives that are probably not much different than anyone else's.

Labor of Love [advocate.com via towleroad]
Oregon's Pregnant Man Is Former Hawaii Woman [kitv.com]
Everything A Prospective FTM Parent Would Like To Know [geocities]
We got options or how about starting a family - ftm and kids: A discussion of Morgan (40), Sam(28), Clemens (22) and David (35) [geocities]
Same guy, or is Dylan like the #1 name choice in the FTM world? "The Pregnant Man - An Oxymoron?" by Dr. Sam Dylan More [gendercentre.org.au]

6 Comments

I'm interested that the KITV piece clearly states that the photo is him. The consensus on Metafilter was that it was probably a photoshop, since he would have had to stop hormone replacement which would be likely to make his facial hair vanish after this many months.

Also, you note: "he was an identified lesbian in Hawaii. Which might complicate the neatness of the "just a regular dad next door, having a baby" storyline he presents in his Advocate.com article" - the KITV piece seems to indicate that he transitioned so that he could legally marry his girlfriend. That seems extreme, if true, but also puts an additional weird spin on things.

Nice post on a complex topic.

I wondered about that nursing thing. I had a significant breast reduction (6 lbs of tissue) and was still able to nurse quite well five years later.

@anastasiav:
When an FTM goes off testosterone the reversal of secondary sex characteristics is fairly slow. I was off testosterone for about 4 months one time due to a shortage in supply nationwide. My period returned after three and a half months but my voice and facial hair did not change. if there were any appreciable softening of his voice or facial hair it would take a much longer time, on the order of years.

Wow, I am utterly speechless in awe.
A really nice company name I must say "Define Normal", Indeed. One cannot define Normality, or sanity with concrete certainty, because if it is occurring at whatever scale, then it must be normal to a whatever extent. So, why not? Society continuously expands its notions of personal freedoms, human rights and openness towards emerging lots of subcultures and activistic aspirations on the most irrelevant matters. But it is always "Why not?". We will not see the long-term effects of these social experiments of ours on humanity over the longer period that we will not live through then.
Of course, the impact on the child's psyche, which is what I defend with these points, could be reasonably softened if the child is treated in a completely new, a more conversational and intellectually-involved manner and be gradually explained what human instincts are, social stereotypes, give it to read psychology books... just to get to know its human nature better, so that the child will one day when in his or her late teens understand with neurosis-free mind the whole a bit inky situations in a much better and mentally advancing way.

I could not find space to leave some blank paragraphs to ease the reading, for which I must convey my sincerety for this somewhat rude blogging habbit!

OOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!

Get off it! This is nothing more than a female that had In-Vitro Fertilization. What is all the publicity about? Females do this everyday in the United States! I want to know when a real man has a baby, one that DOES NOT have female plumbing.

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